Steven Soderbergh’s ‘The Side Effects’ Lands Financing & Primary Cast

Published 3 years ago by , Updated July 31st, 2013 at 10:16 am,

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

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  1. Is this Tatum’s third movie with Soderbergh?

  2. Lively is a great choice. I hope this one has a good script tho, because a thriller about medication will be hard to get right.

  3. Law’s more than “decent enough.”

  4. Blake is definately a brilliant actress, if you dont think so watch Elvis and Anabelle. I hope if this film is the right tone and has a brilliant script for these actors it could FINALLY earn Jude Law an Ocsar which, IMO is long overdue.

    • Elvis and Anabelle! Yes! Great movie and performances from Blake and Max Minghella in the title roles.

  5. One movie doesn’t make her brilliant, green lantern/accepted/the town she wasn’t that good in either of them. And I don’t think channing tatum is good at all just an opinion tho

  6. How many movies does Soderbergh make a year!? It seems like this guy is constantly churning out films. Fortunately, he’s been pretty hit with most of the them.

  7. “Tatum… well, playing a handsome… ”
    I’m sorry I couldn’t read past that point. It took me a lot of effort to accept “playing” and tatum in the same sentence . But handsome overload my processor… Terminal failure.
    He has a great body I guess but his face is meeeeeeeh. And speaking of which: tip to the people in charge of movie casting. A 6 pack is for sure very useful for a bodybuilding magazine cover and boxer ads but not so much for movie acting except if he’s looking for taking over matthew mcconaughey’s parts…. Please look for your actor elsewhere : get us shakespearian actors, standup comedian, actor’s studio students, broadway veteran, TV actor, struggling amateur …whatever but please no model who has no idea what the f… he should do before a camera.

  8. “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.”

    Um WHAT? Lively mumbles through her lines on Gossip Girl and had a borderline incoherent accent in The Town… sure, she could generate awards talk if you’re looking at the Razzies! I’m all for a young ingenue getting serious attention but I would not classify Lively as a good actress. She has yet to prove she’s anything but a hot bod. She was surrounded by a talented ensemble in both Pippa Lee and The Town, so this film will surely be a test. Kudos to Soderbergh for trying cast a unique selection of actors, but that doesn’t mean it will always add up- i.e. The Girlfriend Experiment. Plus, when you’re this hooked on Channing Tatum (who is also a fancy mumbler!), you know something is wrong. I have yet to see Tatum deliver anything beyond looking like set decor. I would love to be proven wrong, really. Having seen Haywire, it’s obvious Tatum is the most disposable of the cast and considering he has very little to do, I hope Soderbergh follows suit and allows Jude Law to have 95% of the screen time. At least that man can ACT!