Scott Z. Burns has worn many different hats in Hollywood.
The filmmaker first gained attention for directing the 2006 film Pu-239, and would eventually go on to produce former Vice President Al Gore’s Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, as well as write the box office hit The Bourne Ultimatum. But it is his frequent collaborations with Oscar-winning director Steven Sonderbergh, including The Informant!, and Contagion, that has made everyone take notice.
Since then the scribe has penned a draft of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, as well as being attached to write The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which is based on the popular ‘60s spy series starring Robert Vaughn. But first, he has reunited with Soderbergh again on, what may be the director’s final theatrical film, a psychological thriller entitled Side Effects, which Burns wrote and produced, and will opens in theaters on February 8th.
Side Effects centers on Emily (Rooney Mara) and Martin (Channing Tatum), a successful New York couple whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily’s Psychiatrist (Jude Law), which is intended to treat anxiety, has unexpected side effects. In addition to Law, Mara, and Tatum, the excellent cast of actors also includes Vinessa Shaw (Puncture), Mamie Gummer (The Ward), and Academy Award-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago).
I recently had a chance to speak with producer and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns about his work on Side Effects. The accomplished filmmaker discussed the new film, its unique concept, his research, plotting its twists and turns, why he writes every role for Matt Damon, the film’s impressive cast, collaborating with Steven Soderbergh, and if he truly thinks Side Effects will be the acclaimed director’s final theatrical film.
Prior to the release of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Sony Pictures was looking quite bullish about a trilogy of films based on the bestselling Millennium Trilogy by the late the late Swedish novelist and journalist Stieg Larsson. Director David Fincher's adaptation of the first book dropped well over a year ago and progress on the sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire, has been slower than anticipated.
So what gives?
Side Effects, which hits theaters in just over one week, is likely to be the last theatrical feature from Steven Soderbergh, one of most prolific and fascinating auteurs. If that's not enough to get folks to pay attention to Side Effects, then the fact that the film looks like a twisty, sexy psychological thriller ought to do the trick.
Open Road Films has released a barrage of abbreviated trailers to promote next Friday's release, and one in particular demonstrates the potential of this drug-addled tale, giving a sense of just how propulsive and dangerous the story gets.
Synopsis: A provocative thriller about Emily and Martin, a successful New York couple whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily’s psychiatrist – intended to treat anxiety – has unexpected side effects.
With the film's debut just weeks away, Open Road Films is getting serious about drumming up anticipation for Side Effects, which may or may not be the final theatrical feature from Steven Soderbergh.
Today, the promotional effort means that we get to see the first clip of Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum in action, as well as a spoiler-filled TV spot that puts the focus on Jude Law's character.
Impossibly cheekboned starBrad Pitt is the closest thing David Fincher has to a muse, having starred for the perfectionist director in Se7en, Fight Club, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Now, Fincher is eager to get Pitt playing one of the lead roles in a big-budget 3D update of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, provided Disney actually decides to make the movie.
This year's staid and congratulatory awards season is now a distant memory, but there's still one awards show left, one that self-consciously defies the pomp and circumstance of the Oscars and the like. The MTV Movie Awards don't take themselves too seriously, as demonstrated by categories such as "Best Fight," "Best Kiss," and "Best On-Screen Dirtbag." Nominations for the summer's awards have been announced, with The Hunger Games and Bridesmaids racking up eight apiece.
Sony Pictures has made no bones about its intention to adapt the entirety of the late Stieg Larsson's bestselling Millennium Trilogy, starting with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. That film is performing reasonably well in theaters right now, and the studio is continuing development on the first sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire, though it's unknown whether or not director David Fincher will return. Given the obvious franchise intentions, it's no surprise that the opening title sequence for the first film visually incorporates moments from all three novels.
That title sequence strongly recalls some of Fincher's distinctive work as a director of both commercials and music videos, as well as (to a lesser extent) the titles to his 1995 thriller Se7en. The titles feature a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" by composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, along with Yeah Yeah Yeahs lead singer Karen O, and its a testament hypnotic, at times assaultive style that the song doesn't simply overwhelm the visual presentation.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is now in theaters, and it's the first big, studio-backed American adaptation of an international bestseller by the late Stieg Larsson. Naturally, Sony Pictures planned the film as the starting point for cinematic adaptations of all three novels in Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, but in the two weeks since The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo hit theaters, the film has, fairly or not, been carrying the faint whiff of commercial disappointment. Despite that perception, the studio intends to go ahead with The Girl Who Played With Fire and trilogy-capper The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.
Synopsis: A discredited journalist (Daniel Craig) and a mysterious computer hacker discover that even the wealthiest families have skeletons in their closets while working to solve the mystery of a 40-year-old murder in this David Fincher-directed remake of the 2009 Swedish thriller of the same name. Inspired by late author Stieg Larsson's successful trilogy of books, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo gets under way as the two leads (Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara) are briefed in the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, whose uncle suspects she may have been killed by a member of their own family. The deeper they dig for the truth, however, the greater the risk of being buried alive by members of the family, who will go to great lengths to keep their secrets tightly sealed.