Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In her first lead role since her Oscar-nominated turn in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Rooney Mara has just committed to starring in Side Effects, the Steven Soderbergh-directed thriller. Mara will replace Blake Lively in a film that also stars Jude Law, Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Mara plays Emily Hawkins, a sexy but unsettled young woman who is taking serious amounts of prescription drugs to deal with anxiety and depression surrounding the pending release of her husband from prison.

Scott Z. Burns wrote the script, and Open Road will distribute in the U.S. It looked like Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures would be financier, but I have been hearing that is a bit shaky. Greg Jacobs and Lorenzo di Bonaventura are producing with Burns. Shooting begins in April.

Since her breakout performance as Lisbeth Salander, Mara has been courted for several major roles, including the female lead in the Kathryn Bigelow film about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. That film clashed with her promotional schedule on Dragon Tattoo. Mara is currently in Tokyo promoting the film. She is repped by WME and attorney Neil Meyer.