Steven Soderbergh On For The Knick

He'll produce and direct a TV show with Clive Owen

Somewhere there’s a blank canvas sitting in a spare room of Steven Soderbergh’s house, wondering what he really meant when he said he was going to retire and paint full time. Because the director is now in talks to produce and direct a period drama series starring Clive Owen called The Knick.

Yes, far from taking it easy, the one-man filmmaking machine might have stepped back from cinema, but Cinemax, the US cable channel, is another matter.

The company is locking down the details of a deal whereby Soderbergh will produce and direct all 10 episodes of a series set in New York in 1900. The title refers to Knickerbocker Hospital, where the staff (including Owen) shoved back the boundaries of science at the time, where antibiotics are a few years away and the mortality rate is high. Presumably they sat down with the star and director in Cannes recently.

Big Miracle co-writers Jack Amiel and Michael Begler worked on the pilot script as a spec assignment and will produce along with Soderbergh and Owen. It’s not the director’s first stab at TV: he also produced short-lived political drama with K Street with George Clooney for HBO back in 2003. Cinemax seems an odd choice for the series given its predilection for action/sexy fare, but perhaps this represents the channel looking to branch out. And let’s face it: it’s Soderbergh. You know this thing has a high chance of being great.