Earlier today, ComingSoon.net had a rare opportunity for an extended interview with filmmaker Steven Soderbergh for his upcoming film The Girlfriend Experience, a timely film about a high-priced Manhattan escort played by adult video star Sasha Grey.

We had a chance to talk to Soderbergh at length about the film as well as his next two studio projects, The Informant and Moneyball, which reunite him with Matt Damon and Brad Pitt, respectively, but the real surprise came at the end of our conversation.

We were asking why he thought recent films didn’t have quite the impact or longevity as the classics, and he gave us a great response about how the volume of movies being made and seen made it hard for anything to have the cultural impact of a movie like The Godfather or be remembered. He was disappointed there weren’t those sorts of benchmarks in the movies being made today, but he surprised us by adding that he thought James Cameron’s Avatar would be one of those benchmarks:

“I’ve seen some stuff and holy sh*t. It’s the craziest sh*t ever. That could negate everything I just said,” he told us.

A lot of people are eagerly anticipating the film, being that it’s Cameron’s first narrative feature film since Titanic way back in 1997, but nothing has been seen of the movie beyond a poster and a brief report from TIME last month. To have a reputable and discerning filmmaker like Soderbergh give it such high praise certainly makes one optimistic that Cameron’s return will be the stuff of cinematic legend.

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