Last night, Examiner.com was on the red carpet for The Cinema Society and Michael Kors premiere of Open Road Films' "Side Effects." From the film: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum (in Dolce&Gabbana),Catherine Zeta-Jones (in Michael Kors), Vinessa Shaw, Mamie Gummer (in Michael Kors), Michael Nathanson, Ann Dowd, Polly Draper, Laila Robins, director Steven Soderbergh, writer/producer Scott Z. Burns, producer Greg Jacobs, producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, technical advisor/co-producer Dr. Sasha Bardey, executive producers James D. Stern, Michael Polaire, Douglas E. Hansen, and Open Road Films CEO Tom Ortenberg all walked the red carpet. "Side Effects" is a provocative thriller about Emily and Martin (Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum), a successful New York couple whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily's psychiatrist (Jude Law) – intended to treat anxiety – has unexpected side effects.
Examiner.com chatted with screenplay writer Scott Z. Burns and some of the supporting cast members in the film on the red carpet. Check out what they had to say about working on the thriller:
Q: What inspired the script for "Side Effects"?
Scott Z. Burns: I spent a long time, on another project that I worked on, which is called
"Wonderland," it was a TV show on ABC, that Peter Berg created, and we all went to Bellevue Hospital over here on First Avenue in New York, and I spent months following a forensic psychiatrist around and I became really interested in these different stories and how medication and the law kind of meet up, in a lot of really bizarre crimes. And that was sort of the jumping off point, after I had sort of seen a few of those, I decided to go make up my own.
Q: What’s your writing process like?
Scott Z. Burns: I get up really early in the morning and hope I have something good to say.
Q: And how is Rooney Mara as the lead?
Scott Z. Burns: The great thing about Rooney is, she is so sort of inscrutable and mysterious that it actually made my job a lot easier. We could get rid of a lot of pages because there’s things she can do with just her look and the way that she photographs that you can’t possibly capture in a sentence and so that was a real luxury for a writer.
Q: We loved the twist ending. Was it difficult to transition that in so smoothly?
Scott Z. Burns: That’s nice of you to say, I mean, you know, if it works, then it’s not difficult, but you know, it’s pretty much the way it was on the page and Steven and I talked about it a lot and, you know, Jude is such an amazing actor that it makes it a lot easier when the people who are saying the lines really trust in them and the actors were great for us.
Q: I know you’ve worked with Steven in the past, and this is supposed to be his swan song, supposedly. How was working with him on this film, how did that compare to the previous films that you guys worked on together?
Scott Z. Burns: In a way, you know, because this was a movie that I was going to direct, initially, and then he asked me if he could do it, I think he was even more inclusive of me than he normally is, but you know, from the second day of "The Informant" through all of that...I just stand next to the camera and we watch the scenes together and when it goes well, you know, we feel really good, and when it’s struggling, we talk about it and try and fix it with the actors. That process didn’t change, I think, because, you know, this was going to be the last one, I think I probably relished it more and maybe worked a little harder.
Q: Fun Question: Have you personally ever had an embarrassing side effect from taking medication?
Scott Z. Burns: You know what, I will now, because you’re the last person, tell you a really awesome story. When I first started working with Steven, and he knows this story, I used to get really nervous, because it was like going over to work with Steven Soderbergh, it was a big deal. We’re working on "Ocean's Twelve" and so a friend of mine said you should take a beta blocker, and it’ll calm you down, it’s this drug called Inderal, and it’s actually in this movie. So, I said ok, so I took one one morning and I had come from LA, but it wasn’t an Inderal, I took an Ambien by accident at about nine in the morning and I went to breakfast with a friend of mine, and I was kind of losing it, and she said, “What’s wrong with you?” And I’m like, “I think I made a mistake because they’re both blue,” and I said, but I have to go, I have to go have this meeting with Steven and I was too embarrassed to tell him, and somehow, and I remember nothing. I got from Fort Green to Steven’s office in Chelsea, sat through a meeting, took zero notes, got from Steven’s to JFK and back to LA and I remember nothing.
Q: Did Steven say anything?
Scott Z. Burns:: Well, I asked him the next day, I’m like, were you were of the fact that I was sort of a zombie, and he said yeah, you were worthless. I’m like, and you didn’t say anything?
Q: You play a fun character!
Michael Nathanson: Yeah! There’s a lot of me telling people what’s right and what’s wrong. Somehow, I’m the moral authority. I’m not like that in my regular life, but I get to play that on screen which is fun.
Q: What was it like working with Jude Law?
Michael Nathanson: Amazing, wonderful, generous actor, put me at ease from day one and just a professional. Top to bottom, amazing.
Q: What about working with Steven?
Michael Nathanson: Steven, I was scared to work with someone like Steven. He’s somebody I’ve admired my entire life, my short career, and he again was someone who just put me at ease from the first day, gave his actors a lot of freedom and he’s an amazing, amazing guy to work with, yeah.
Q: What was it like working with Steven?
Laila Robins: Oh, he was wonderful. It was a very relaxed, a very focused set. I believe Steven trusts his casting process, so his direction is very light, very delicate, very trusting of the actor to bring the product in, and he runs his own camera, was very very focused, very efficient. It was very graceful, like a dance, the whole day was like a dance, it was beautiful.
Q: You play one of Jude Law's partners in his psychiatric practice. What was it like working with him?
Laila Robins: Oh, he was wonderful. It was kind of nice because he had seen me in a play before we worked together, he came to see me in Edward Albee’s "The Lady From Dubuque" at the Signature, and so when I came on the set, he recognized me from the play and we had a nice ice breaker talking about the theater and his love of the theatre and all of the things he wants to do in London, on the stage in the future. So that was a lovely way to start.
Q: Can you speak about Rooney Mara's preparation. Did you meet with her?
Sasha Bardey: I did, I met with her, she came to my office. She met with some of my colleagues, and she also met with some people who were willing to talk to her, who suffered from depression, so she really got a clinical perspective, and she also got the inside perspective from someone who had been depressed, to the extent that she was, you now, that she portrays in the movie.
Other attendees included Michael Douglas, Michael Kors, Matt Damon, Regis and Joy Philbin, Donna Karan, Jill Hennessy, Gina Gershon, Paul Haggis, Kate Mara, Ari Graynor, S. Epatha Merkerson, Michele Hicks, Oscar Isaac (Drive, W.E.), Sami Gayle (Blue Bloods), Carrie Preston (True Blood), Julie Taymor, Christopher McDonald, Richard Kind, Stephen Baldwin, Jaime Cepero (Smash), Jess Weixler, Frank Grillo, Pablo Schreiber, Elettra Wiedemann, Rachel Roy, Olivier Theyskens, Stefano Tonchi, Patrick Demarchelier, Carson Kressley, Joe Zee, Sante D’Orazio, Alex Lundqvist, Amy Fine Collins, Harry Brant and Peter Brant Jr, Michelle Alves, Marina Rust Connor, Daniel Benedict, and Cinema Society founder Andrew Saffir. After the screening at AMC Lincoln Square, guests headed to the Stone Rose Lounge where they enjoyed Grey Goose cocktails. "Side Effects" hits theaters on Friday, February 8th.