Soderbergh: After "Che," we actually shot "The Informant," which will come out after "GFE." That's a true story based on a price-fixing scandal in the mid-'90s. That was for Warner Bros., but we made it "for a price," as they say, and I'm really happy with it. Sort of like athletes, you go through streaks, and I feel like I'm in the middle of a good streak. Despite the fact that reactions to "Che" were all over the map, for me the fact that it got made at all and is even remotely coherent is miraculous. And I felt like, given the resources and what we were able to do, that's not a bad film. The filmmaking's not bad.
So I got out of that and went right into "The Informant." Then we went right into "GFE," both of which were a lot of fun. We're going to do "Moneyball" this summer, which I'm really excited about. Liberace is gonna follow that. So I feel like I'm in one of those periods where I'm seeing the ball well, and so I'm amped.
Soderbergh: And so, I guess I’m just trying to get at something that’s entertaining, but that feels a little more lifelike. But, that really depends on the movie. We’re trying to get this Liberace movie off the ground, and we’ve got Michael Douglas playing Liberace and Matt Damon playing this young man that he gets involved with. And, Richard LaGravenese wrote the script. That’s not a situation where I’m going to be sitting around improvising. It’s already there. But, the goal of that movie is very different because of what it’s about and the period that it’s set in. It’s set in the entertainment business and it needs to have a different vibe. And so, a more obvious construct is fine, in that world, but in the world of Bubble or GFE, I felt like it has to feel more organic.
Soderbergh: I’ve got a movie about Spalding Gray that I hope we’ll finish editing by the fall. “Moneyball,” based on the book about baseball executives, we’ll be shooting this summer. The Cleopatra project will shoot next year, and so will the movie about Liberace (starring Michael Douglas).
In the previous years Webber met in turn Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Star Wars' producer George Lucas ('who is a smattering geek'), Wesley Snipes and other prominent names. Nice, but the conversation never usually went further than the usual exchange of courtesies.
“Matt Damon is a good guy”, Webber says. "I found him great in the Bourne Supremacy, admire him. As an actor and a person. We had a great discussion, which was very nice."
Webber wanted to know everything about the film, Damon wanted to know everything about him and his car. The actor had been especially curious about the sensation of driving in the streets of Monte Carlo.
But it's not just as an actor that De Niro is looking forward; his growing allegiance to the director fraternity is reflected in plans to make two sequels to his 2006 CIA thriller The Good Shepherd. "I'd like to do another story from 1961 until 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall. That's what we're talking about now. Then I'd like to do a third film from 1989 to the present. I'd like to make it a trilogy," he says.
De Niro is excited at the prospect of working with The Good Shepherd cast including Matt Damon and Alec Baldwin again. "I like to direct actors. Casting is 95 per cent of it - if you find the right actor, most of your problems are solved. You just make adjustments along the way," he explains. "If I couldn't have worked with certain actors in The Good Shepherd - Matt Damon and a couple of others - I wouldn't have done the movie. To make a film is hard work, and if you don't have the right combination, it's not going to work."
“They are really making an effort to ensure everything is depicted as closely as possible to what actually happened in 1995,” says [Chester] Williams. “The movie is more about Nelson Mandela and how he was clever enough to use the World Cup to help unify the country — the whole team behind the film wants to ensure the movie portrays that.”
“I worked with both the lead actors and the extras as a technical adviser and my job was to make sure that the actors perform as accurately and realistically as possible in rugby terms,” says Williams. “All the extras had previous rugby experience or are still playing rugby.”
Academy Award winner Matt Damon, who stands a head shorter than Pienaar, plays the Bok flanker and Williams is satisfied he will pull off Pienaar’s role.
“Matt must have done some homework back in America because when he came here he knew exactly what to do,” says Williams. “I just had to teach him the finer details in terms of the correct way to scrum, jumping in a lineout and entry into the rucks.
“Matt was really taken aback by how passionate the people of SA are about the sport. He adapted really well and I think he has certainly become a rugby fan.
“Clint (Eastwood) and I had several meetings and discussed how he wanted the movie to tell the story. He has also done a lot of research on the game and has a keen eye for detail and is committed to ensuring that the rugby in the movie is depicted as realistically as possible. He is very passionate about the project.”
Question: You were talking earlier about possibly having a bar of your own in the future.
Browning: Yeah, I’ve been asked to open a lot of bars. Different investors. The former CEO of HBO is having me open a bar down in the Bahamas for him with Matt Damon and George Clooney. It’s a Nikki Beach concept, a private island. I have a couple contacts myself where I can team up with a few people I know in the culinary world and have a simple but great bar menu and just amazing drinks.