Back in 2015, we reported that the then-retired Steven Soderbergh was developing a movie for HBO that would involve viewers using an app of some kind that would impact the film’s ending. Apps have only become more and more exciting since then, but we still hadn’t seen or heard much from Soderbergh’s project beyond the fact that it’s called Mosaic and will star Sharon Stone and Garrett Hedlund. Now, Soderbergh has given a lengthy interview to Film Comment in which he offers some more details about Mosaic and its weird app thing.
For starters, Mosaic is a TV show now, with Soderbergh saying that “a linear episodic version” will air on HBO next year, but it’s also more of a “branching narrative piece” than your average TV series. That’s where the app comes in, but this won’t be some kind of American Idol thing where HBO viewers can vote on what happens to Stone and Hedlund. Soderbergh says Mosaic is a “fixed universe” and the choices you make in the app don’t actually impact what happens in the story. Instead, it sounds like the app will allow viewers to rearrange the story into a different order, or at least view things in any order they choose.
Soderbergh apparently always intended the “choose your own adventure” app version to be the main way to consume the Mosaic, but he offered the “linear episodic version” to HBO after realizing that he had too much content for the app. That means you’ll get a slightly different experience with both, beyond the fact that one involves just sitting down and watching it while the other will require you to tap your phone or hit the Apple TV button a few times over the course of the six-hour series.
As for what Mosaic actually is, Soderbergh says “it’s a murder” that takes place across two different time periods, but it’s not necessarily a mystery. The app version should be available in November.