Director Soderbergh uses nonactors for latest film

Tue May 19, 2009 9:24am EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - With a cast of nonactors led by a porn star, director Steven Soderbergh describes his new low-budget film "The Girlfriend Experience" as a "fictionalized documentary" -- a style he now plans to bring to Hollywood.

"The Girlfriend Experience," due for release in some U.S. theaters Friday, follows an upscale Manhattan call girl who provides more than just sex; she offers clients a complete romantic relationship experience, playing their girlfriend.

The call girl is played by Sasha Grey, 21, an award-winning actress who has appeared in more than 80 porn films, while the other 38 cast members are all nonactors, including personal trainer Chris Santos, who plays Grey's boyfriend in the film.

"It's kind of like a fictionalized documentary because all the people in the film do those jobs that they're doing in the film. Like the guy at the prepaid phone store is the guy at the prepaid phone store," Soderbergh told Reuters in an interview.

"It really makes you analyze how much we buy into this construct of what acting is because when you see someone who's obviously not acting, it's really different. It's kind of startling," he said.

The Oscar-winning director said he had a very detailed scene-by-scene treatment for the film, but no script. The cast were given a goal for each scene, which they then improvised.

Known for experimental methods with films like 2008's epic "Che" and his 1989 feature debut "Sex, Lies and Videotape," Soderbergh plans to cast up to 60 percent of his next Hollywood studio film "Moneyball," starring Brad Pitt, with nonactors.

"'Moneyball' for me is going to be the culmination of this thing that we've been messing with for 10 years of fusing real people into the world of a movie," said Soderbergh.   Continued...

<p>Director Steven Soderbergh speaks before the screening of the film "Che" at its Japan premiere in Tokyo December 16, 2008. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao</p>