Just a minute with: Steven Soderbergh about new film

Thu May 21, 2009 6:02am EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Director Steven Soderbergh's latest low-budget film "The Girlfriend Experience" stars a cast of non-actors led by a prolific porn star.

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

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

Q: How did you come up with the idea for this film?

A: "It was completely accidental. I was having a drink with (writers) Brian Koppelman and David Levien in Midtown (Manhattan) and we were in this bar and there was a woman across the room that I sensed was somewhat not out of place, but there was something about her affect drawing my attention.

"I asked the two of them 'what do you think is going on with that person' and they both said 'oh she's obviously a GfE (Girlfriend Experience).' I didn't know what this stood for, so they explained to me this form of super high-end escort.

"I was fascinated by this idea that there was a surcharge for intimacy, that what they are providing is something that's different than a straight sex session, that people are willing to pay extra for the illusion that it's actually a relationship. I thought it was really interesting and strange."

Q: How did you research the film?   Continued...

<p>Director Steven Soderbergh attends the "Che" news conference at the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival September 10, 2008. REUTERS/ Mike Cassese</p>