Blake Lively’s questionable casting in Soderbergh’s new film causes studio to back out

OH NOES. The girl with the golden PR moves has fumbled! Several weeks ago, the casting rumor mill went into overdrive and there were major claims that Blake Lively had scored a lead role in Steven Soderbergh’s latest film, The Side Effects. Blake was alleged cast as a woman struggling with addiction, torn between her veteran husband (Channing Tatum) and her shrink (Jude Law). It was a juicy, meaty role, and Blake would have been required to do some heavy lifting, acting-wise. The speculation about the casting caused consternation – why Blake? Why Steven Soderbergh? WHY? Well, things just got more complicated. As it turns out, the film studio producing The Side Effects, Annapurna, has just dropped out, and rumor has it they dropped out because of Blake’s alleged casting. What makes it even worse is that now it seems like Blake’s casting is back to just being a “rumor” not a fact.

Call it a troubling side effect of the proliferation of casting rumors. According to Variety, film studio Annapurna has dropped out of its commitment to finance Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming psychodrama thriller, “Side Effects.” According to the Playlist, the studio balked at Soderbergh’s rumored casting of Blake Lively as a pill-addicted woman at the center of a love triangle between her doctor and ex-con husband. The two men, according to recent reports, will be played by Jude Law and Channing Tatum, respectively.

The film is still set to be distributed by Open Road Films, but will need to find new cash for production; Variety reports that it should be able to do so at Sundance.

Both Law (“Contagion”) and Tatum (“Magic Mike,” “Haywire”) have worked with Soderbergh before, but this would be Lively’s first time with the director. Then again, as producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura told The Huffington Post this week while talking about his new film “Man on a Ledge,” the casting was just a rumor — and, as is now evident — rumors can often hurt a film in pre-production.

“We don’t have any cast set yet. We’re definitely very interested in those actors, but there’s nobody set,” he said. “It’s a little frustrating because it can often spoil the process a little bit. When things become public in general, they’re harder to manage. As a producer it becomes more complicated. A lot of the rumors are false and people are disappointed when you actually hire the person you wanted. It’s a little problematic, it’s something you have to live with.”

Variety reports that Annapurna dropped out of the film Friday, days before di Bonaventura denied the concrete casting, making clear the tangible effect on production that can be wrought by the rumor mill. That the casting rumors started weeks ago, without a public correction, is less an accident than a now-damaging concession to the web’s insatiable appetite.

“I used to try to correct it all the time, but no one cares when you try to correct it in my experience,” the producer said. “Whatever the better story is, I guess if the correction is the better story, they’ll go with that, but if they like the rumor better than your correction, they’re going to stick with it.”

Soderbergh has always made sure to make films his own way, and Lively would be one of his less off-kilter leading lady choices. She is an accomplished screen actor, with a starring role in “Gossip Girl” and supporting parts in dramas like “The Town,” while the director has cast porn star Sasha Grey in an art film, and his current film, “Haywire,” stars Gina Carano, a former MMA star.

He’s also not afraid to pull out of projects. Soderbergh spent years developing Brad Pitt’s “Moneyball,” only to walk away when that film was not heading in his preferred direction.

“If I can’t do a film the way I want to do it, then I don’t want to do it,” he recently told the Star Ledger. “On ‘Moneyball,’ the way I wanted to tell the story was very unorthodox. It was very carefully planned out, but it required a real leap of faith on the part of Brad and the part of the studio. And, you know, in the end, it’s their money and it’s their call.”

[From HuffPo]

That’s pretty rough for Blake – she can’t headline a film without it causing major financial difficulties and controversies. Does this mean the film will be recast in total? Does it mean that only the lead role will be recast? Does it mean that although Blake’s PR game is spectacular, she still can’t headline a film in the eyes of Hollywood producers and studios? Considering I – and nearly everyone else – balked at the idea of Blake headlining a Steven Soderbergh film, I’d say it’s just that people don’t buy her as a lead actress in films yet. They’re content to let her play “the girl” in big-budget films, but she doesn’t get to headline yet.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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100 Responses to “Blake Lively’s questionable casting in Soderbergh’s new film causes studio to back out”

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    • T.C. says:

      The producers maybe saw that HAYWIRE didn’t do so well this past weekend and suspects that Soderberghs next experiment with using a female lead with poor acting skills will also be a problem. You can hire good actors to support a weak lead but it’s still hard for the audience since sooner or later the lead has to carry the movie. Blake is not good enough to carry a movie yet.

