When we encounter prostitutes in the movies, they're almost invariably destitute, sick, absurdly dressed, and roaming the red light district in search of a client or a fix. That may well be accurate for a majority of women in the profession, but the rarely-glimpsed high-priced call girl is just as much of a curiosity. After he finishes The Informant with Matt Damon, Steven Soderbergh will direct The Girlfriend Experience -- a look at the life of a prostitute who commands a fee of $10,000 a night and earns over $1,000,000 a year. The filmmaker dropped a hint about this project over a year ago, but now plans for the movie are coming together, and we have a lot more details.

The movie, written by Ocean's Thirteen scribes Brian Koppelman and David Levien along with Soderbergh, will be shot over 14 days this fall, in the same improvisational style Soderbergh used for Bubble. It will also follow Bubble's controversial pattern of a simultaneous theatrical and DVD release. According to the Variety story, Soderbergh is considering casting an adult film actress, instead of a Hollywood star, in the lead role. The title refers to encounters where men pay not only for sex, but also for the woman to act like the perfect girlfriend in the experience.

Dear Lord, Soderbergh is prolific: if his two (already-completed) Che Guevara movies hit their 2008 release dates (they're premiering at Cannes), and The Informant and The Girlfriend Experience stay on track for 2009, he will have directed 13 movies in a 10-year span. The man loves to work. This new project is particularly intriguing since it looks like it might give us a well-researched look into a world that I, at least, know virtually nothing about. And it might also confound the usual arguments for why prostitution is a Bad Thing...