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    Side Effects Primer: 5 Things to Know Before Swallowing This Pharmaceutical Thriller

    Side Effects Open Road Films

    Warning: Side effects may include…death! Open wide for this jagged little pill of a thriller from director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Ocean's Eleven). Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) and Channing Tatum (Magic Mike) play Emily and Martin, a wealthy New York couple whose lives are upended when Martin is imprisoned for insider trading. Following his release, Emily suffers anxiety and depression and turns to psychiatrist Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) for therapy and meds. But instead of quieting her demons, the new drug he prescribes leads to crazy consequences. Want more insane deets? Check out these fun (and spoiler-free) facts:

    1. Sex, Lies, and Antidepressants: Though set in the world of psychiatry and prescription drugs, Side Effects isn't a Michael Crichton-style medical thriller with Big Pharma thugs chasing the hero through dark corridors. Instead, this Hitchcockian whodunit mixes noir elements with sly cat-and-mouse pursuits and a big dose of moral ambiguity. It's a genre that hasn't been cleverly exploited since the Wachowskis' taut, twisty Bound in 1996.

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    Channing Tatum, Side Effects Open Road Films

    2. Cut. Print. That's a Wrap: After directing 26 movies in 24 years, Soderbergh is definitely due for a vacation. But the prolific, Oscar-winning filmmaker swears Side Effects is his last theatrical feature film. He's retiring, though not fading into the black. His Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra (starring Michael Douglas as the flamboyant pianist), airs later this year, and he'll probably continue to direct for TV and stage.

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    Side Effects Open Road Films

    3. Gossip, Girl: Mara may be an Oscar nominee for her turn as Lisbeth Salander, but she likely wasn't Soderbergh's first choice to play leading lady Emily. Reportedly, the role was originally earmarked for Blake Lively. When Side Effects (previously titled Bitter Pill) lost its financiers, rumors swirled that the money people balked and walked because of Lively's potential involvement. 

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    Side Effects Open Road Films

    4. Things Come in Threes: Tatum makes his third appearance in a Soderbergh film, after Haywire and Magic Mike. And yes, he shows skin again. Also completing her Soderbergh trilogy is Catherine Zeta-Jones (Traffic, Ocean's Twelve), who's a bit over the top as an icy-hot psychiatrist with big glasses, a tight bun, and affected speech. Dr. Lilith Crane, is that you?! OK, this is only Jude Law's second go-round with the director, following Contagion, but his role is so meaty it should count twice!

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    Contagion, Side Effects, Inconvenient Truth Warner Bros., Open Road Films, Paramount Classics

    5. Got Fear?: Producer-writer Scott Z. Burns keeps trying to freak us out! Formerly an ad man who worked on the "Got Milk?" campaign, Burns moo-ved on to making unsettling movies. He was a producer on An Inconvenient Truth, which chilled us to the bone with its global-warming warning. His script for Contagion turned us into hand sanitizer-slathering germaphobes, and now Side Effects has us anxious about anxiety meds, therapists, hospitals, and more. Screw the milk—we need something stronger!

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