    • Capella says:

      Not buying it! No studio in their right mind would back out of a movie that includes Solderberg AND Jude Law. Unless they are having some MAJOR financial trouble.No matter the other headliners.

      • Kimlee says:

        Yes they would if that headliner is not going to bring on the money.

      • Lexi says:

        Studios pay attention to feedback from the public when they announce headliners for movies, especially movies they anticipate to make a lot of profit. I think they noticed that people weren’t so thrilled about Blake Lively being cast.

        I also agree that Haywire could have been a factor too since it was Soderbergh’s decision to cast a newly turned actress and resulted in mediocre results. Plus, Haywire was packed with other A-listers like Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, etc. but it still didn’t encourage enough people to watch it.

        Who knows though, there could have been financial reasons too.

      • T.C. says:

        Of course they would. Jude Law is only playing a supporting role and he is no box-office star outside of a franchise movie. Blake Lively is the star of the movie. If the producers think she wouldn’t be able to deliver of course they will protect their money and back out.

      • Capella says:

        By all accounts, the studio had signed on much after Blake Lively was announced as the lead.

        Just sayin’, it doesn’t add up. Why pull out because of Lively, when you knew Soderbergh had already signed her on!

      • Capella says:

        Or is Jen Garner’s reach that wide?

      • T.C. says:

        That’s just Sarah making excuses for Blake. Her and Lainey are so far up Blake Livey’s butt they think everything she does is “pimp”. They are like that with Kristen Stewart too. The producer is involved in high quality work. Soderberghs last experiment with a weak actress failed. They would be stupid to put money on another experiment including Blake Lively. That’s just a smart business decision.

      • mia girl says:

        Sure, you could be right T.C. about Lainey… but I’ll also add that I asked someone I know in the film business about Megan Ellison and word is that up until about 2 years ago, she was major party girl in LA, in the vein of all those rich celebrity offspring. Dad gave her money to start the business and yes she has been smart to invest in quality movies.

        My friend also said that this whole thing makes for good gossip but that the company agreed to finance the film knowing Lively was Soderbergh’s choice for the lead, so industry folks think there is really more to this and it has to do with boring financing details.

        I’m no super fan of Lively’s BTW (although cant say I loathe her the way many here do), this stuff is just interesting to me.

      • Capella says:

        mia girl, that is exactly what I was trying to say. The studio new full well that Lively was already signed before backing the movie.

        Something else is in the water for them to back off the deal. Cannot be a Lively factor, no matter her blubbering bland line delivery!

  1. Riana says:

    If there’s anyone who’s carreer is based on being on her back it’s Blake. She’s still in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants acting range but getting major roles….that’s not an insane amount of deduction to assume a blonde Vanessa Hudgens is getting these roles on a different kind of talent.

  2. Josie says:

    I just don’t get it with this woman. She isn’t that pretty, and she isn’t talented. I don’t understand why or how she has become so famous. Why in the world would anyone cast her as the lead in a film?

  3. helvetica says:

    Her act is just too stiff and boring, period. In a few years no one will probably remember who she is.

  4. Eve says:

    They’re content to let her play “the girl” in big-budget films, but she doesn’t get to headline yet.

    And hopefully never.

    Look, I don’t hate or love this girl, but she can’t act to save her life.

  5. Danziger says:

    I don’t feel sorry for her at all.

  6. podzol says:

    Ahahahahaha! (too mean?) Blake’s all PR, but the talent to back it up has always been questionable. Di Bonaventura’s comments to HuffPo confirm that Camp Blake leaked out those rumours to the public at large as soon as she was in consideration. They always do that, even for the gazillion number of roles she did not get. A bit of discretion next time, Blake?

  7. Dibba says:

    Yeah, I don’t get her at all. I’ve heard she was having sex with Miramax dude that’s why she got a career. So gross.

  8. Bad Gal Addiction says:

    Talentless butterhead. Nuff said!

