Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Liv Tyler is set to star in The Side Effect, the next thriller by writer-director Ti West. West will be at Sundance to debut V/H/S, the found-footage horror film he co-directed. In The Side Effect, Tyler will play Catherine Rigby, a woman who spends several months alone in space as an experimental subject for a global pharmaceutical company, and finds herself inexplicably pregnant. Paranoia and hysteria reign as the truth behind conception grows more elusive and she remains stranded in space.

The film will be produced by Double Hope Films’ Ted Hope, and Peter Phok, who previously teamed with West on The House Of The Devil and The Innkeepers. The latter film hits U.S. theaters February 3 through Magnet. Tyler, whose resume spans fantasy with The Lord Of The Rings and horror with The Strangers, also will be in Sundance for the debut of Robot And Frank, in which she stars with Frank Langella and Susan Sarandon. Tyler called West “a super-talented exciting young filmmaker. The role of Rigby is a fantastic character within a great thriller and I am looking forward to sinking my teeth into the part.”

While Hope’s resume is mostly highbrow fare (I did notice he started his career as assistant director of 1990′s Frankenhooker), Hope sparked to West’s genre work and the chance to be involved as the filmmaker grows more ambitious. “I was blown away by Ti’s films,” Hope said. “I wondered why the studios and big budget guys hadn’t yet scooped him up. His movies are note-perfect displays of tension and tone. Each aspect of his filmmaking serves the whole. It’s rare to see such talent on display.” Hope previously collaborated with Tyler on the James Gunn-directed Super.

West said he hasn’t abandoned his genre origins with this film. “Although it is still somewhat of a horror film, it is much more psychological than any of my previous efforts,” he said. “It was essential that I find an actress who could portray a wide range of emotion and always earn the audience’s sympathy no matter what the situation. As soon as I sat down with Liv, it was obvious she was the one.”

Foreign rights will be sold by Celluloid Nightmares, the sales arm of XYZ Films (the company behind the Sundance-bound Indonesian action film The Raid). The film will be shopped at the upcoming European Film Market. UTA is selling domestic.

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