I think in the pantheon of great directors I’ve worked with, I’d say Wyler and [Federico] Fellini and Soderbergh. What made Soderbergh different was that he operated the camera. He and the camera were not two.
I was on holiday in Hawaii, and I got this number to call him and he’s telling me about the movie. And he said he’d seen this older movie I’d done called Poor Cow, and he was thinking of using footage from this old movie as a kind of backstory, and how did I feel about that.
I was speechless, really, because when I got the call from him, I just assumed it was for some kind of supporting part. But as he explained the movie, I realized that he was actually thinking of me as the limey. He said, “What’s the matter, what’s the matter? Don’t you like it?” And I said, “I really like it! Did you think I wouldn’t?” He said, “I don’t know a lot of other male stars who’d like to be up there with themselves 30 years ago.” And I said, “Not me, mate.” However, during the shooting of the movie, we didn’t have permission [to use the Poor Cow footage]. Every week, every time he got a day off, he’d go to Warner Bros. and work his way up from the people who sell you, like, frame by frame. He worked his way up, and finally on the last weekend, he’d worked his way up to the head of Warner Bros. And what he told me was this. He said that the guy said to him, “Why are you dealing with me? Why can’t you deal with the people who sell the movies by footage?” And Soderbergh said, “Because I want permission to put anything I need from the movie, into my movie.” And the guy—I can’t remember the guy’s name—said, “I can’t do that.” Steven said, “Why not?” and he said, “Because it’ll create precedent.” Steven said, “Yes.” And he said, “I can’t do it.” Then Steven said this thing which I thought was amazing; he said, “If you won’t give me permission to do it, I will never make another movie for you.” This is a guy who’s like 35 or 40. And the guy said, “Oh, take it, take it.” What was wonderful for me when I saw [The Limey] was his pace and his restraint in how little [of Poor Cow] he used when he could have used anything from it. That, to me, is why I put him up there with Fellini and Wyler."
— Terrance Stamp, in this AV Club Random Roles interview