Channing Tatum Side Effects

Channing Tatum Side Effects

Side Effects

Cast: Channing Tatum, Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Rated: MA

Synopsis: 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.

Emily (Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara) and Martin Taylor (Channing Tatum) are a young, beautiful, wealthy couple living the good life, with a mansion, a sailboat and every luxury money can buy-until Martin is sent to prison for insider trading. For four years, Emily waits for him in a tiny apartment in upper Manhattan, but his release is just as devastating as his incarceration and Emily sinks into a deep depression.

After a failed suicide attempt, psychiatrist Jonathan Banks (Academy Award nominee Jude Law) is called in to consult on Emily's case. Desperate not to be hospitalized, Emily agrees to a regimen of therapy and antidepressants, a decision that will change the lives of everyone involved. When Emily's symptoms don't improve, Banks prescribes a new medication that quiets her demons. But the side effects of the drug have chilling consequences: marriages are ruined, Banks' practice is decimated and someone is dead-but who is responsible? Devastated by this professional setback, Banks becomes obsessed with finding an answer. But the truth he uncovers threatens to destroy whatever is left of his career and his private life.

Side Effects
Release Date
: February 28th, 2013

About the Production

Over a decade ago screenwriter Scott Z. Burns spent several weeks doing research at New York's famed Bellevue Hospital psychiatric facility. Scott Burns, who was then writing for the acclaimed television medical drama Wonderland, spoke with the psychiatrists on staff and watched them at work with mentally ill patients, including many who had a criminal past.

"It was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life," says Scott Burns. "There were people there who were truly terrifying criminals. There were also people who were so ill they were unable to understand the rules of society and couldn't possibly be expected to play by them."

The experience planted a seed in Scott Burns' imagination. "I wanted to write a noir-style thriller that took the audience in and spun it around, like Double Indemnity or Body Heat, set in the world of psychopharmacology," says Scott Burns. "I was inspired by films that involve crafty, clever scams, set against the society the audience is really living in. People seem to have stopped making those, but I have always loved the genre."

Scott Burns began to develop the script that would eventually become Side Effects with the help of Dr. Sasha Bardey, who was at the time Deputy Director of Forensic Psychiatry for Bellevue Hospital. "Sasha Bardey and I met working on Wonderland,'" says Scott Burns. "His input was essential because this movie needed to be firmly rooted in reality."

Sasha Bardey too had always been intrigued by the idea of a thriller involving psychiatry. "Once we came up with the backbone of this story, Scott Burns did the writing, and I provided the context."

The combination of Scott Burns' prodigious storytelling skills and Sasha Bardey's expertise resulted in an eye-opening thriller. "It looks at the idea of where reality ends and mental illness begins," says Sasha Bardey. "You don't know if things are what they appear to be. In that sense, it's got a Hitchcockian feel to it. And the ending is fantastic, a great lesson and a lot of fun."

As he constructed his narrative, Scott Burns also conducted extensive research on the growing use of anti-depressants in this country with the help of Dr. Bardey, who ultimately served as on-set adviser and co-producer.

Scott Burns found evidence in the news stories of the day that the same medications used to treat depression, anxiety and other psychological ailments were also creating inexplicable behaviour in a small but significant number of patients. Commonly prescribed drugs were being blamed for crimes ranging from vehicular homicide to physical assault. A man in California was acquitted of charges in a non-injury vehicular accident while under the influence of a popular sleep remedy.

One widely prescribed antidepressant was even implicated in a shocking kidnapping and rape. Just as fascinating to Scott Burns were stories he uncovered about the misbehaviour of respected doctors. "There was a story in the news about a psychiatrist who tried to hire one of his patients, a convicted criminal, to kill his mistress," says Scott Burns. "When the patient went to the police, they didn't believe him because he's obviously a crazy person. Our story is completely different than that one, but it's full of plot twists and turns that have you constantly questioning what actually happened and who is telling the truth."

