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Rooney Mara Replaces Blake Lively As Lead In Steven Soderbergh's 'Side Effects'

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by Oliver Lyttelton
January 30, 2012 9:44 AM
23 Comments
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Rooney Mara Side Effects

In just over a year, Rooney Mara has gone from the virtually unknown star of the disastrous remake of "Nightmare On Elm Street" to an Oscar nominee. The missing link: her brief, head-turning appearance in David Fincher's "The Social Network," a performance that helped win her the lead role of Lisbeth Salander in the director's English-language take on "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." But with a hectic schedule, and busy promotional commitments for that film, the actress has taken her time choosing her follow-up.

It's not that she hasn't had a wealth to choose from: she's been linked to virtually every project with a part around her age group, including Mike Newell's "Great Expectations," Warren Beatty's Howard Hughes film, Spike Lee's "Oldboy," David O Russell's "The Silver Linings Playbook" and Kathryn Bigelow's Osama Bin Laden project, but the only firm commitment she's made to date is to star alongside Ryan Gosling in Terrence Malick's "Lawless," but aside from some pre-production shooting last year, that won't get before cameras properly until September, leaving the actress with a gap in her schedule. A gap that's finally been filled.

Deadline report that Mara has signed on to the lead role in Steven Soderbergh's "Side Effects," replacing the previously announced Blake Lively. As we reported last week, Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures had backed out of financing the film, unhappy with Lively's casting, and we named Mara as one of the possibilites to replace her should other financiers prove equally unhappy, along with Michelle Williams, Emily Blunt and Imogen Poots.

In fact, we're told that Steven Soderbergh has long been a fan of Mara: according to sources familiar with the process, back when Fincher was fighting Sony on his desire to cast Mara in 'Dragon Tattoo,' Soderbergh, a close friend of Fincher, was telling his pal that Mara was absolutely the one he should go for, so it's no surprise she's ended up working with the director.

She'll play Emily Hawkins, a troubled young woman whose husband (to be played by Channing Tatum), is about to be released from prison, while Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones will both play psychiatrists charged with her care. The script comes from Scott Z. Burns ("Contagion"), while Open Road, fresh from the success of "The Grey" this past weekend, will distribute, with new financing likely to be locked down very shortly. Filming should get underway in New York in April, with a spring 2013 release to follow.

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23 Comments

  • TLOVESROONEY | January 31, 2012 3:27 AMReply

    I rather it go to Rooney Mara(who can act and now has an Oscar nomination to back her up) instead of Phony edge teen princess and Razzie nominee Kristen Stewart who has about as much range as a fire hydrant.Blake lively belongs on TV not the cinema.ROONEY IS BEAUTIFUL AND TALENTED...END OF STORY.

  • HIRSOHIMA | January 30, 2012 3:42 PMReply

    Do you think Lively's publicist's eagerness backfired this time around? Since her folks love to release any information about her circling high profile roles... this time around... no bueno.

  • OOGLE MONSTER | January 30, 2012 3:27 PMReply

    As much as I dislike Blake Lively the Actress, she has more personality than Mara. Mara is a good actress, so this makes sense and is probably more bankable at the moment but the girl needs SERIOUS attitude check. She's the most stoic and boring person in interviews. If she's looking to build a stable fan-base outside of the Dragon Tattoo franchise (and we all know franchise fan bases don't tend to follow the star around once they move outside of said franchise... take R Patz and Daniel Craig for example) she really needs to come across as more personable.

  • ben | June 28, 2012 10:21 AM

    I know I'm several months late, but... "aloof" and "shy" are not mutually exclusive. I'm the same way, in that I'm a little distant and not very emotionally open -- it comes with being shy and in my own head a lot of the time. I'm not comfortable meeting new people, I'm quiet, etc, and RM is, by most accounts, the same way. @CDM, she used the word 3-4 times because they were talking about the word itself. Just like I used the word "shy" twice.