  9. Zigggy says:

    Ha. I like her name, Blake. She’s pretty, but you’re right- there’s something about her that I don’t see being a headliner.

  10. normades says:

    Once again the Lively PR team is back to their old bag of tricks. “Leaking” casting information to make it seem like she’s in the same league as the other on the cusp A-list girls.

    Not saying Blake is the only offender of this tactic. I always think about Lainey’s B1 and B2 blinds where Alba’s team leaked that she had won the role in Fantastic 4 so McAdams would drop out.

    I heard this role was supposed to go to Jennifer Lawrence but she dropped out due to time conflicts. Cast her or Carey Mulligan instead.

  11. Gigi says:

    Oh Blake, it’s time to make that dreaded call to Harvey W.

  12. Liz says:

    I’m not buying this.

    I suspect that the film was facing financial difficulties anyway. That’s not big news in Hollywood, so people (including this site) are adding a celebrity into this.

    Your headline is misleading. I’m not a big Lively fan, but I really don’t buy this.

  13. The Truth Fairy says:

    Channing Tatum + Blake Lively = loss of credibility for the film

    • lin234 says:

      I’m on board that Blake doesn’t have enough talent to do such a serious film. I’ll admit I watch Gossip Girl – mainly for the fashion- and Leighton Meester acts circles around her. In fact, I believe Leighton could pull this movie role off.

      But why aren’t more people complaining about Channing Tatum?! I remember seeing a movie with him in it and it’s all very forgettable. Wasn’t he a model turned actor?? There really needs to be equal hate for Channing Tatum and Blake Lively after all, they are on the same scale when it comes to their looks: bland face but nice body.

      • T.C. says:

        It’s because Channing really stepped it up in HAYWIRE successfully. He also has helped put together the script for his next movie with Soderbergh (Magic Mike) so he is slowly getting more credit for not being a total empty head. Blake is just starting so more skepticism. Channing got made fun of though when his first movie with Soderbergh was announced.

      • Alexis says:

        I’m pulling for Leighton, too. She’s a good actress, and seems like a nice person. Plus, she came from a disadvantaged background, so it’s nice to see someone like that succeed. Someone should take a chance and give her a meaty lead (or supporting role).

        It sucks that in this day and age, which young female stars rise seems so much based on looks, PR, and probably the casting couch.

      • Sal says:

        I complain about Channing all the time. I hate him and the fact he’s getting roles that should be going to betters actors

  14. Gorry says:

    I get you HAVE to write about Blake so your regulars
    ( No I don’t mean mln67, Bermuda Blues, Dudette,
    Hautie, Turtle Dove, Lady_Luck – love ya guys but
    you’re not here often) can start gnashing and wailing and repeat rumors about her.
    But WHY even the most spurious unconfirmed non story stories.
    I as you say she is so ‘talentless’, ‘worthless’to perish’ stature why write about her?
    Does she really bring that many hits to your sites?

    • D says:

      Ugh seriously!financers back out all the time in the early stages of development for all sorts of reasons and it’s never big news so idk why this is suddenly some huge news story.also, I highly doubt soderbergh isn’t going to be able to find other backers…

      • Gorry says:

        Down here in London a film starring Keira Knightely of all people had to be pulled due to finace probs.

        My only weariness is that in these like 3 days there have been so many Blake non-stories here- ‘She and Ryan go to New Orleans’, ‘Her dog is a snob’ WTF – that it baffles me. This stuff is taken from the Enquirer, Star while I’m sure there are other celeb stories from these 30 pagers of actual consequence to write on!
        It’s just this need to write about her cos she get the usuals screeching about how she’s demanding the attention is like sigh!
        I guess she’s an outlet or all sorts of ish. But I ain’t part of it.

        Haywire got good reviews. It’s not out here yet but what’s the Box office looking? Luv Ewan Macgregor

  15. kazoo says:

    “Blake Lively’s questionable casting in Soderbergh’s new film causes studio to back out”

    And all I can say to that is, LMAO.

  16. T.C. says:

    can’t wait to hear Lainey spin this story to make it seem like it’s all part of Blake’s master plan. LOL

  17. brin says:

    Now get someone who can act to fill the role.

