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A Stripped-Down Set for 'Full Frontal'

July 29, 2002|Compiled byTimes staff writers

When Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh set out to make his contemporary comedy, "Full Frontal," he laid down some unusual guidelines for his ensemble of stars, including Oscar-winner Julia Roberts, who normally earns $20 million a picture and is accorded all the perks of a megastar.

Soderbergh, using digital equipment and shooting on a schedule measured in days rather than weeks, insisted that the stars drive themselves to the set--no disembarking from limousines, thank you--or they could face ridicule and ribbing from the rest of the cast and crew. There would be no company-provided trailers, and he advised them to eat before arriving on the set, because there would be no caterer. They were also to provide their own wardrobe, hair care and makeup.

In short, it was not unlike the way Soderbergh made films years ago, before all the fame and fortune, when he was still a struggling director working in the hardscrabble world of independent film.

Soderbergh, who edited the movie using Apple Computer's Final Cut Pro software, has since made critically acclaimed studio hits such as "Erin Brockovich," "Traffic" and "Ocean's 11." But he yearned to get back to the roots that first brought him notice with small films such as "sex, lies and videotape," which earned him the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or, an Independent Spirit Award for best director and an Oscar nomination for best director.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday August 01, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 10 inches; 381 words Type of Material: Correction
Film editor--Sarah Flack served as editor of director Steven Soderbergh's movie "Full Frontal." An In the Know item in Monday's Calendar incorrectly credited Soderbergh as editor.

Because of his record of accomplishment, stars jumped at the chance to work with him. In addition to Roberts, whom Soderbergh guided to a best actress Oscar in "Erin Brockovich," "Full Frontal" features Brad Pitt, David Duchovny, Nicky Katt, Catherine Keener, Mary McCormack, David Hyde Pierce and Blair Underwood.

Because of the movie's experimental approach, Miramax is opening "Full Frontal" on only 200 screens on Friday. Written by Coleman Hough, it traces the complicated and sometimes fragile relationships among seven friends, some of whom drift in and out of a movie within the movie.

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