Before tonight, we knew a few things about the “psychopharmacology thriller” that Steven Soderbergh and his Contagion writer Scott Z. Burns are developing:
- The title is either The Side Effects or The Bitter Pill.
- Blake Lively, Jude Law, and Channing Tatum form the three corners of the love triangle at the center of the tense plot.
- Annapurna is financing. Open Road is distributing.
A lot has changed. First the addition: Catherine Zeta-Jones joined the cast. Now the subtraction: the latest reports omit the article, referring to the project as just Side Effects. More notably, Annapurna has pulled out of the project, which puts the involvement of the aforementioned cast in jeopardy. More after the jump:
According to the timestamps, Variety published their report about Annapurna backing out first, suggesting that the commitment of Lively, Law, and Tatum are unclear. Encouragingly, a spokesperson for Open Road confirmed, “The Open Road deal to release the picture is in place.” Phew.
Deadline was up next—seemingly unconcerned by parallel reporting—with a post that states Zeta-Jones is on board, Annapurna is financing, and the $30 million production is scheduled for April in New York. We’ll take the Zeta-Jones casting at face value and chuck the rest aside for now.
The Playlist heaps intrigue to the mix. Sources tells the site that Annapurna backed out because they didn’t like Lively in the lead, “a troubled young woman who develops a dangerous love triangle between her doctor (Law) and her newly paroled husband (Tatum).” The project did have other suitors, so Soderbergh can probably land new financing soon, and maybe even make that April start date. But based on what they’re hearing, The Playlist wonders if Lively will still be involved in Side Effects 2.0, and passes along a few possible replacements from their sources: Rooney Mara, Michelle Williams, Emily Blunt, and Imogen Poots.
We are entering into more speculative territory than I am comfortable with. And I am pretty distraught at the idea that the fate of a Steven Soderbergh film depends on who wins the fight over Blake Lively. So if you don’t mind, let’s press pause, and check back in when we know more. I sincerely hope we only have good news next time around.