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Exclusive: Blake Lively, Jude Law & Channing Tatum Will Lead Steven Soderbergh's 'The Side Effects'

by Oliver Lyttelton
January 9, 2012 11:38 AM
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Blake Lively, Jude Law & Channing Tatum Will Lead Steven Soderbergh's 'The Side Effects'

We're a couple of weeks away from the arrival of the actioner "Haywire," the first of two Steven Soderbergh films getting released this year (to be followed by male stripper drama "Magic Mike" in the summer), but with the director's retirement/hiatus from filmmaking looming, he's not hanging around. 

When he couldn't agree with Warner Bros. on the casting and budget for "The Man From U.N.C.L.E," Soderbergh decided to make something else -- a psychological thriller penned by frequent collaborator Scott Z. Burns ("The Informant!," "Contagion") called "The Side Effects" (the project has reverted to its initial title after flirting with the name "The Bitter Pill"). Announced late last year, with several companies vying to make the project, now, two weeks into 2012, The Playlist can reveal that the financing looks to be locked down, and Soderbergh has found his principal cast.

"Gossip Girl" and "Green Lantern" star Blake Lively will topline "The Side Effects" as Emily Hawkins, a woman who turns to prescription meds to cope with the anxiety of the upcoming release from prison of her husband. Channing Tatum, who features in both "Haywire" and "Magic Mike," will make it three in a row by taking the role of the husband, while Jude Law, who was part of the ensemble cast of "Contagion," will play Lively's new psychiatrist. While no deals are officially done, they will be imminently (casting has been underway since early December).

And despite Deadline reporting that financing from "Twilight" studio Summit was a done deal, the company are now no longer involved (perhaps because of their imminent sale to Lionsgate), with Annapurna Pictures, the company headed by billionaire heiress/film fan Megan Ellison, stepping in (that deal’s not done or announced yet it either, but will be shortly). Ellison's continuing her run of backing some of the very best filmmakers around, including John Hillcoat, Andrew Dominik and Paul Thomas Anderson, making up a pretty impressive slate for the next couple of years. Obviously a distributor will have to step in at some point before the film's release, but that’ll be cake, but as of now, the film is financed.

Soderbergh and Law reportedly loved working together on the set of "Contagion" (just as the director and Tatum bonded on "Haywire"), and the actor was one of the names he considered for "The Man From U.N.C.L.E," so it's good to see them working together again. Lively's casting is likely to be more controversial, but it shouldn't be forgotten how impressive the actress was in "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee" and "The Town" -- she's got the lead role here, and it has the potential to be a real career-maker for her.

There's several meaty supporting roles still to be cast, but things are looking very promising already, and it's good to see Soderbergh continuing the approach of somewhat leftfield casting choices he went with on "Haywire" and "Magic Mike." Shooting will start in April for a release in 2013, while you'll be able to see Soderbergh and Tatum's earlier collaborations when "Haywire" hits on January 20th, with "Magic Mike" following on June 27th. His last film for now, HBO's Liberace biopic "Behind the Candelabra," starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, will shoot later this year.

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  • Ken | January 10, 2012 4:15 PMReply

    Gee, I'm glad that everyone here seems to have faith in Steven Soderbergh's casting decisions... not.

  • jingmei | January 9, 2012 9:18 PMReply

    Why boring Blake Lively. Mr. Soderbergh made a pathetic choice.

  • Sam | January 9, 2012 5:02 PMReply

    Channing Tatum and Blake Lively? Not too early to predict an early Razzie contender. Poor Jude Law, he's better than this.

  • Here's the real deal YA'LL | January 9, 2012 4:49 PMReply

    Lets all take a minute to laugh our asses off that Blake "I mumbled through all of my lines on GG and The Town" Lively has been cast in this film. Obviously Soderbergh has set his sights low recently with the casting of Channing Tatum (who may be in competition with Lively as the most mumbling actor to grace the big screen in the last decade) in not one but TWO of his films. Lively is not a good actress and as much as people WANT her to happen, she will never be a respected thespian. She's like Gwyneth Paltrow with 1/4 of the talent and no Oscar (which we all know is one of the bigger WTF moments in Oscar history). Look, I may be a Blake Lively hater but my reasoning stems from the fact that she sucks as an actress.

  • Here's the real deal ya'll | January 9, 2012 6:13 PM

    Actually, I have seen Haywire so I do know something. Tatum is easily the most disposable part of an otherwise very good action flick. And I was ranting based off of all of Tatum's previous efforts- ALL of which were borderline atrocious. So, unless he magically contracts DDL talent, I'm going to go ahead and ASSume he will be horrible in this film as he is in all other films.

  • Here's the Real Real Deal. | January 9, 2012 5:53 PM

    I'll take a moment to laugh at people who don't read the article and haven't seen the movies but think they know everything. This will be Tatum's third film with Soderbergh. None have come out yet.

  • sal | January 9, 2012 3:50 PMReply

    I won't watch another Soderbergh movie until he stops casting that fucking oaf Channing Tatum. Bullshit.

  • Steven Flores | January 12, 2012 7:34 PM

    I'm with you there buddy. I can't understand a word that guys says whenever he tries to speak dialogue or emote. Plus, as hot as Blake Lively. She is a terrible actress.

  • karen | January 9, 2012 2:20 PMReply

    Blake Lively, watch out!

  • Tim Tebow | January 9, 2012 2:12 PMReply

    so the site that always used to mock the "TOLJA" thing now does the "EXCLUSIVE" thing.

  • WTG | January 9, 2012 1:41 PMReply

    I thought Lively was good in a rather thankless role in The Town, and so did a lot of critics. Obviously directors like Oliver Stone, Sam Raimi, and now Steven Soderbergh thought so too as they've all cast her in their films. I also like her work in The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, and Elvis and Anabelle, and she's been pretty entertaining in the interviews I've seen. I think many people are inclined to stereotype her because she's young, pretty, and on a tv show called Gossip Girl.

