One point that deWaard and Tait make is that “the auteur must personally engage in this star making.” By commanding attention, Soderbergh creates a brand for himself through “unfriendly subject matter . . . cashing in on his celebrity, and especially the celebrity of some of his more famous friends.” At the time of Out of Sight, George Clooney was still mostly famous for the television show, E/R. He had yet to make himself known as a serious actor, similar to his indie-capable persona we know today from films like O Brother, Where Art Though? and Burn After Reading. Soderbergh used his fame from E/R to boost interest in Out of Sight and this tactic was a win/win: Clooney used Out of Sight to earn more serious credentials and prove he was capable of more than cheesy television and terrible Batman movies. Unlike E/R, which is focused on medical drama and bleeding guts, Out of Sight is a crime movie that is more focused on developing character depth than playing up the crime scenes. One of my biggest problems with the movie was that I would have liked to see more interactions with Foley and the other criminals than Foley with sexy chica Lopez (what was her name?). But that must be my mainstream mind talking… Anyways, Clooney used this movie as a way of proving he could do deeper acting that is focused on the character, not necessarily the action and drama.
Out of Sight seems to be Soderbergh’s way of sticking his toes into the mainstream but still keeping his interesting indie spin. Clooney helped him do this with his existing fame, and accessible charm. His smooth comedy in the film made it more accessible to a wider audience by keeping the movie lighthearted.
By utilizing Clooney, Soderbergh was able to merge his two movie making styles (complex indie and placating mainstream) and create a film that both challenges the viewer (Foley is so charming he can’t be that bad…) and entertains (that chubby guy just tripped and shot himself omg lol). The article quotes King and tells us “stardom is generally considered the single most important factor in the commercial viability of many films.” Without Clooney, I don’t believe Out of Sight could have achieved the same (slight) success in the box office or as a story. Soderbergh needed a well known face to solidify the validity of his movie in Hollywood and as a skillful director.
(all info from imdb)