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FULL FRONTAL

About The Film
Two things that surprise actors who have never worked with Steven Soderbergh is the amount of time they spend acting and the fact that there are no monitors on his sets, no "video village.”

During "Full Frontal” the pace was even quicker as the combination of video and using only natural light meant there was very little down time during the day. The general feeling is that it's almost like being on stage.

Explains producer Gregory Jacobs, who has served as Soderbergh's first assistant director on seven prior films, "in this film, even more than any of the others, there was less sitting around. It's great for the actor because you don't lose that momentum. You don't go back to your trailer and then two-and-a-half hours later come back for the close up and try to have the same emotion you had three hours prior in the medium shot of the same scene.”

"I had a rule that I had to run every scene in its entirety,” explains Soderbergh, "and shoot it in a single take. I allowed myself the possibility to edit within those takes so as not to bore the audience silly, but the rule was that the take itself had to be shot like a documentary, in an uninterrupted piece.

"I didn't realize until half way through day two that this was what I needed to do. I had given all these rules to the actors, but I realized that I hadn't followed through and given myself some rules.

"The first day and a half I was shooting coverage and something wasn't right. Then during the second half of day two, we were shooting scenes with David Hyde Pierce and they were long, uninterrupted takes. And they felt right. I knew that we needed to shoot the first day and a half over again and David graciously agreed to it.

"So the first couple of days were as much a process of discovery for me as I think the whole film was for the actors.”

"I'm a stage actor,” reminds Hyde Pierce "and in all my years of doing films I have never really enjoyed the process because I don't like sitting around. I don't like spending all that time doing nothing and only 2% of the day actually working.

"I loved this process. Because Steven was shooting on digital with no lighting, it was non-stop work, which is exhausting, but exhilarating. The other thing I liked was that Steven does long takes, sort of one-shot scenes so you really get to play it, you really get to do it. It's very freeing.

"Not having monitors on the set also pushes the envelope a little bit,” continues Hyde Pierce. "It's part of Steven's sense of giving the actor responsibility. We're taking the chance that either we've remembered everything or, if we haven't, it won't in any way pull focus from the film.

"Another thing I appreciated was that I was able to shoot almost entirely in sequence and that's a great courtesy to the actors.”

David Duchovny also appreciated working in this manner. "It's good because you don't know when you're on, so you have to be on the entire time. You're just playing the scene. They are all ‘oners,' there are no moments when you can ‘load up,' no close-ups. You have to go until you stop.”

Having starred for the director in two previous films, one of which earned her last year's Best Actress Academy Award, Julia Roberts had a fairly good idea of what the ”Full Frontal” experience would be like. 

"A lot of the work I did was for the ‘film' so there was a normalcy to that,” comments Roberts. "I'm also used to Steven operating the camera and being the person who's watching the most closely.”

Says Soderbergh, "I think it's good for the actors to be working all day. I think if you're working entire scenes, it's a trick of the mind to block out everything so that the scene itself takes on the sensation of actually happening. I was trying to create an environment in which that was the natural state of being for them.

"In the case of the vid

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