It's been less than two weeks since Steven Soderbergh walked away from "The Man From U.N.C.LE." and there's been much speculation about what he'll do instead. Never mind that he's got "Magic Mike" and the Liberace HBO project to complete and "Haywire" on the way in January: Ever since he claimed he'd be retiring soon, every creative decision he makes is now treated with a hushed reverence by bloggers who usually mock the fanatical devotion of Comic-Con fanboys. (For a lot of us, Soderbergh is our Kevin Smith or Jon Favreau.) Well, today we learned what his "U.N.C.L.E." substitute will be: It's a little something called "The Bitter Pill."
The Hollywood Reporter says that the project, which will be written by frequent Soderbergh collaborator Scott Z. Burns ("Contagion," "The Informant!"), is being pitched around to studios. There's very little known about the thriller, but The Playlist actually spoke with Burns recently about the project, which was formally called "The Side Effects" and was at one time going to be Burns' feature directorial debut. Burns shed a little light on what to expect:
Born out of research for Peter Berg's swiftly cancelled TV drama "Wonderland," the project, according to Burns, "deals with people and their moods. It's about how we as a society can't tolerate sadness and what that makes us vulnerable to." But it certainly leans towards a genre thriller. Our source compared the New York-set film to "Fatal Attraction," while Burns told us in an interview earlier in the year that, "It's definitely got a twist."
"It's a story where it's like if someone were listening to the conversation you and I were having and thought 'Hmmm, if that's the way that society is working how can I manipulate that, how can I use that?' And that's what the movie's about," Burns elaborated.
A potentially cool idea, huh? And it definitely sounds like it's in keeping with a lot of recent Soderbergh projects, which seem to be the Oscar-winning director's way of ticking each genre type off his to-do list. (Screwball comedy? "The Informant!" Paranoid disaster thriller? "Contagion." B-movie action? "Haywire.") "The Bitter Pill" is being described as a thriller, but the "Fatal Attraction" comparisons (not to mention the plot) make us wonder if this isn't closer to a psychological thriller, which Soderbergh hasn't ever quite done before. Once he's done with "The Bitter Pill, we'll have to see how he decides to tackle the silent film and the Bollywood musical.
Steven Soderbergh's New Project Is Thriller 'The Bitter Pill' (Exclusive) [Heat Vision/The Hollywood Reporter]
Exclusive: Steven Soderbergh's Next Film Will Be Scott Z. Burns' Psychological Thriller 'The Bitter Pill' [The Playlist]