Soderbergh shoots 'secret' film in Sydney

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The Independent Culture

Hollywood director Steven Soderbergh has shot a 'secret' film in Australia about a glamorous couple who run a Sydney theatre troupe - apparently inspired by Cate Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton.

Soderbergh began the project last year while directing a play at the Sydney Theatre Company (STC), where Blanchett and Upton, a playwright, are joint artistic directors.

He used the cast from the STC play "Tot Mom" as the stars of the improvised comedic film, "The Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg".

"It's something that the cast did while they were making the play," an STC spokesman told AFP on Monday.

"It was just a bit of fun between the cast and Steven."

Soderbergh, who won the best director Academy Award for his 2000 film "Traffic", has sent an early cut of the film to Sydney, delighting Blanchett and Upton.

"How great that the actors got a taste of working on a film with one of the true masters," Blanchett told The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

"You can tell everyone had a good time with it and it was the perfect way to balance the intensity of working on the play."

Actor Rhys Muldoon, who played one of the leads in the film, insisted the Soderbergh side project was not designed to make fun of the Sydney acting troupe, adding that the characters were very different from real figures.

"It wasn't a piss take of the Sydney Theatre Company or Cate or Andrew at all," Muldoon was quoted as saying.

"I made my guy quite an angry person and Andrew is certainly not that. And also my guy is pretty much sleeping with every woman he can get his hands on, which is very much not Andrew as well."