It wasn’t long after he gave up plans to direct The Man from U.N.C.L.E. that ever-busy filmmaker Steven Soderbergh selected his next project (then titled The Bitter Pill). That “thriller set in the world of psychopharmacology” has now reverted to its original title, The Side Effects, and is ready to move forward.

Side Effects is being penned by previous Soderbergh collaborator, Scott Z. Burns (The Informant!Contagion). The film has now secured funding and managed to fill three of its central roles; two of the actors now onboard for the project are also familiar faces from Soderbergh’s cinematic universe.

The Playlist has learned that an official announcement will soon be made concerning Side Effects‘ funding – which will come from Annapurna Pictures, as headed by Oracle heiress/billionaire Megan Ellison. Ellison, as it were, is a film fan who produced the Coen Brothers’ True Grit and is backing upcoming “auteur flicks” like John Hillcoat’s Wettest Country, P.T. Anderson’s The Master, and Andrew Dominik’s Cogan’s Trade. It’s fair to say: the lady has excellent taste in movies. Moving on…

As far as casting goes, Side Effects will be headlined by Blake Lively, who will therein portray Emily Hawkins: a woman “who turns to prescription meds” in order to deal with the release of her husband (Channing Tatum) from prison. Jude Law is also onboard to play Lively’s psychiatrist; it’s probably safe to assume that his character ends up having a “complex” relationship with Mrs. Hawkins (and all that implies…).

Tatum has formed a solid working relationship with Soderbergh, seeing how he’ll be appearing in the director’s next two projects: the female-agent-on-the-run thriller, Haywire, and male stripper drama, Magic Mike, both of which will hit theaters in 2012. Law, similarly, was said to get on quite well with the filmmaker while working on Contagion – and thus, needed little convincing to also sign on for The Side Effects.

Lively continues to prove she is interested in being a serious actress by signing on for the aforementioned dramatically-rich role in Side Effects. The actress has already delivered solid work in films like The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and The Town; she also looks to add another worthy turn to her resume when she appears in Oliver Stone’s Savages adaptation later this year. Yes, her incarnation of Carol Ferris in Green Lantern was nothing special – but, then again, Lively didn’t exactly have much of value to work with there.

Point being: Lively is a very good choice to headline The Side Effects and (with Soderbergh’s guiding hand to help) she could easily give a performance that generates some serious awards talk, when the film is released. With regards to the additional casting: Law is usually decent enough, while Tatum… well, playing a handsome ex-convict who’s probably more the strong, silent type is something he should prove to be adequate at.

Principal photography on The Side Effects is set to begin by April 2012, with a 2013 release date in mind. Additional casting for some important supporting parts remains to be completed in the meantime, so stay tuned…

Source: The Playlist