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Steven Soderbergh's 'Side Effects': A 'Hitchcock mindf--' says writer Scott Z. Burns

In the noir-ish trailer for Side Effects – the medical thriller from director Steven Soderbergh starring Channing Tatum, Rooney Mara, and Jude Law — a young woman (Mara) is suspected of a murder that has frightening implications for the makers of her mood-altering prescription medication. Or at least, that’s what it looks like. “There’s a lot more to it than that,” says screenwriter Scott Z. Burns, who previously teamed up with Soderbergh on Contagion and The Informant. “If you believe that’s what the trailer says, I’m not going to disabuse you of that. But I think there’s two or three more layers on top of that.” According to Burns, those layers include hints of Roman Polanski, Vladimir Nabokov, and Alfred Hitchcock. In other words, get ready to be more than a little disturbed.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where did the idea for Side Effects come from?
Antidepressants are some of the leading-selling drugs in the country. When you start looking around the world at your friends, your family members who struggle with depression, who take these drugs — and the fact that the medical community doesn’t even know how these drugs work, it becomes an area that I think is ripe for some pretty interesting stories.

What was your first step in dramatizing that?
I’m not going to give you a lot of plot…  There’s a certain kind of complexity to human behavior, and when you layer in the fact that now we have the camouflage of drugs that can change your mood state, that was where we started. We wanted to make a movie that was sort of in the tradition of a Hitchcock mindf—.

Were any other movies or filmmakers on your mind while you were writing this?
The Roman Polanski movie from the 1960s, Repulsion. The operating principle in that it’s really hard to know what goes on inside another person. So for me, there was a bit of Repulsion, there’s a bit of Lolita going on.

In what way?
This was in some ways a kindred spirit and sequel to what Nabokov may have been doing in Lolita. Obviously Rooney isn’t that young; she’s not a teenager in this movie. But I think that when girls get sexualized as teenagers and then they get older, there’s a whole set of behaviors that they learn that allow them to manipulate the world around them. And they’re given those tools largely by men who want to be manipulated.

Side Effects arrives in theaters Feb. 8.

Read more:
‘Side Effects’ trailer: Steven Soderbergh takes on love and other drugs
Steven Soderbergh Gets Busy: Why this movie might be his last
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'The Vow' premiere: The cast's favorite tearjerkers... including one George Lucas movie

In The Vow, Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams play a newlywed couple whose happily ever after is interrupted by a car accident. She wakes up with severe memory loss that causes her to forget who he is, forcing him to win her heart all over the again. Sounds like a Valentine’s date tearjerker if there ever was one.

At the film’s Hollywood premiere last night, the cast discussed the films that reliably made them misty, no matter how many times they’ve seen them. There were a few surprises mixed in with the popular tearjerkers. For example, former stripper and G.I. Joe star Channing Tatum has a soft spot for a Johnny Depp/Kate Winslet melodrama. “I cry at Finding Neverland a lot,” he said. “I don’t know [why]. When they take her and then there’s the really magical part in the movie for some reason, I am just like, ‘Eh, waaa.'”

Others were more conventional with their selections. “I always cry at Titanic,” said Jessica McNamee. “No brainer. I’m a sucker for Romeo + Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio. And also The Notebook. For me, it’s the Alzheimer’s part. It’s awfully sad.”

And then there’s Dillon Casey, who tears up at that most famous cinematic father-son moment. No, it’s not Field of Dreams. “When Vader says, ‘Luke, I’m your father,’ in The Empire Strikes Back, how could you not cry? It’s such an epic scene. Also it is such a part of my childhood and it brings back so many memories when I see it.”

Click through for red-carpet photos and more favorite tearjerkers:

(Reporting by Carrie Bell)

NEXT: Rachel McAdams

SXSW: '21 Jump Street' to premiere at Austin festival, full line-up announced

Crime thrillers, gay-straight families, international journeys, genre-bending horror flicks, and foul-mouthed banter between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are some of the highlights of the 2012 SXSW Film Festival, which announced its full line-up today for the eight-day event, running from March 9 – 17 in Austin, Texas. 21 Jump Street will have its world premiere at the festival as the Centerpiece film, and the music doc Big Easy Express — which chronicles a train ride with Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show — will close the festival on March 17.

“This year we have this sense that there’s a lot of bold, risk-taking films,” festival producer Janet Pierson tells EW. “There’s a lot of in-your-face, edgy stuff.” Pierson says this year she and her staff waded through 5,243 submissions looking for films that focus on “taking chances, finding things that are culturally relevant, looking for stuff that’s not easy or too safe or too” — she pauses for a moment — “pleasant.” She laughs. “Although we have some pleasant, easy, audience-pleasing films in the line up. But we look for the unpredictable. When you actually see the films, it’s not like everything has been reinvented. A lot of these films are films you’ve seen: People in the woods, a relationship film, people in a house, starlets finding their way, having a baby. But we’re still looking for films that tell their stories in a fresh way.”

The festival previously announced that The Cabin in the Woods — from producer Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard — will launch the festival. Also making their world premieres: The first three episodes of the HBO series Girls, from Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture) and exec producer Judd Apatow (the first time SXSW has showcase a television show); The Babymakers, a comedy about a man (Paul Schneider) who, unable to get his wife pregnant, attempts to rob a sperm bank holding his previously donated sperm; In Our Nature, starring Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights) and John Slattery (Mad Men) as a son and father who serendipitously end up at a vacation house with their girlfriends (Jena Malone and Gabrielle Union); and Small Apartments, from director Jonas Åkerlund (of Lady Gaga and Madonna music video fame), which sports the most eclectic cast in many a moon (Matt Lucas, Billy Crystal, James Caan, Johnny Knoxville, Juno Temple).

