He wanted to make a flick fast and cheap. so Soderbergh got digital cameras, set up a $2 million, 18-day shoot in L.A., and banned all time- and budget-busting accoutrements, including limos and makeup artists. ”I wanted to shoot a movie like [the TV show] ‘Cops,”’ says Soderbergh. ”My girlfriend [E!’s Jules Asner] turned me on to it.” The script, a sequel to Soderbergh’s 1989 career-maker ”sex, lies and videotape” only ”in the karmic sense,” follows new characters over 24 hours, as a magazine journalist (Roberts) shows up on set to interview a major movie star (Underwood). The pair shot their scenes together in five days, and Underwood reports, ”We almost never worked past 5 or 6 o’clock. The whole process was streamlined” — except for extensive improvisations.
Choosing a title involved some riffing too. The first choice, ” How to Survive a Hotel Fire,” ”just didn’t seem very amusing after September 11,” says Soderbergh. He’s fond of his second choice, ”The Art of Negotiating a Turn,” but it made Miramax honcho Harvey Weinstein so unhappy, Soderbergh says, ”I thought he was going to do himself harm.”