Rooney Mara Replaces Blake Lively In Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects

rooney mara in the girl with the dragon tattoo
(Image credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Last we heard, Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects had hit a rough patch. Despite the recent casting of Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures opted not to finance Soderbergh’s prescription-drug thriller, and rumors linked that decision to the news that Green Lantern beauty Blake Lively was in the lead. Whether true or not, Soderbergh decided to make a quick casting change, swapping Lively for current Best Actress nominee Rooney Mara, star of David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Deadline says Mara “just committed” to join Effects, which was written by Soderbergh’s frequent collaborator Scott Z. Burns (Contagion, The Informant!). She’ll play Emily Hawkins, an unstable young woman addicted to prescription drugs who’s trying to cope with her husband’s recent release from prison. Without getting into too many spoilers (and the Deadline piece gives away more than it should, in my opinion), the film takes a violent turn, and could turn into a courtroom thriller.

Is this an upgrade? That depends on which actress you prefer, though many would argue that plugging an Oscar nominee into an open role instantly upgrades your feature. While Mara was fantastic as Lisbeth Salander in Fincher’s Tattoo, we’re anxious to see how she does in other meaty roles. (She largely played supporting parts in The Social Network and Youth in Revolt, and didn’t get much chance to “act” in the Elm Street remake.) It’s great that she’s being given the chance to collaborate with vibrant filmmakers, which can only help define her career in the coming years. As for Side Effects, it begins filming in April and expects to pair Mara with Zeta-Jones, Contagion star Jude Law and Haywire star Channing Tatum. Sign us up.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.