Didn't director Steven Soderbergh say he was retiring? In March he announced he was done with it all, but then in September he backtracked and said something about a sabbatical. I'm not exactly sure when that would take place. Soderbergh's one of the most prolific directors in Hollywood. Contagion came out in September, and Haywire in January--both to critical success. He has yet another film completed, Magic Mike, and now he's cast Rooney Mara in his next project, Side Effects.
Mara will play the wife of a man who is about to be released from prison. She's taking large amounts of depression and anxiety pills to cope with her feelings surrounding his release. There's also going to be a bit of a love triangle between Mara's character, her husband, and her doctor. Mara actually replaces Blake Lively, who IMDB suggests was a second choice to begin with. I'm curious how this role will tweak Mara's star image. After playing a regular college girl in The Social Network, Mara's looks went to extremes for her role as the Swedish punk hacker in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The look has been maintained for her publicity tours. She's currently on the cover of Vanity Fair's Young Hollywood with a vampy look--a severe bob, dark lipstick, and piercing expression. I'm not sure what look she'll go for with Side Effects, but it probably will be more natural. That's a good thing. I won't miss seeing her without those weird blunt-cut, jet-black bangs.
Channing Tatum, Jude Law, and Catherine Zeta-Jones round out the cast. That means that Tatum must be the prisoner, and Law the doctor. I really can't imagine it any other way. Soderbergh's frequent collaborator, Scott Z. Burns, wrote the screenplay and will produce. Knowing Soderbergh's lightning-fast schedule, the drama will shoot this year and release the next. Maybe all that talk of retiring fired Soderbergh up, because after the uneven The Informant! he's had a couple of winners, Contagion and Haywire, at least in my book.
As for Mara, IMDB's currently ranking her #1 on its StarMeter. She's just been nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress. She may be one of my favorite up-and-comers. Her lead in Side Effeccts will certainly be the first of many roles she'll be cast in as she cashes in on her success.