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Rooney Mara Replaces Blake Lively As Lead In Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Side Effects’

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

In just over a year, Rooney Mara has gone from the virtually unknown star of the disastrous remake of “Nightmare On Elm Street” to an Oscar nominee. The missing link: her brief, head-turning appearance in David Fincher‘s “The Social Network,” a performance that helped win her the lead role of Lisbeth Salander in the director’s English-language take on “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” But with a hectic schedule, and busy promotional commitments for that film, the actress has taken her time choosing her follow-up.

It’s not that she hasn’t had a wealth to choose from: she’s been linked to virtually every project with a part around her age group, including Mike Newell‘s “Great Expectations,” Warren Beatty‘s Howard Hughes film, Spike Lee‘s “Oldboy,” David O Russell’s “The Silver Linings Playbook” and Kathryn Bigelow‘s Osama Bin Laden project, but the only firm commitment she’s made to date is to star alongside Ryan Gosling in Terrence Malick‘s “Lawless,” but aside from some pre-production shooting last year, that won’t get before cameras properly until September, leaving the actress with a gap in her schedule. A gap that’s finally been filled.

Deadline report that Mara has signed on to the lead role in Steven Soderbergh‘s “Side Effects,” replacing the previously announced Blake Lively. As we reported last week, Megan Ellison‘s Annapurna Pictures had backed out of financing the film, unhappy with Lively’s casting, and we named Mara as one of the possibilites to replace her should other financiers prove equally unhappy, along with Michelle Williams, Emily Blunt and Imogen Poots.

In fact, we’re told that Steven Soderbergh has long been a fan of Mara: according to sources familiar with the process, back when Fincher was fighting Sony on his desire to cast Mara in ‘Dragon Tattoo,’ Soderbergh, a close friend of Fincher, was telling his pal that Mara was absolutely the one he should go for, so it’s no surprise she’s ended up working with the director.

She’ll play Emily Hawkins, a troubled young woman whose husband (to be played by Channing Tatum), is about to be released from prison, while Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones will both play psychiatrists charged with her care. The script comes from Scott Z. Burns (“Contagion“), while Open Road, fresh from the success of “The Grey” this past weekend, will distribute, with new financing likely to be locked down very shortly. Filming should get underway in New York in April, with a spring 2013 release to follow.

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