Producer Gregory Jacobs, who also worked with Steven Soderbergh and Scott Burns on The Informant! and Contagion, notes that Side Effects is perhaps the first thriller set in this milieu. "I hadn't seen anybody do something about the drug industry or the prevalence of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication in our society," he says. "At the same time, it's just such an entertaining thriller."

As his script continued to evolve, Scott Burns turned to a pair of trusted collaborators: Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. "Lorenzo di Bonaventura hired me to write The Informant! for Warner Bros. at a time when I wasn't qualified to lead a tour at Warner Bros.," says Scott Burns. "But he trusted me and believed in me. He had just started his production company, so I called him first. He was there when the movie had no home. He was open to casting ideas. This is a man who has made some giant movies, but he just loves filmmaking and he wants to make a lot of different kinds of movies."

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura threw his full support behind the project. "I loved the idea of making an authentic thriller," he says. "Hollywood has sort of abandoned the genre, so this is somewhat different in the marketplace. We developed it together. Scott Burns wrote I don't know how many drafts, but he always stayed true to his original vision. It was a long road, but a fun one."

Over the period he was writing Side Effects, Scott Burns worked with Steven Soderbergh on The Informant! and Contagion, as well as PU-239, which Scott Burns wrote and directed, and Steven Soderbergh executive produced. He shared the script with Steven Soderbergh as it developed and the director closely followed his progress.

"Scott Burns is very adept at identifying interesting issues and wrapping them in a commercial skin," Steven Soderbergh says. "I like movies that try to do more than one thing at a time. Like Contagion, Side Effects can be described as a thriller, but both have an undercurrent of reality that reflects the contemporary world. If you can do that gracefully, the audience always appreciates it."

Steven Soderbergh says Scott Burns is also very good at what he calls the "mathematics of a story". "How many elements need to be in play? How you can play off the audience's expectations? How do you navigate your way around clichés? He's very good at the architecture, as well as creating intriguing characters and writing great dialogue."

Scott Burns had always planned to direct Side Effects himself, but when Steven Soderbergh asked if he could direct, it didn't take the screenwriter long to agree. "Steven Soderbergh had a window and Side Effects was the film he was most interested in making," Scott Burns recalls. "We had a very similar take on the material. It was hard to make an argument for me doing it, other than my ego, which is not a great place from which to make artistic decisions. I thought, if there were two minutes left in the game and either I could play quarterback or Drew Brees could play quarterback, what would be better for the team?"

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura also gave a thumbs up to the change in plans. "Steven Soderbergh brings a singular perspective to whatever he does," the producer says. "He makes each movie feel unique, with its own set of strengths. And his sets are great to work on. They're really professionally run and surprisingly quiet, which gives actors the room to do what they do."

Scott Burns and Steven Soderbergh had already proven themselves a winning team on The Informant! and Contagion, adds the producer. "They are a good match. Steven Soderbergh's films always include some kind of social commentary. This story is built on the underlying notion that we don't really know what these medications are doing to us, but our society has come to rely on them. We leave it to the viewer to decide if it's good or bad in the end."

That's just one of the questions audiences are confronted with in Side Effects, a tightly plotted thriller rife with moral ambiguity and human frailty. "I believe that what draws you into a thriller is humanity," says Scott Burns. "You get twisted around as much by your own heart and your own perception as by the plot mechanics. It's great to pull the rug out from people and I think that's a really fun thing that can happen in a movie theatre. But what Steven Soderbergh and I wanted, beyond that, was for audiences to have the rug pulled out from under them in terms of their own experiences."

The movie is intended to pack a one-two punch that will first entertain and then spark a discussion. "We hope that the audience will come out of the theatre saying, I didn't see that coming," says Lorenzo di Bonaventura. "And then we hope they'll realise how deeply the issue of pharmaceuticals has permeated our society."

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 Steven Soderbergh first became aware of Rooney Mara when he saw an early cut of her previous film, The Social Network, directed by David Fincher.

"When David Fincher was casting The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, he asked what I thought of Rooney Mara for the lead role," says Steven 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 Fincher 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."

