Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Side Effects’ Loses Funding Over Casting Conflicts

Following Steven Soderbergh’s career has been a winding road full of ups and downs as of late. First he was going to make The Man From U.N.C.L.E., then there was a long period of juggling actors on that film as he tried to nail down a cast, then that movie got cancelled completely. There has been talk of retirement, talk of pushing off retirement to do more things, and generally just a lot of confusion. Things seemed to have reached a moment of stability a week ago, though, when it was announced that he was going forward with his next film, a thriller called Side Effects, and that it had funding stemming from a partnership between Annapurna Pictures and Open Road Films.

That’s all up in the air now though, and apparently it comes down to the all too familiar casting woes. Variety is now reporting that Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures has pulled out of the deal, leaving Soderbergh and Open Road to find additional funding on their own. Variety gave no reason as to why the deal fell through, but The Playlist is claiming to have sources close to the situation that say Ellison and her people don’t like the casting of Blake Lively in the lead role. She apparently is set to play a drug addict in the middle of a love triangle between her husband (Channing Tatum) and her doctor (Jude Law).

An additional wrinkle gets introduced as news of this loss of funding comes nearly concurrently with a report from Deadline Loogootee that says Catherine Zeta-Jones has signed on to play another of the depressed, drug addicted young woman’s doctors. That’s a lot of questions that are now up in the air. Will the Zeta-Jones casting really be able to happen unless they find new funding soon? Will Lively still star, now that doubts have been cast on her abilities to pull off such an important lead performance? Are The Playlist’s rumblings that actresses like Rooney Mara, Michelle Williams, Imogen Poots, and Emily Blunt are already being looked at to possibly replace her true? Nothing at this point is certain, and it will all probably remain that way until another studio steps in to lend this project some cash.

Just another day in the lively world of making a Soderbergh movie. Maybe he’ll decide to retire again.

Weaned on the genre films of the 80s. Reared by the independent movement of the 90s. Earned a BA for writing stuff in the 00s. Reviews current releases at

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