DOCTORS AND PATIENTS Side Effects is one of actress Rooney Mara’s first roles since her Oscar®-nominated turn in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo catapulted her onto the Hollywood A-list. But Soderbergh first became aware of Mara when he saw an early cut of her previous film, The Social Network, directed by David Fincher. “When David was casting The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, he asked what I thought of Rooney for the lead role,” says Soderbergh. “I was very supportive, in part because I felt that movie would be better served by someone not particularly well known. We became friendly because she heard that I had encouraged David to cast her. When this role became available, I got ahold of her.” “She’s one of the great new actresses, and her range is just incredible,” Gregory Jacobs says. “We felt she was incredibly gifted and would be perfect for the part.” Mara says she found both the story of Side Effects and the role of Emily riveting. “I had to read it more than once. It’s constructed so you often think things are one way, and realize later they’re something else. People don’t really make thrillers like this anymore. It definitely feels sort of like a throwback to classic movies. “Plus Emily is such a complex and interesting character,” the actress continues. “I don’t read many parts written for women like this. Usually you’re playing a girlfriend or a wife, sort of second fiddle to a guy. When a part comes along that has this much meat to it, it’s really exciting.” Emily left the Midwest for New York City hoping to study graphic design, but ended up bartending, Burns explains. “When she meets a really wealthy Wall Street guy, she makes a decision to jump on that train,” says Burns. “She does love Martin, but when you come from a place of that much insecurity and fear, love is experienced in a lot of different ways. Martin offers her security and safety. She is as seduced by that as he is by her beauty and mystery.” That air of mystery seems to come naturally to Mara, according to the writer. “There’s something about her that makes you curious. From the first time we met with her, I wanted to know more. The way she plays Emily always has you leaning forward and listening. That can be as powerful as liking someone. You want to know what’s going on inside of them. Inscrutability can be very sexy and very dangerous.” When Martin was sent to prison for insider trading, the rug was pulled out from under Emily, according to the actress. “They lived in a gorgeous house on the water with a boat. It was a lavish lifestyle. He swept her off her feet and took care of her. Now she is in small one-bedroom apartment, which is a huge step down from the way she lived. She has to go to work every day. She’s paying her own bills. She’s had to take care of herself.” Having her husband back upends everything all over again. Emily makes a half-hearted suicide attempt and ends up under the care of a sympathetic psychiatrist. “She struggles with anxiety and depression,” says Mara. “I think it’s too much change for her.” The actress, who is rapidly finding her footing in Hollywood, found the experience of working with Soderbergh to be a bracing change. “It was a very different experience,” says Mara. “It was such a small crew, with very little set-up time, very few takes. The days are much shorter than what I am used to. Steven controls every aspect of his movies. He has a complete vision for the film in his mind when he comes to the set.” Mara and Soderbergh mapped out her character’s difficult and sometimes contradictory arc with great deliberation. “I think Rooney was excited about playing two sides of a coin,” says the director. She has enough of a sense of humor to appreciate the darkly comedic aspects of what she was being asked to do. It’s a tricky balance to maintain and make it work as a whole, especially since, as is always the case, we were shooting out of sequence. Rooney did a great job of tracking where her character needed to be at every given point.” In the emergency room, after she deliberately drives her car into a wall, Emily is assigned to Dr. Jonathan Banks, played by Jude Law. An up-and-coming doctor in a successful practice, Banks suspects Emily’s accident is a cry for help, but he agrees to release her from the hospital if she accepts medication and counseling after the accident. “Jude is really attractive and charming and, well, he’s Jude Law,” says Burns. “He looks like a movie star, but he’s very convincing as a scientist who is a little awkward personally. As time goes on, Banks becomes completely unhinged by this patient. His whole life is going off a cliff and there’s nothing he can do. He goes to a very dark place and he is punished for it.” Soderbergh had just finished working with the two-time Oscar® nominee on Contagion before approaching him about the role of Dr. Banks. “Jude is really good at playing an obsessive,” says the director. “He has a very watchable quality when he’s on a quest for something. I thought it would be an added element if the character weren’t an American, so I asked him not to change his accent. In addition to everything else Banks has to deal with, he’s also from a different culture, which will come back to haunt him later.” “Jude’s really great at playing that guy under pressure,” adds Jacobs. “He’s got great leading man charisma, and it seemed this would be a perfect part for him.” Law was immediately intrigued by the part. “Dr. Banks is at a point in his life where it seems like everything is falling into place,” says the actor. “He’s moved into a wonderful new apartment with his family. His stepson’s gotten into a good