Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989) Poster


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The film was playing in Berlin's largest movie theaters when the Berlin Wall fell. A lot of East Germans crossing over to West Berlin went to see it, expecting Western-style porn.
On the first day of production, the producers sent Steven Soderbergh a telegram, joking that they'd heard reports that he couldn't direct traffic. Twelve years later, Soderbergh won an Oscar for directing Traffic (2000).
The role of Ann was originally written for Elizabeth McGovern, and was later offered to Brooke Shields, who turned it down. In 1989, at the Sundance Festival premiere, Steven Soderbergh told the audience that he'd originally thought Andie MacDowell was too weak an actress to even audition, because of her work in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984).
David Duchovny and David Hyde Pierce both auditioned for the parts of Graham and John.
Jennifer Jason Leigh turned down the role of Cynthia Bishop in order to appear in Miami Blues (1990), though she later expressed regret that she missed out on the role.
One scene includes a videotaped confession by one of James Spader's character's past lovers. The director gave the script and a video camera to Jennifer Jason Leigh so she could tape the speech at home with the help of her boyfriend. They never got around to it; once filming began, a crew member was used in the brief role.
The script was written in about two weeks.
Steven Soderbergh's told composer Cliff Martinez to channel Brian Eno, the ambient-music pioneer.
Tim Daly was considered for the part of John Mullany.


The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Steven Soderbergh gave the producers a list of possible film titles, including: "46:02", "Retinal Retention", "Charged Coupling Device", "Mode: Visual", "Sex, Lies, and Videotape", and "Hidden Agendas". Soderberg heavily favored "46:02" (the supposed running time of the tape Ann makes for Graham; the running time appears in the script but not in the final film), but the producers chose "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" immediately. In a Q&A session after a screening in 1989, one audience member advised Soderbergh that he would "have to change" the title, which he considered terrible.

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