The acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh may be one of the most respected men in the business, but even he seems to have trouble finding a little extra cash these days. Now we all know what happened with is true-life sports tale, Moneyball, but by all accounts that isn't the only film that he is having trouble securing funding for. But on the bright side, it turns out it was much easier to sell studios a sexy spy thriller than it was a tale of number-crunchers. According to Variety, Lionsgate has snapped up Soderbergh's next slated flick, Knockout and secured financing for the action drama with Relativity Media offering to foot the bill.

The film is being described as in the "vein of La Femme Nikita" and will star Gina Carano. Soderbergh will be working with Lem Dobbs, who also worked on The Limey to write the script. Now Carano might be a household name for fans of Mixed Martial Arts, but for the world at large, a lead role in a Soderbergh film will probably be a much better introduction for the famed fighter. The director seems to be continuing to hire 'non-traditional' actors in his films, and if Soderbergh is looking to save some cash, luckily Carano will be able to do her own stunts.

As strange as a 'Soderbergh action film' may sound, it's hardly the wackiest idea he's had lately. After the jump; status reports on two of Soderbergh's other films...

Cleo
As much as I was looking forward to Hugh Jackman starring in a 3D rock musical, it was not meant to be and now the production is still short one Marc Anthony. But according to Soderbergh, the film is still alive and well with Catherine Zeta Jones on board as Cleopatra, and he is looking forward to making what he describes as a "...a total party.", and I know I can't be they only one who is intrigued by the idea of Soderbergh getting to make this movie, no matter how crazy it might sound on paper.

Liberace
When asked about his musical biopic about the famous musician, Soderbergh told journalists, "Well, it's Michael Douglas and Matt (Damon, as Scott Thorson, Liberace's lover) and the script's by Richard LaGravenese. It's a great project all the way round and we're right in the middle of acquiring the money to make it. It's a very difficult environment to raise money for a movie like that, because it's a movie for grownups and it's about Liberace. So a lot of people look at it and go, 'Who's this for?' But Soderbergh seems confident that the film will make it into production, even if it is at a discount.

Knockout will start production this January in locations around the world that include Ireland, Turkey and the U.S. -- and keep your fingers crossed that Cleo and Liberace can make it out of development alive.