private school. His practice is doing well enough that he is sought after by pharmaceutical companies to run studies for them on new drugs. He certainly doesn’t see what’s coming.” The script gave each of the actors a chance to pull out all the stops, says Law. “We get to be incredibly meek and mild and wounded, as well as fierce, rough and powerful. Rooney is formidable as Emily. She has an unreadable sort of depth of character that is not often found in an actress her age. And she also has an ability to turn on a fire, which is just perfect for this role.” Law describes the film as a sophisticated adult thriller set in the world of psychiatry and prescription drugs. But, he adds, “What’s very clever about the script is that it doesn’t overemphasize the issue of drugs. It’s really about someone who has everything to lose and who loses everything. There’s a great whodunit element as well. The twists are going to keep people guessing, and maybe even want to come back and see it again.” Channing Tatum, who plays Martin Taylor, makes his third appearance in a Soderbergh film. “Channing was Steven’s idea and it was great one,” says Burns. “I initially pictured Martin as older than Emily, but Steven felt that would make it more a Lolita type of story. Channing is just right as a young, materialistic guy on the make. Martin is a good-looking frat boy who went Wall Street to make the American dream come true—even if he had to steal it.” The role is a departure for Tatum, which is one of the reasons Soderbergh selected him. “I said, let’s put him in a suit for a change. I wanted him to speak differently and he worked very hard with a dialect coach to create a much more clipped, enunciated manner of speaking. If you compare it to Magic Mike, the last movie we did together, he sounds really different. Channing is very appealing and very much a movie star, which works really well for the character.” “Chan was really the first person we thought of for the role,” says producer Gregory Jacobs. “We felt it would be great to see him play a part that we hadn’t seen him play before.” Tatum was not expecting to be tapped for the part of a white-collar criminal. “I’m from the South and I definitely didn’t go to college,” he says. “But Steven felt I would lend the story a different perspective, as opposed to casting somebody we’ve seen play similar parts a bunch of times. “Martin is a guy who wanted it all and took it,” Tatum observes. “He convinced himself that it wasn’t cheating. With Emily, he fell in love with the idea of an innocent, fragile flower he could put on a pedestal in a castle. She’s another trophy he won.” Whatever the part, the actor says he would have signed on just to work with Soderbergh again. “Steven is one of the smartest, most creative, most original people I’ve ever met in my life,” says Tatum. “We get along personally and artistically to the point where if he called me up and said, ‘I want you to play Waiter No. 2,’ I’d do it. “His work is different from everyone else’s,” the actor adds. “Steven is a student of life and people’s contradictory qualities. Maybe because he’s so full of contradictions himself, he likes to shine light on other people’s quirks.” Oscar®-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones is also working with Soderbergh for the third time on this film, playing the icy and sophisticated Dr. Victoria Siebert. “I loved the idea of her in this kind of movie,” says the director. “If I’m going to make a psychological thriller set in New York City, she is one of the people who has to be in it. She was actually Scott’s suggestion, and I immediately thought, why didn’t I think of that?” A psychiatrist who first treated Emily for depression shortly after her husband went to jail, Dr. Siebert provides a different perspective on what’s happening with the patient. “There’s a dramatic conflict between her and Banks,” says di Bonaventura. “She seems quite straightforward, but you begin to suspect that she’s covering her own ass and making sure that if any one pays the consequences, it will be Banks.” According to Zeta-Jones, Side Effects is the kind of material that showcases Soderbergh’s talents to best advantage. “This is a beautifully written script, with great dialogue and storyline, as well as a socially relevant theme. It has so many twists and turns. I read a lot of scripts and I usually know just what’s going to happen. But with this, I didn’t. The mysterious cat and mouse game between my character and Jude Law’s character is quite fascinating.” Like Tatum, Zeta-Jones says she would work with Soderbergh anytime, anywhere. “One thing he does extremely well is casting,” says the actress. “He uses actors that work well with his process of filmmaking. It’s very hands-on: no rehearsals, just blocking and we go straight in, but I’m always secure with Steven behind the lens.” According to Gregory Jacobs, Soderbergh regularly attracts exceptional talent for several reasons: “Number one, his body of work speaks for itself. And number two, he’s a true collaborator. He’s really interested in what the actors can bring to the movie.” To research their roles, both Law and Zeta-Jones read up on psychopharmacology and worked closely with Dr. Bardey. “We talked a lot about the legal issues around mental illness,” says Zeta-Jones. “Psychiatrists are asked to judge exactly what is insane and what isn’t. And Sasha is really good at pronouncing and explaining these long prescription drug names we had to remember!” Bardey also advised the actors on body language, as well as the unique relationship between doctor and patient. “It’s the balance between sympathy and empathy,” Bardey explains. “Jude’s