Also screening at the fest: Will Ferrell’s Spanish-language comedy Casa de mi Padre and Richard Linklater’s true-crime dark comedy Bernie, starring Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, and Shirley MacLaine.

Click through to the next page for highlights from the line-up, and head over to the official SXSW Film Festival website for the full list of movies.

NEXT PAGE: 21 Jump Street, The Cabin in the Woods, and docs about Bob Marley, Mumford & Sons, and Deepak Chopra make the Headliners line-up

The men of 'Haywire' talk facing off against 'intimidating' Gina Carano -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

It takes a certain kind of guy to go up against Gina Carano. A very brave guy who is willing to accept the fact that he’ll more than likely have his ass handed to him by her, to be exact. In Steven Soderbergh’s tense new action thriller Haywire, in theaters today, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, and Michael Fassbender play just three of the gentleman who dare to square off against the mixed martial artist.

While Tatum, who finds himself on the wrong end of a fight against Carano’s betrayed black-ops soldier Mallory Kane within the first five minutes of the movie, called it “cool… but a little intimidating” to go head-to-head and fist-to-fist with “the pioneer of female mixed martial arts,” it seems Carano herself got well, a kick out of it. “I think, by far, my favorite days were the fight days. We were just tumbling over couches, smashing each other into everything possible,” the new action heroine explained in this exclusive behind-the-scenes featurette.

Watch Channing Tatum get his ass kicked in the first five minutes of 'Haywire' -- VIDEO


As much as director Steven Soderbergh loves working with great actors, it is fair to say he didn’t book Gina Carano for his new action-thriller Haywire because of her ability to deliver lines of iambic pentameter. No, he cast the martial artist because of her ability to kick butt.

It is a skill Carano, who plays a betrayed black-ops super soldier, fully demonstrates on the person of Channing Tatum in the first five minutes of Haywire, a sequence which has just been put up on Hulu and which you can see below.

The scene also offers the first extended look at the fertile new partnership between Soderbergh and Tatum — one that will be on further, uh, display in the forthcoming male stripper movie, Magic Mike.

Take a look. READ FULL STORY

'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' trailer: Cobra takes over the White House

“The world ain’t saving itself,” says The Rock in the new trailer for G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

If anyone can save the world, it’s The Rock, who himself seems to have accepted the mission of saving middling movie franchises. (In addition to adding another gear to The Fast and the Furious and starring in Retaliation, he’s set to take over Journey to the Center of the Earth.) Here, he still has plenty of help from holdover Channing Tatum, almost-Wonder Woman Adrianne Palicki, and a new squad of sexy and/or sweaty martial-arts acrobats. He’ll need all the help he can get, as Cobra has infested the White House and terminated the elite fighting force, Ghost Protocol style. So it’s good to see Rock and Co. can count on a real American hero. Yippie kay-yay! Take a peek. READ FULL STORY

Ladies, start your engines: 'Magic Mike' gets June 2012 release date

Warner Bros. just made the holiday card list of many a lady. EW has confirmed that the company has set a June 29, 2012, release date for Steven Soderbergh’s intimate art project Magic Mike. And by “intimate art project,” of course I mean male stripper comedy, starring Channing Tatum (pictured here from Dear John), Matthew McConaughey, True Blood‘s Joe Manganiello, Alex Pettyfer, and White Collar‘s Matt Bomer (who’s already discussed his complex wardrobe fitting). Huzzah!

With only eight months until the beefcake parade, how shall we prepare? For starters, I’d suggest taking advantage of winter sales on personal fans. Come next June, it might just come in handy.

Read more:
Totally necessary ‘Magic Mike’ update: Matt Bomer talks first thong, Joe Manganiello talks routines
Joe Manganiello near deal to join stripper movie — EXCLUSIVE
Matthew McConaughey signs up for Channing Tatum stripper movie ‘Magic Mike’

Matthew McConaughey signs up for Channing Tatum stripper movie 'Magic Mike'

Matthew McConaughey, seen here in the only fully clothed photo we could find, has joined director Steven Soderbergh’s male-stripper film Magic Mike, the actor’s rep confirmed to EW. (Variety first reported the news.) The drama stars Channing Tatum as the title character, a veteran stripper who mentors a younger dancer (I Am Number Four‘s Alex Pettyfer) in the art of hustling. McConaughey will play a former stripper who now owns the club, called Xquisite, where Tatum’s character works.

The movie has been a passion project for Tatum, who actually performed as an exotic dancer named “Chan Crawford” when he was 18 years old. “This was a wild and pivotal time in my life,” said Tatum in a previous statement, “and I couldn’t be more thrilled to go down the rabbit hole with Steven.” Magic Mike will start shooting on Sept. 14 with plans for a 2012 release.

Read more:
Alex Pettyfer to star in Channing Tatum stripper movie ‘Magic Mike’
Steven Soderbergh signs on for Channing Tatum male-stripper movie ‘Magic Mike’
Matthew McConaughey, Shirtless: A History

Comic-Con 2011: 'Haywire' teaser poster lets the butt-kicking begin

Relativity Media has released an official Comic-Con teaser poster for Steven Soderbergh’s action-thriller Haywire, which stars mixed martial arts superstar Gina Carano (who you may remember as Crush from NBC’s 2008 American Gladiators reboot or the winner of EW’s filmed Office Gladiators competition). She performs her own stunts in the film, which has an impressive supporting male cast that includes Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Bill Paxton, and Michael Angarano. See the bold poster below. Update: A trailer has also been released. Watch it below as well. READ FULL STORY

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