Steven Soderbergh is possibly the busiest person ever to “retire” from the film industry. When the director isn’t instructing Clive Owen to slice up human bodies and splice them back together on The Knick, one of his favorite pastimes is slicing up existing films and splicing them back together to create something completely fresh. There was that time he shaved 50 minutes off Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. And the time he mashed up both versions of Psycho. And the time he removed all the sound and color from Raiders Of The Lost Ark. It’s unclear if Steven Soderbergh actually misunderstands the concept of retirement or if he’s just aiming to make all of our grandparents feel like total sh*t.
For his next trick, Soderbergh is retooling one of his own properties: his 2009 film The Girlfriend Experience. The original film centers on a high-end call girl, played by adult-film star Sasha Grey, as she offers, well, “the girlfriend experience” to a variety of wealthy clients, who pay her both for sex and simulation of a relationship. In 2016, Starz will release a 13-part anthology series based on (and named after) the film, starring Riley Keough as a “law-school student who suddenly becomes immersed in the world of ‘transactional relationships.’ ” The first trailer for The Girlfriend Experience dropped today — take a look at the woozy, boozy world Soderbergh and co. have wrought.
As FKA Twigs (aka the Official Soundtrack To Everybody’s Sex Life) croons in the background, Keough lounges about in a robe, casually ordering $1,600 worth of alcohol over the phone; muses over whether she should call herself “Ashley” or “Chelsea”; chills on a boat with an old dude; counts her money in a public restroom; and appears to engage in sexual relations with multiple men and women. But things aren’t all yachts and cute thongs for our fair protagonist: The end of the trailer suggests that she’s in over her head, struggling to balance her law career with her #escortlyfe and harboring a secret fear for her own safety.
Soderbergh explained the genesis of the series to Variety last year. “I saw the potential for expansion of the world immediately. We didn’t want to just remake the film. We were intrigued with the idea of going to a new location with a new character on a new trajectory.” While Soderbergh will executive produce the show, he won’t be involved as a writer or director, at least initially — indie filmmakers Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz will co-write the series and divide up the directing work — because Soderbergh is too busy making your grandma feel insecure about her golfing habits.
The Girlfriend Experience will premiere on Starz in 2016.