character’s need to help his patient has unintended consequences. In his zeal to help her, boundaries are crossed. I spent a lot of time with Jude and Catherine discussing the inner conflict they’d be struggling with in that situation. They were incredibly thoughtful and committed to understanding the process.” BEHIND THE SCENES OF SIDE EFFECTS Side Effects was shot primarily on location in and around New York City, which Soderbergh says can be a bit intimidating. “A lot of great movies have been shot in New York,” the director explains. “It is very daunting to consider what has come before, whether it’s Sidney Lumet or Martin Scorsese or Alan Pakula. There are so many iconic New York movies. I decided that the important thing was to make the locations organic to this movie. There are no montages. I’m not showing you some aspect of New York you’ve never seen before, just because I can. The narrative is the priority. That doesn’t mean we didn’t look for locations that were interesting and different, but I don’t go anywhere one of the characters hasn’t been.” Fortunately, the characters go to some impressive New York landmarks including the legendary restaurant Le Cirque, the Waldorf-Astoria and Intercontinental Hotels, the conservatory pond in Central Park, the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home on the Upper East Side and the exclusive residential enclave of Centre Island. But the film also travels to grittier locales, including the Taconic Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, New York, the Queens House of Detention, Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan and the Manhattan Psychiatric Center on Wards Island in New York City’s East River, which functions as both a prison and a hospital for the mentally ill accused of crimes. “On all his movies, Steven has tried to be as realistic as possible,” says producer Gregory Jacobs. “He likes to shoot in the real places whenever he can.” “I always prefer to shoot in practical locations if I can, especially in New York,” agrees Soderbergh. “It provides a level of realism we can’t match on a soundstage.” The director depended on production designer Howard Cummings, a five-time veteran of Soderbergh productions, to help him find the unique and evocative locations used in Side Effects. “With Steven, I always hit the ground running,” says Cummings. “That’s the pace he works at. He likes it when the location helps tell the story. We make unusual, unexpected choices, but always grounded in reality.” Much discussion was devoted to where Emily Taylor would live after her fall from grace. “We ended up on 157th Street in Morningside Heights,” Cummings says. “It’s the uppermost part of Manhattan. Steven fell in love with the neighborhood. He saw it as a no-man’s land that she was stuck in way uptown. It keyed into the idea that she’s hiding out. There’s a scandal. Her husband was in the papers and all their friends have shunned her. She is trying to reinvent herself.” To most Manhattanites, the apartment might seem spacious, but for Emily it is a huge step down in the world. “It’s not big, but it’s very New York,” says Cummings. “Her bedroom is actually a converted dining room with French doors. You have to go through the kitchen to get to the bathroom. I knew Steven would like it. A confined space energizes him. He’ll pick angles that he wouldn’t normally pick because of the confines.” To bring home everything Emily has lost, Soderbergh includes a flashback of her and Martin’s recent past. “Steven wanted to see them rich and happy,” says Cummings. “A tiny cramped apartment is the opposite of giant outdoor lawn party, which is how we show their former life. It’s on the grounds of their picture perfect Martha Stewart Connecticut mansion.” Soderbergh set the sequence apart from the rest of the film by using a handheld camera to shoot and infusing it with fresh bright colors that are missing from the rest of movie. “The brief flashbacks are sun-kissed, summery and optimistic,” he says. “It’s the only place in the movie you will see red, yellow, orange, or any vibrant colors. The rest of the time we’re in a blue-grey palette that is so typical of New York when winter is starting to turn to spring.” Also in sharp contrast to Emily’s flat is Dr. Banks’ new condo, which reflects his recent personal and professional ascension. “Everything had to be brand spanking new,” says Cummings. “The appliances have never been touched. It’s black and white and very modern with a few antiques thrown in to warm it up a bit.” At Manhattan Psychiatric Center, the filmmakers shot in an unused ward in the still operational state facility. “We used a huge dormitory, which wasn’t originally scripted, but it was suitably horrific,” says Cummings. “It is essentially a prison—a prison where people are getting medication and care, but it’s still a prison. Everything is that institutional green that has an innate depressing quality.” Security on the hospital set was tight. “To walk in the hospital, we had to go through two locked doors for security,” says Zeta-Jones. “There are some patients in this particular facility who are locked down because of the extremity of their cases. It was the real thing, which brought great authenticity to the experience.” The production was also granted rare access to a courtroom at 100 Center Street, where murder trials are actually held in New York. “Nobody gets to do that,” says Cummings. “But Steven shoots with minimal lighting and a smaller crew, so we are more nimble than most. He was able to do what would take anyone else a week all in one day. The setting gives real credence to the story.” That efficiency is one of the hallmarks