Steven Soderbergh says he brought his talents to Cinemax because of an “ego problem.”
The Oscar winner is directing and executive producing the first ten-episode season of Cinemax’s early 1900s hospital drama “The Knick,” as well as all ten episodes of a second season that Cinemax just announced Thursday.
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Fresh off HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra,” Soderbergh saw an opportunity at corporate cousin Cinemax, which was diving deeper into producing original shows.
“In the midst of understanding that they were sort of reorienting that brand, I kind of wanted to be the big kid at a small school,” he said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Thursday.
Also read: Clive Owen Explains His Dedication to Modern Medicine in ‘The Knick’ Trailer (Video)
The show, starring Clive Owen
), is about doctors at a hospital in an era of dramatic scientific discovery — but also crowded tenement living and disease.
Soderbergh announced plans to retire from cinema last year, and said he was as surprised as anyone to find himself deeply enmeshed in television.
“Eleven months ago, I did not think I would be sitting here talking about 10 hours of material that is in front of us and 10 hours of material that is behind us,” he said. “My whole life I’ve moved in any direction that I thought was going to surprise me and engage me.”
HBO’s “True Detective” had just one writer and director for its first season, and Soderbergh was the lone director of HBO’s 2003 “K Street.” He said the practice makes sense because it allows a show to be “very, very specific and very unified.”
“We basically scheduled the whole season like a film,” he said.
“The Knick” premieres Aug. 8 on Cinemax.