  • OOGLE MONSTER | January 30, 2012 3:39 PM

    CDM- nothing to do with her being rich. I was talking about her lack of personality. Very dour.

  • CDM | January 30, 2012 3:30 PM

    @Henry- Yep, that's the problem. By calling yourself "aloof" (I believe you are referring to the Interview magazine story... Fincher interviewed her), you're not doing yourself any favors. I honestly don't think she even knows what aloof means because she used the word at least 3-4 times in that interview. Wah wah wah trust fund baby.

  • Henry | January 30, 2012 3:28 PM

    She claims she's very shy. But then again she calls herself aloof, so there's that.

  • PeppermintPatty | January 30, 2012 3:18 PMReply

    What an unethical, impolite, cynical behaviour! Nevertheless, this serves to prove that Lively is definitely NOT the protégée of any producer or director. I have a feeling this movie will tank anyway. Mara is too algid for the part.

  • gonad | January 30, 2012 11:04 AMReply

    After Blake Lively supported Soderbergh at one of the Haywire premieres, he probably felt obliged to keep her in the cast. "Damn, how do I tell her that Megan thinks she sucks", he likely thought one sleepless night.

  • jimmiescoffee | January 30, 2012 10:46 AMReply

    in fincher we trust, says mara

  • Brad | January 30, 2012 10:44 AMReply

    Also I love how Blake Lively's hiring can cause a movie to lose financial backing, yet Channing Tatum keeps getting work. Blake Lively may not have a lot of talent, but neither does that personality vaccum Channing Tatum.

  • saslie | January 30, 2012 1:46 PM

    I'm no Tatum fan, but he isn't the lead in this, therefor his casting doesn't influence much in general. I understand the worrying that surrounded Lively's potential casting as she was to be the lead and carry the film.

    And going by the what we know of the plot he will *SPOILER ALERT* get murdered by the lead quite early on.

  • jingmei | January 30, 2012 10:43 AMReply

    Kinda make sense in this way, totally.

  • Alec | January 30, 2012 10:42 AMReply

    Megan Ellison/Annapurna were really terrible in the way this all went down..no way would they be back in the picture...if it was all about the casting of Blake Lively...they could have just dumped her a week ago for rooney and stayed with Annapurna..instead of trying to make the deal work elsewhere with Blake still in place...Her agents really blew this one...

  • Brad | January 30, 2012 10:22 AMReply

    Will this decision bring Annapurna Pictures back into the fold.

  • A Horse Without a Name | January 30, 2012 9:15 PM

    I hope not. I hope this whole episode ruins Megan Ellison permanently in Hollywood.

  • Tim | January 30, 2012 10:15 AMReply

    Thank god they hired an actual actress to replace PR fabrication.

  • reality | January 30, 2012 11:19 AM

    I totally AGREE!!! Blake def cannot Act, overrated and plain Jane, she is one annoying person

  • Ina | January 30, 2012 10:35 AM

    Ha, word to this. Why do people even hire Blake?

  • padre | January 30, 2012 9:53 AMReply

    The popcorn is ready. TEAM MEGAN ALL THE WAY!

  • Something McG would do | January 30, 2012 9:12 PM

    Uh, really? You support financiers telling directors who they can or can't hire? How big of a pussy does Soderbergh look like now? When did he turn into such a hack? This is a bullshit McG move, not something someone featured in REBELS ON THE BACKLOT would do. If Megan Ellison would have done this to PTA and refused to finance his film because she didn't think Hoffman or Phoenix were "bankable" you'd be okay with that too? I think Mara is the better actress, but there was nothing cool about what Megan Ellison did here AT ALL.

  • reality | January 30, 2012 11:21 AM

    hahahahahah i agree, surprised lively is even considered, when kissing butt doesnt work for her, she starts dating A listers and when then that doesnt work, she jumps to a married man and breaks their home, she's so garbage

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