of Soderbergh’s working style. As is his usual practice, he served as his own director of photography and editor on Side Effects. “As his own cinematographer, he found a visual language for this movie that is exactly the right kind of creepy,” says Burn. “We were able to make this on a relatively small budget, because he is so adept at so many things.” Every evening, Soderbergh edited the footage he shot during the day. “We saw things daily that I normally wouldn’t see till four or five weeks after we finish shooting,” says di Bonaventura. “It’s a big advantage, because he can quickly ascertain if the choices are working in the way he wants them to work. He can calibrate the performances almost instantly. He knows what the scope of the story will be and how effectively the tension is building. It’s such an efficient process.” Cummings and Soderbergh worked with costume designer Susan Lyall to build a realistic wardrobe for a working girl in Manhattan. “We thought Emily would wear a lot of black, which is very New York,” says the production designer. “She works for an ad agency, so it made total sense for her, but we also consciously decided to narrow the world for her in terms of color.” Lyall put together a realistic wardrobe for Emily, often repeating clothes as the character would have to in real life. “She has a job and a career,” says Lyall. “But she doesn’t have the grand element that she used to have. We put together a closet like a person does, with a few things left over from the past, but nothing too grand. Also, Rooney is petite in stature, so too much of anything overwhelms her quite quickly. It was very important to just keep her in clean and simple lines.” Jude Law’s character gave the costume designer more leeway to have fun. “We dressed Jude in beautiful clothes because Sasha Bardey dresses in beautiful clothes,” she says. “He is successful; he is in the press; he is an expert witness. All of these things inform the way he looks. But we didn’t want him to look too corporate so I added small touches like the colors of his shirts, or a vest that give him a soothing quality.” Zeta-Jones and Tatum are attired in equally upscale threads. “Catherine’s character is part of well-heeled East Coast enclave, as well as an authority on various medical trends, and she dresses accordingly,” says Lyall. “Channing’s character is grounded in the world of the suit. Wall Street men do dress the part, so even his most casual look is pretty dressed up.” Di Bonaventura says Side Effects was one of the easiest films he’s ever produced. “The entire team worked in such cohesion and that came directly from Steven,” he says. “He approaches every script with a great understanding of what he wants to achieve and that gives clarity to everybody about the kind of movie we’re making. We started and finished on a really strong footing.” Copyright © 2013 Happy Pill Distribution, LLC. All rights reserved.
Di Bonaventura Pictures, Endgame Entertainment's Crime, Drama, Thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh starring Jude Law "Dr. Jonathan Banks", Rooney Mara "Emily", Catherine Zeta-Jones "Dr. Victoria Siebert" & Channing Tatum "Martin". Screenwriter: Scott Z. Burns. Producers: Scott Z. Burns, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Gregory Jacobs. Co-producers: Elena de Leonardis, Sasha Bardey. Executive Producers: Douglas Hansen, James D. Stern. Editor: Suzanne Hines. Production Designer: Howard Cummings. Set Decorator: Rena DeAngelo. Costume Designer: Susan Lyall. Composer: Thomas Newman. RELEASE DATES: 3 APRIL 2013 (FRANCE) / 8 FEBRUARY 2013 (USA)
SIDE EFFECTS Di Bonaventura Pictures, Endgame Entertainment's Crime, Drama, Thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh starring Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum.
HIT AND RUN Primate Pictures, Kim and Jim Productions, Panay Films' Action, Comedy, Romance, directed by David Palmer, Dax Shepard starring Dax Shepard.
Copyright © 2011 Open Road Films.
END OF WATCH Open Road Films' Action, Thriller directed by David Ayer starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Natalie Martinez, Anna Kendrick, David Harbour.
SILENT HILL: REVELATION 3D Davis-Films, Konami, Silent Hill 2 DCP's horror – pure, dark, intense visceral, psychological and character driven horror.
HIT AND RUN Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard hit the ground running in the romantic action comedy HIT AND RUN, in theaters everywhere August 24, 2012. Dax Shepard also wrote and co-directed the film.
END OF WATCH Jake Gyllenhaal stars in the new action thriller END OF WATCH.
SILENT HILL: REVELATION 3D Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens) & her father have been on the run, always one step ahead of dangerous forces that she doesn’t fully understand.
RED DAWN Josh Peck and Chris Hemsworth star in RED DAWN.
THE HOST Saoirse Ronan plays the lead role in THE HOST, the big screen adaptation of Stephenie Meyer´s best-selling book.
SIDE EFFECTS SIDE EFFECTS is a provocative thriller about Emily and Martin (Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum), a successful New York couple whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily´s psychiatrist (Jude Law) – intended to treat anxiety – has unexpected side effects.
A HAUNTED HOUSE Marlon Wayans stars in the comedy A HAUNTED HOUSE.
FILM CLIP #1 "5 Minutes" (VO)
FILM CLIP #2 "Sleepwalking" (VO)
FILM CLIP #3 "Who Can See The Lies" (VO)
FILM CLIP #4 "Ablixa" (VO)
FILM CLIP #5 "Boat Cruise" (VO)
FILM CLIP #6 "Side Effects" (VO)
FILM CLIP #7 "50K" (VO)
FILM CLIP #8 "Responsibility" (VO)
FILM CLIP #9 "Okay, Baby" (VO)
FILM CLIP #10 "Swept Me Off My Feet" (VO)