  • jingmei | January 9, 2012 9:25 PM

    Blake Lively is for sure not in the age as young as she declared. And her "beauty" is superficial and boring.

  • Mary | January 9, 2012 6:10 PM

    Not from what I've read... this is what I found on the interwebz: "Prior to Williams being tapped for Glinda, "Gossip Girl" star Blake Lively was rumored to be in the running for the role." Source: CNN

    "Variety reports the actress is the frontrunner to take the female lead in Oliver Stone's adaptation of Don Winslow's novel Savages. After Jennifer Lawrence took the lead role in Hunger Games, the role in Stone's project was left vacant. Though Lively is the favorite to take the role, she's also currently considering Oz: The Great and Powerful, a project that would see her playing Glinda the Good Witch of the East." Source: Variety

    In the running, considering, and offered are very different things. You may be correct Elise, but from what I've gathered those were just rumors and she was never officially offered the part. I've read that she was circling the role for a while before she signed on to Savages.

  • Elise | January 9, 2012 5:55 PM

    Mary -- Lively was offered the role of Glinda in Raimi's Oz. She dropped out to do Savages, after Jennifer Lawrence dropped out of Savages to do Hunger Games.

  • Mary | January 9, 2012 4:51 PM

    Inserting people she's auditioned for like Raimi is irrelevant and doesn't prove much... she didn't get the role in Oz, so that's that. It's like saying Jessica Biel is a good actress because she auditioned for TDKR and Les Miserables... she didn't get those parts... end of story.

  • Gabe Toro | January 9, 2012 1:33 PMReply

    Megan Ellison, you win my heart AGAIN.

  • Aaron | January 10, 2012 2:40 AM

    And Michelle Williams took her place and will be infinitely better in every capacity than Blake Lively. Moving on...

  • elise | January 9, 2012 5:42 PM

    Lively was offered the role of Glinda the Good Witch in Oz. She dropped out of Oz to take Savages, after Jennifer Lawrence dropped out of Savages to do Hunger Games.

  • RR | January 9, 2012 1:33 PMReply

    I feel like aside from GL, Blake has been playing the same character. Psychologically damaged and addicted to something.. I think she's decent in them, but impressive? Most of her acting is blank stares, pouting, and giggling.

  • r0die | January 9, 2012 12:30 PMReply

    I agree. Give Soderbergh 4-5 years away from filmmaking and he'll be back. He probably just wants to take a break, paint and travel a bit.

  • Retiree | January 9, 2012 12:23 PMReply

    can you stop beating the dead "retirement" horse into the ground?

    Considering it is a non-story that he himself said was just a drunk comment taken way out of context?

  • Edward Davis | January 9, 2012 12:38 PM

    He said it openly in often in 2009, here's another example. It just blew up in recent years because Matt Damon said it, but look back through our archives here and you'll find several examples of it.

    "I just feel that this is a young person’s game, and I don’t want to be doing this when I’m 50. By then I’ll have made 20-something movies, and that’s a lot,” he told the London Times Online. So, does that mean he’ll be retiring in the next four years? “Oh, I think before that,” he says. Surely he can’t be serious. A workaholic and consummate movie-maker at the height of his powers, with Clooney, the cream of Hollywood, at his feet?

    “It’s funny, but every time I say I’m trying to wind things down, people get really angry. ‘Why are you saying that? Stop saying that!’ But look, if I decide I want to do something else I am allowed to do just that.” He gives a perplexed shrug and says: “It’s my life, after all!”

  • Edward Davis | January 9, 2012 12:33 PM

    That's what he would love you to believe because it's a #1stworldproblem that he hates to discuss, but it first popped up around 2010 in a GQ article where he himself brought it up, totally sober, etc.

    We spoke to him last summer and he confirmed it too.

    Meanwhile, much was made in the past few days about Soderbergh "reneging" on his retirement plans this past weekend from reporters covering Comic-Con from afar, but the filmmaker confirmed to us he still has an exit strategy, saying he just wants to shy away from the retirement conversation because, "no one wants to hear you talk about leaving a high paying job." When asked if something like "Magic Mike" -- a last minute Channing Tatum male-stripper project -- could be one of many "last minute projects" that keeps delaying the director's plans to bow out he said, certainly not. "No, see, I told Channing, 'Look we can do this, but it has to be now and it has to be in September,' " he said of his open window of opportunity to shoot the film. "I'm still winding down." He's got a couple of films left on his plate including "Liberace" and "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and is sticking to a two-year plan to get them completed.

  • BEF | January 9, 2012 11:54 AMReply

    My goodness, Lively's agent gets her a part instead of just the casting shortlist over and over and over where she always seemed misplaced in the same sentence of proven performers. If she's good in this and Savages then she'll've earned her way to the shortlist.

  • Ella | January 9, 2012 1:46 PM

    Agent's only you auditions, and it looks like she won this one. Good for her.

  • Retiree | January 9, 2012 1:39 PM

    So, basically, when he is tired of making films he is going to retire. If a random movie comes up that he wants, like this one, or something else next year, he's going to do it.

    All that he really said was that he might want to stop and do something else sometime in the future. I don't think that means we now have to treat each movie or rumored movie as a "COUNTDOWN TO THE LAST SODERBERGH MOVIE EVER BEFORE HE DISSAPEARS FOREVER"

  • wtf | January 9, 2012 1:19 PM

    BEF, you are right. Blake Lively stuck out like a sore thumb in " The Town ." I mean she was laughably bad. Plus, after seeing some of her tv interviews, she always seems like an airhead. Looks can only get you so far in this business.

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