Steven Soderbergh is ready to leave the big screen behind him.
The Oscar-winning director has announced that he plans to retire from filmmaking after completing his next two movies, the last of which will reunite him with his longtime pal and leading man, George Clooney.
But Soderbergh insists the move has nothing to do with his personal issues.
"It's just time," he told Studio 360 in an interview. "When you reach the point where you're like if I have to get into a van to do another scout I'm just going to shoot myself, it's time to let somebody else who's still excited about getting in the van, get in the van."
Soderbergh, 48, helped usher in today's era of indie cinema with the his 1989 breakthrough, Sex, Lies and Videotape, which won the Audience Award at Sundance, the Palm d'Or at Cannes, earned Soderbergh an Oscar nod for Best Screenplay and became an art-house hit. He graduated to big studio films, including Traffic, for which he won a Best Director Academy Award, Erin Brockovich, and the hugely popular Ocean's Eleven series.
"For the last three years I've been turning down everything that comes my way," he noted before channeling Richard Nixon: "You're not gonna have Steven Soderbergh to kick around anymore."
The usually private Soderbergh saw his personal life make headlines last month as he was named in a paternity suit and admitted to having an affair. But he insists that it is the grind that is making him hang up the camera. He says his decision was prompted by a "a sense of just having been there before" on an artistic level and that he didn't want to repeat himself.
The helmer's next project is the highly anticipated biopic Liberace, with Michael Douglas in the titular role. That will be followed by his presumed swan song, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., a feature version of the popular '60s spy series. The film will star Clooney, Soderbergh's former producing partner and frequent collaborator (see Out of Sight, the Ocean's trilogy, Solaris and The Good German).
Before he tackles those, however, Soderbergh has two more in the pipeline for this year: the action flick Haywire, due out April 22, and the pandemic thriller Contagion, hitting theaters Oct. 21.