Rooney 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 realise 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, Scott Burns explains. "When she meets a really wealthy Wall Street guy, she makes a decision to jump on that train," says Scott 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 Rooney 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 Rooney 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 Steven Soderbergh to be a bracing change. "It was a very different experience," says Rooney 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 Soderbergh controls every aspect of his movies. He has a complete vision for the film in his mind when he comes to the set."

Rooney Mara and Steven Soderbergh mapped out her character's difficult and sometimes contradictory arc with great deliberation. "I think Rooney Mara was excited about playing two sides of a coin," says the director. She has enough of a sense of humour 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 Mara 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, Scott Banks suspects Emily's accident is a cry for help, but he agrees to release her from the hospital if she accepts medication and counselling after the accident.

"Jude Law is really attractive and charming and, well, he's Jude Law," says Scott 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, Scott 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."

Steven Soderbergh had just finished working with the two-time Oscar® nominee on Contagion before approaching him about the role of Dr. Banks. "Jude Law 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 Scott Banks has to deal with, he's also from a different culture, which will come back to haunt him later."

"Jude Law'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."

Jude 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 Jude Law. "We get to be incredibly meek and mild and wounded, as well as fierce, rough and powerful. Rooney Mara 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."

Jude 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 overemphasise 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 Steven Soderbergh film. "Channing Tatum was Steven Soderbergh's idea and it was great one," says Scott Burns. "I initially pictured Martin as older than Emily, but Steven Soderbergh felt that would make it more a Lolita type of story. Channing Tatum is just right as a young, materialistic guy on the make. Martin Taylor 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 Channing Tatum, which is one of the reasons Steven 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 Tatum is very appealing and very much a movie star, which works really well for the character."

"Channing Tatum 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."

Channing 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 Soderbergh 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 Taylor is a guy who wanted it all and took it," Channing 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 Steven Soderbergh again. "Steven Soderbergh is one of the smartest, most creative, most original people I've ever met in my life," says Channing 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 Soderbergh 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 Steven 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 Burn'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 Scott Banks," says Lorenzo 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 Scott Banks."

According to Catherine Zeta-Jones, Side Effects is the kind of material that showcases Steven 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 Channing Tatum, Catherine Zeta-Jones says she would work with Steven 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 Soderbergh behind the lens."

According to Gregory Jacobs, Steven 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 Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones read up on psychopharmacology and worked closely with Dr. Bardey. "We talked a lot about the legal issues around mental illness," says Catherine 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 Law'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 Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones 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 Steven 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 Soderbergh 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 Steven 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 Steven Soderbergh productions, to help him find the unique and evocative locations used in Side Effects. "With Steven Soderbergh, I always hit the ground running," says Howard 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," Howard Cummings says. "It's the uppermost part of Manhattan. Steven Soderbergh fell in love with the neighbourhood. 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 Howard 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 Soderbergh would like it. A confined space energises him. He'll pick angles that he wouldn't normally pick because of the confines."

To bring home everything Emily has lost, Steven Soderbergh includes a flashback of her and Martin's recent past. "Steven Soderbergh wanted to see them rich and happy," says Howard 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."

Steven Soderbergh set the sequence apart from the rest of the film by using a handheld camera to shoot and infusing it with fresh bright colours 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 colours. 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 Howard 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 Howard 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 Catherine 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 Howard Cummings. "But Steven Soderbergh 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 Steven 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 Scott Burn. "We were able to make this on a relatively small budget, because he is so adept at so many things."

Every evening, Steven 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 Lorenzo 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."

Howard Cummings and Steven 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 colour."

Susan 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 Susan 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 Mara 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 Law 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 colours of his shirts, or a vest that give him a soothing quality."

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum are attired in equally upscale threads. "Catherine Zeta-Jones's character is part of well-heeled East Coast enclave, as well as an authority on various medical trends, and she dresses accordingly," says Susan Lyall. "Channing Tatum'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."

Lorenzo 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 Soderbergh," 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."

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