Steven Soderbergh’s Planning an Ambitious Twelve-Hour Adaptation of The Sot-Weed Factor

US director Steven Soderbergh addresses a press conference for the film 'Side effects' presented in the Berlinale Competition of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival in Berlin on February 12, 2013.
Photo: GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images

With his Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra set to premiere on May 26, Steven Soderbergh is planning for his movie-making retirement. As time goes on, his time off is just getting more and more busy. Add to his list of projects an adaptation of John Barth’s 1960 novel The Sot-Weed Factor. “I’ve had this on my shelf for a while,” Soderbergh told Entertainment Weekly. “I was going to do it as a movie, but I couldn’t figure it out. So now I’ve had it adapted as 12 one-hour episodes.” The book is a 750-plus-page satire of picaresque novels and tells the story of a English poet in the 1680s who moves to Maryland to run his father’s tobacco farm and have adventures. Considering the source’s length and ambition, Soderbergh’s biggest concern is avoiding making “a fucking $85 million, 12-hour comedy set in the [1600s].” His mysterious response: “I think I’ve come up with a solve to do it cheaply. It’s bold. If it works, it’ll be super cool. And if it doesn’t, you won’t be able to watch ten minutes of it.” In terms of where it will actually be seen, as long as Soderberg gets to “[own] it in some meaningful way,” he is open to any ideas, whether that is TV, Netflix, Amazon, wristwatches that project vivid holograms, or whatever technology is available when this thing actually gets made.

Soderbergh Planning Ambitious 12-Hour Adaptation