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Steven Soderbergh on Why He Turned Down ‘Death Becomes Her’: It Was ‘Beyond My Capability’ at the Time

Steven Soderbergh’s almost took on “Death Becomes Her.”

The “sex, lies, and videotape” filmmaker told Variety that following his breakout Sundance debut, he was approached to direct “Death Becomes Her” in 1992.

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“I want to preface this by saying I hate it when people talk about things that they passed on. For whatever reason, I just feel like I am not convinced it’s good form to do that,” Soderbergh said.

Soderbergh added of the script, “I do remember reading it and immediately thinking it was very funny. And also immediately recognizing that this is so far beyond my capability. The technology they were using was intimidating. It was a hard ‘you got the wrong guy,’ is what it was.”

“Death Becomes Her” was directed by Robert Zemeckis, and starred Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn as rival immortals who fight over a love interest (Bruce Willis). The film was a box office hit, grossing almost $150 million against its $55 million budget. A TV movie adaptation was rumored in 2012, and the film spurred a Broadway show opening in 2024.

“There was no universe in which I could do it,” Soderbergh said. “I knew you needed somebody with a Zemeckis-like technical facility to execute it.”

And “Death Becomes Her” isn’t the only iconic film Soderbergh has walked away from, as the “Kimi” director scrapped a remake of “The Uninvited” and recently announced he will no longer be part of the revived “Ocean’s” franchise.

“After we made the third movie, I felt like the series was very much concluded for me,” Soderbergh told Variety in January 2024. “When the studio approached me to see if I’d be involved in continuing the franchise, I told them no, because it just doesn’t feel like a move forward for me.”

“Ocean’s” actor George Clooney confirmed there will be a follow-up to “Ocean’s Thirteen,” and described the upcoming movie as a “Going in Style”-esque conclusion. A separate prequel film is also in the works starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.

Soderbergh added to Variety that he is “chasing something else.” The director also returned to Sundance with the thriller “Presence,” starring Lucy Liu.

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