Channing Tatum, Catherine Zeta-Jones Jump at Chance to Work with Steven Soderbergh on 'Side Effects'

By Rob Lowman Rob Lowman | Daily News (Los Angeles, CA), February 8, 2013 | Go to article overview

Channing Tatum, Catherine Zeta-Jones Jump at Chance to Work with Steven Soderbergh on 'Side Effects'


Rob Lowman Rob Lowman, Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)


After rattling off five films in the last couple years, there is nothing ahead on Steven Soderbergh's calendar as a movie director.

Shortly before being interviewed in September 2011 for his film "Contagion," he had announced that he was giving up filmmaking for a paintbrush.

"I'm going to be the next LeRoy Neiman," he joked, but at the time he still had in the works "Magic Mike" and "Behind the Candelabra," the HBO movie on Liberace that will air in the spring. And since then, he also made the action thriller "Haywire" and now "Side Effects." So people were thinking that he might change his mind.

If "Side Effects" is really the end, then Soderbergh is going out on a high, which may not the right term for a film dealing with the use and misuse of prescription drugs. The movie, which opens today, starts out a psychological drama, but soon becomes a taut, sometimes steamy neo-film noir.

"This was a kind of movie that used to be made a lot and they stopped doing them and I don't know why," says Soderbergh. "I was watching 'Double Indemnity' last night and ('Side Effects') is like that. It's one of those movies that just keeps turning."

"Side Effects" stars Channing Tatum, Rooney Mara, Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Tatum plays a Manhattan stockbroker convicted of insider trading who is just released from prison. His wife Emily (Mara) greets him happily at first, but soon slides into depression and starts seeing a new psychiatrist (Law). He prescribes an antidepressant. When Emily apparently suffers a severe reaction to the new medication, things start to go awry.

It's best not to reveal much more about the film, which was written by Scott Z. Burns, who wrote "The Informant!" and "Contagion" for Soderbergh. But it's the sort of multicharacter, complicated story that the Oscar-winning director of "Traffic" seems to make look easy.

"I'm a big screamer. That's how you get things done," the director jokes. But if you look at Soderbergh's films, you see the same actors returning over and over to work with him.

"The script was refreshingly intelligent, and I wanted to see it in his hands," says Tatum, whose experience as a male dancer provided the basis for "Magic Mike."

"He can call me for anything," Tatum adds. "I'd play waiter number one or two even, but I'm not going to play three."

Law, who was in "Contagion," agrees - at least about the script.

"Unfortunately, it's a rarity to be involved in something intelligent nowadays," says the actor, "and this was smart and it felt very timely."

Zeta-Jones, who starred in "Traffic" and "Ocean's Twelve" for Soderbergh, says the director was the key for taking the role.

"I love my career, but I find it really hard to leave my children and to think that I'm not going to get these beautiful, formative, delicious years back," says the Oscar-winning actress, who has a son and daughter with husband Michael Douglas.

"So this had all the elements that got me straight on a plane the moment that Steven asked me to do this." Plus, she said, Soderbergh rubbed her feet while she was pregnant while making "Traffic": "So I just knew I'd always be taken care of. …

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