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Summit Set For 'The Bitter Pill'; Steven Soderbergh Explains Why We'll Never See His Aussie Flick 'Michael Gregg'

The Playlist By Simon Dang | The Playlist December 7, 2011 at 9:23AM

After battling it out with Paramount and then later becoming the frontrunner, it looks like Summit Entertainment are now in final negotiations to board the latest collaboration between Steven Soderbergh and Scott Z. Burns with "The Bitter Pill."
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Burns Soderbergh Summit

After battling it out with Paramount and then later becoming the frontrunner, it looks like Summit Entertainment are now in final negotiations to board the latest collaboration between Steven Soderbergh and Scott Z. Burns with "The Bitter Pill."

The project will see the two constant-collaborators reunite once again after the successes of "Contagion" and "The Informant!" for what's being described as a picture in the vein of "Jagged Edge" and "Basic Instinct" that follows the story of a depressed woman who, anxious about the impending release of her husband from prison, takes a serious amount of prescription meds to deal with it. Sounds like fairly adult material for what will be a gear change for Summit's typical "Twilight"-centric stable.

Originally intended as a directorial vehicle for Burns, the recent collapse of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." project brought Soderbergh into the picture. Lensing is set to begin this April with a $30 million budget before the helmer moves onto his finale, the Liberace biopic "Behind The Candelabra." Three Soderbergh movies next year? Sign us up.

Meanwhile, in other (somewhat older) Soderbergh news, in an interview in the September/October issue of FilmComment (print edition only), the helmer addresses the improv film he quickly shot in Australia in 2009. He was in the country to stage the play "Tot Mom" at Cate Blanchett's Sydney Theatre Company with a cast that included Essie Davis, Rhys Muldoon, Zoe Carides, Damon Herriman and Wayne Blair. Alwasy one to multitask, Soderbergh used his time to knock out a quick film with the cast that also featured cameos from the director and Blachett. Titled "The Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg," the rumor was that it was never intended for release in any platform, and Soderbergh confirms that.

"I had a great cast [for the play] -- so good that it became obvious that I didn't need three weeks to rehearse. So we blocked it in two days, and then they just had a lot of lines to learn -- they all played multiple characters," Soderbergh explained about how it came together. "And I just had this sense that I was going to start losing them if I didn't have something to keep them engaged. So I floated the idea of making a movie between our rehearsing and putting the play on."

Soderbergh doesn't quite reveal what the film is about, only to say that in the film they stage Anton Chekov's play "Three Sisters." It was made ridiculously fast, shot in a mere ten days. But if you want to see it, you'll have to be buds with one of the cast members.

"My whole thing was that it has to be unavailable. The actors each have copies of it. And I said, 'You can bring people over to your house, and you can all watch it, but I don't ever want it shown publicly.'" Finally, when asked about how good it might be, the helmer simply replied "I honestly don't know."

Meanwhile, we're hearing that "Haywire," Soderbergh's next directorial effort to hit screens, will play at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival in February. The picture opens stateside January 20.

This article is related to: Steven Soderbergh, Scott Z. Burns, The Bitter Pill, The Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg, Cate Blanchett


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