The story of Lance Armstrong‘s precipitous fall from grace seems tailor made for the movies, and indeed it’s about to get two of them. Back in January, Paramount teamed up with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot to adapt Cycle of Lies, a biography by Juliet Marcur. Now Warner Bros. is prepping its own version of the tale, with Emmy-winning Game Change director Jay Roach directing and Side Effects writer Scott Z. Burns scripting. Hit the jump to keep reading.

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Steven Soderbergh, so often adventurous over the course of his career, closes out his theatrical run with the relatively conventional thriller Side Effects. Though the ideas within are familiar, a winding narrative path keeps predictability out of sight, and prevents Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns from ever falling back to one simplistic message. Soderbergh’s own skill with the form allows him to pursue that path at length, without losing the plot.

Starting off with pharmacological paranoia, the two take clear inspiration from Rosemary’s Baby, and toy with notions that call back to Hitchcock. But this is no throwback. Soderbergh has crafted a smart but pessimistic film rooted firmly in fears that are becoming more and more common today.

The film is built around a woman (Rooney Mara) who suffers from severe depression and falls into the care of a potentially dodgy psychiatrist. Side Effects traffics in the tone of modern paranoia that defined previous Soderbergh/Burns collaboration Contagion, and revels in the duplicity that was a cornerstone of their first partnership, The Informant!. The three films define something like an informal trilogy in which we are chronically disconnected, dishonest, and perhaps eventually doomed. Read More »

Steven Soderbergh‘s 2011 disease thriller Contagion wasn’t exactly crying out for a sequel, but in the light of its strong box office performance of course more than a few execs’ minds went there. Warner Bros. quietly began developing a follow-up with writer Scott Z. Burns set to produce, and last October it took a small step forward by posting an open writing assignment.

Now, however, Burns says they’re thinking of changing course entirely. Instead of a feature film, Contagion 2 could wind up being a TV series. Hit the jump to read his comments.

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner now, and you know what that means: Fox is ramping up their marketing efforts for their big romantic holiday release, A Good Day to Die Hard. Also after the jump:

  • The Muppets… Again will feature old songs along with new ones
  • Writer Scott Z. Burns discusses Apes and Blade Runner 2
  • Rich Moore and his stars are totally up for more Wreck-It Ralph
  • Enroll in Starfleet Academy with the Star Trek Into Darkness app
  • Chris Pine will kidnap J.J. Abrams for Star Trek 3 if he has to
  • Riddick is back out in the rain in the newest still from Vin Diesel
  • The Last Exorcism Part II unveils a new TV spot and a poster
  • A Good Day to Die Hard will run about 90 minutes…
  • … one of which you can watch right here…
  • … along with a featurette that offers more plot

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Director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns have spent the last couple years making genre films with prestige casts to explore modern anxieties in a unique manner. The Informant! tackled fears of impotence and mediocrity through the story of a guy who envisions himself as a powerful insder agent. Contagion charted paranoia about the ever-closer proximity in which we live with others, using a tagline that warned “Don’t talk to anyone. Don’t touch anyone.”

Now the two finish out an informal anxiety trilogy with Side Effects. The film wraps a thriller structure around a look at the insidious pharmaceutical industry, and the ways in which we rely on it, often blindly. A short new trailer for the film dropped today. It’s a brief edit, just a minute long, but the effect is much bigger than the short running time as a husband and wife (Channing Tatum and Rooney Mara) deal with the fallout of the woman’s use of medication. More than a few things are obscured in this trailer, but there’s enough here to get my attention. Read More »

We’ve got some odds and ends from Sequel-Land after the jump:

  • Warner Bros. is seeking writers for Contagion 2
  • Will Black Dynamite 2 be like Blazing Saddles?
  • Ian McKellan almost declined to do The Hobbit
  • See new photos from Catching Fire‘s Georgia set

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes was one of the biggest surprises of 2011. Directed by relative newcomer Rupert Wyatt and delving back into a franchise that most people felt had long since died, the movie’s high quality helped it break out as a undeniable hit, grossing $176 million domestically. As tends to be the case, plans for a sequel were set into motion almost immediately and over the next few months Wyatt signed to return as director, star Andy Serkis was given a new deal and the original screenwriters, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, began to write the sequel to the prequel.

The Hollywood Reporter now says Scott Z. Burns, the writer behind Contagion, The Informant! and The Bourne Ultimatum, has signed to work on the film. Read more after the jump. Read More »

One of the last two films Steven Soderbergh plans to shoot before retiring from directing is The Bitter Pill, a thriller scripted by Scott Z. Burns (The Informant!, Contagion) that follows a troubled and highly medicated woman (Rooney Mara) who is dealing with her anxiety pending the release of her husband (Channing Tatum) from prison.

The promising actress Vinessa Shaw (Two Lovers, pictured above, and 3:10 to Yuma) is now set to play the wife of one of Mara’s doctors, who will be portrayed by Jude Law. After The Bitter Pill, Soderbergh will move on to his Liberace biopic for HBO, and then he’s done. (So he says.) [Deadline]

After the break, Ray Liotta lives with chemistry and Stanley Tucci joins two Harry Potter veterans. Read More »

There are some changes going on with Steven Soderbergh‘s planned film Side Effects. The past couple months have seen reports of Soderbergh ditching The Man From UNCLE and taking up the Side Effects script by UNCLE and Contagion screenwriter Scott Z. Burns. In the past couple weeks there have been reports that Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Productions would finance Side Effects, with Open Road (The Grey) set to distribute after Summit decided not to pick up the film.

But Ellison has walked away from the film, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. (Theorize if you like about the middling performance of last weekend’s Haywire opening being a factor.) With the departure of Ellison, some of the previously attached cast is in doubt. But there is one new addition: Soderbergh’ vet Catherine Zeta-Jones (Ocean’s Twelve, Traffic). Read More »

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This month’s Haywire marks the first of two collaborations between Steven Soderbergh and Channing Tatum we’ll be seeing this year, the other one being this summer’s Magic Mike, and it seems we’ll have another to look forward to next year as well. After toying with the idea of teaming up for Warner Bros.’ The Man From U.N.C.L.E. before Soderbergh pulled out, the pair may now be gearing up to reunite on The Side Effects, previously titled Bitter Pill.

Also joining Tatum in the cast will be Blake Lively and Jude Law, the latter of whom recently worked with Soderbergh on Contagion. More details after the jump.

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