‘Dragon Tattoo’s’ Rooney Mara Has Soderbergh’s ‘Side Effects’

Published 3 years ago by , Updated July 31st, 2013 at 10:47 am,

Director Steven Soderbergh’s prescriptions drug-oriented dramatic thriller, Side Effects, seemingly hit a snag recently, on its way to beginning production. Megan Ellison (via her Annapurna Pictures) was previously said to have withdrawn her financial support for the project, due to concerns about actress Blake Lively serving as the film’s protagonist.

A new report indicates the situation with AP is indeed “a bit shaky,” but doesn’t clarify whether or not the backer is actually no longer involved with Side Effects. However, there’s reason to suspect the financier is still onboard, seeing how the film now has a new (confirmed) leading lady attached.

Lively has been replaced on Side Effects by Rooney Mara, who’s all the hotter a prospect (yes, in all meanings of the term) thanks to her landing an Oscar nod for her performance in David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Mara has recently been courted for a number of projects involving prestigious filmmaking talent, such as Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama Bin Laden thriller and Spike Lee’s Oldboy re-interpretation – so, there’s little surprise about her decision to join the latest flick from a decorated auteur like Soderbergh.

Deadline has the scoop on Mara joining Side Effects, which the site also says fits in well with her schedule – seeing how the actress is currently overseas promoting Dragon Tattoo. Despite the questions over funding, Side Effects remains prepped to begin principal photography by April 2012, with Soderbergh working from a script penned by Scott Z. Burns (Contagion) and produced by his go-to collaborator Greg Jacobs, along with Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers, The Devil Inside).

The rest of the primary cast for Side Effects is not only (seemingly) set in stone at this point, but also composed of familiar faces from previous Soderbergh “joints.” Returning to work alongside the filmmaker yet again are the likes of Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones (Traffic, Ocean’s Twelve), Jude Law (Contagion), and Channing Tatum (Haywire, the upcoming Magic Mike).

Side Effects revolves around Emily Hawkins (Mara), a prescription drug-addicted woman who is attempting to cope with severe anxiety and depression. Her condition is only heightened by the impending release of her husband (Tatum) from prison, as well as an affair she has been conducting with her psychiatrist (Law). Things begin to spiral even further out of control when Emily begins taking a new drug to deal with all the stress – and eventually finds herself on trial for murder, having unknowingly (supposedly?) killed her newly-freed husband.

In someone else’s hands, those plot elements could lend themselves to a pretty low-grade and soapy thriller. However, with Soderbergh sitting at the helm and Burns handling screenwriting duties, expect Side Effects to be more of a thematically-rich and dark character study that avoids its B-movie trappings – and boasts the director’s trademark visual flair, to boot.

Similarly, don’t be surprised if Mara delivers yet another dedicated and disturbing performance in Side Effects, following her great work in Dragon Tattoo – along with her standout part in The Social Network and solid turn in the otherwise lackluster Nightmare on Elm Street remake. The rest of the cast should turn in top-notch work as well – heck, even Tatum might be okay, in this one (hard as it may be to believe).

Soderbergh is known for working fast and efficiently, so Side Effects shouldn’t take too long to make its way into theaters. In fact, the film could possibly even be finished in time for an Oscar-qualifying run in late 2012 – but don’t count on that being a certainty just yet.

Source: Deadline

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  1. Shudda given Blake Lively a chance!! Rooney Mara has already proven herself, director/producers need to stray away from continuously hiring award nominatees and winners so someone else actally has a chance to be recognised!


      • Not anyone that still uses “LOL,” clearly.

    • Blake Lively isn’t exactly an unknown. She has already been given several chances- more than she deserves IMO.

  2. This was the 1st piece I’ve read that gives Mara the credit she deserves for Elm Street. Let me be clear, in no way am I saying the movie itself is any good but Mara was the one shinning light in an otherwise horrible film.
    She really is a star on the rise and I’m happy to see that she’s accepting roles that are challenging and different rather than a bunch of low rent rom-coms that I’m sure are getting offered.

  3. They should have given Blake Lively a chance imo. Mara already proved herself this year. Let’s see someone else get a shot.

  4. Rooney is the hot property right now, but did Blake Lively kill somebody or something for the producer to be that against her being in the film?

    • green lantern payback… You’re only successful as your latest movie in Hollywood and fanboys hate her guts

  5. sorry but as much impressive as she could be in gwdt Mara comes off as an obnoxious self centered brat in her latest interviews. keeps bashing every production who gave her a shot : law and order, nightmare. Seems like the hidden sister of Katherine Heigl and Megan fox. I hate this kind of behavior. Every actor starts in piss poor production. A legend like McQueen starred in “The Blob” for christ’s sake. Even if he was doing his best to hide this part of his career he still didn’t made public statement trashing people who helped him in the first place. Ingratitude is the worst vice and I’m already done with this spoiled brat.

    • Mara is not a brat, she’s a grownup who has other interests besides acting. She’s serious about the craft. She’s been bashed for what was basically her FIRST interview for GWTDT, where she was punished for speaking truthfully. Plus, having such prickly friends as Daniel Craig (who just dissed the Bond franchise last week, and has a history of telling reporters to piss off) and her film godfather Fincher – another notoriously prickly interview – as role models didn’t help her either. But she’s caught on and is now a lot more circumspect. The reason she’s working is because she’s serious, committed and good; and she’s FAR from the first actor to come from a privileged background (Drew Barrymore, excellent example). Fincher hired her basically because she took the role, didn’t give it back, and did everything he asked her to do. If I were casting a film with a meaty part for a 27 year-old, she’d be on the top of my list.

  6. How can you possibly say, with a straight face that Rooney is hotter in all aspects. Have you seen Blake Lively? She’s got a real womans body, not like Mara who seems to have committed herself to the emaciated look whole herartedly. And if you believe Blake can’t act, watch The Town. She held her own in that.

    And just like Mara, that would be 1 good performance in the last year or so.

    • Ha, I wasn’t actually comparing Mara to Lively (or vice versa), I was just saying that Mara is an in-demand actress right now.