Tatum, Lively, & Law — kinda sounds like a firm of attorneys, doesn’t it?

In this case though it refers to the three likely leads of Steven Soderbergh’s Man From U.N.C.L.E. replacement project The Bitter Pill… or rather, The Side Effects, as the film has taken back on the original title.

This is the film that Soderbergh’s current screenwriting collaborator Scott Z. Burns wrote years ago with intentions to direct, but handed over to SS when the director’s WB spy blockbuster moved into other hands. It revolves around a woman whose husband is nearing release from prison, and her spiraling dependance on prescription drugs in the months before he gets out.

The report of Blake Lively (as the woman), Channing Tatum (as the husband), and (as the woman’s psychiatrist) Jude Law’s casting comes from Indiewire and suggests that no one has signed a dotted line, but that these deals have been in the works for over a month and will be closed “imminently.” The other deal on the project that is near closure? How about an investment from billionaire producer and auteur angel, Megan Ellison? Taking over for a departing Summit, Ellison’s Annapurna Productions will back the project, adding yet another amazing modern filmmaker to the roster of Ellison beneficiaries (including the Coens, PTA, Jody Hillcoat, and more).

Circling back around to the casting, it’s hard not to look at those leads, raise and eyebrow, and let a “fucking boring..?” slip out from between your lips before the innate trust-Soderbergh instincts kick in. While Lively’s performance in The Town was anywhere from okay to okay (and we won’t hold Green Lantern against her), she’s mostly untested outside of her TV success and sure, I’m sure Soderbergh will develop with her what he needs. Tatum though… this now represents an as yet entirely-unseen hat trick of collaborations between the actor and director (Haywire, Magic Mike, and now this). Considering my retinas still have trouble even processing the sight of Tatum’s billing on a movie, and close-ups on the actor appear as little more than slightly obscured backgrounds… well, let’s just say I’m eager to see what Soderbergh has managed to sculpt using this exceptionally boring clay. Maybe Haywire will illuminate why this collab has grown into a frequent partnership later this month.

The Side Effects will start shooting in April, which puts Soderbergh’s slate as such:

Haywire released January 20th, 2012
The Side Effects begins shoot April, 2012
Magic Mike released June 27th, 2012
Behind the Candelabra Liberace biopic begins shoot Late 2012
Side Effects released TBA in 2013
Liberace Biopic airs TBA on HBO in 2013

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