  18. mia girl says:

    I wonder if it’s really Soderbergh’s fail this weekend at the box office that caused the company to drop out. The Lively thing could be believable cover for their lack of belief in the director.

  19. HoustonGrl says:

    Dang…so she boned soderbergh for nothing? Poor girl.

    Ok, in all seriousness, cute preppy cheerful young California girl cast to play a hopeless addict with an ex-husband who just happens to be an ex-con?? Acting chops aside, she really just doesn’t fit the part at all. First of all, you’d need to be at least 30 to play someone who is convincingly divorced. And, second, this sounds like a role for a brunette, or at least someone with a believable dark side. Eva Green maybe?

  20. BlackMamba says:

    I guess people wants to see the same girls in the movies all the time. Whenever any girl other than Carry Mulligan, Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried and now Emma Stone get cast in a movie people start getting upset. Seriously Anne Hathaway was cast as Catwoman, really?!! Because it always has to be the same girls over and over and over. Personally, I’m sick of those girls and another face would be a nice change.

  21. Talie says:

    The problem was that Blake was going to be the main focus, the lead. And she has never really been proven to carry a movie. If this was a supporting role, it would have been irrelevant. She’s not Emma Stone or Mila Kunis.

  22. Newtsgal says:

    How could ya’ll be such haters on Blakey
    she has worked so hard since she graduated from the Chelsea Handler’s school of “How to sleep your way to a job”
    How can you question her acting, I’m sure she is very proud of her GOLDEN KNEEPAD AWARDS

  23. NeNe says:

    If this story is true, it was a very smart decision. This chick couldn’t act her way out of a paperbag.

  24. The Original Mia says:

    She’s not talented. I wouldn’t front that much money on a no-talent, Barbie doll either.

  25. JenJen says:

    OMG, I laughed so hard reading this. I was wondering since the news broke of her scoring a hot lead role if anyone with a brain was going to clue in to exactly the kind of disaster the movie was headed for.
    Blake is a pretty girl, but a pretty girl who cannot act her way out of a paper bag. I don’t know why she doesn’t just model or something, acting is not her forte.

  26. xmarine says:

    what producers are Channing Tatum sleeping with? that guy can’t act at all

  27. crys737 says:

    She doesnt have the personality or dynamic of a lead actress. theres something about her thats so plain. She’s just not interesting. I think people can read that.

  28. mln76 says:

    Eh to be fair Soderburgh hasn’t done well with studios for a long time. His version of Moneyball was nixed by the studios, then Contagion had lackluster numbers and zero Oscar buzz despite all those stars, and Haywire fell flat. I think the studios have lost faith in his touch and Blake was just the icing on the cake.

    • normades says:

      Yup, like Mia girl and TC say up thread it’s just as much as a vote of no-confidence in Soderbergh.

      Movies are huge finacial risks and take years of planning and development. No one is going to just “give the girl a chance” when the stakes are so high.

  29. TheOriginalKitten says:

    People have an odd idea of what constitutes talent. Blake Lively is not terrible, she’s not great, she’s mediocre but she has time to grow. She’s no ingenue but she’s not a lost cause.
    Hell, we have Megan Fox, Alba, K-Stew and a slew of other mediocre actresses that land decent roles in films-they’re never accused of casting couch antics. Personally, I’d take a chance on Blake Lively over any of the aforementioned actresses. I think people just love to hate her.

    • Dudette says:

      Thank you. A studio backing out because of Blake Lively? Really? Dislike the girl all you want but this is reaching beyond belief. I have never understood why this girl gets so much hate, she likes attention, so what? 99% of Hollywood does. She calls the paps, as do dozens of more established stars. She dates A-Listers, well guess what? The men aren’t poor victims forced to participate in her charade. She’s an average actress, but she’s also just 24. Maybe she’ll get better, maybe she won’t. Either way, I don’t know why she doesn’t deserve a shot in a Steven Soderbergh film. The ‘outrage’ at her casting is just so, so silly and petty.

  30. TheOriginalVictoria says:

    I don’t care what Channing is building. I love the guy and everything because he’s hott! But really, Blake is a way better actor than he is and I say that even as I have pre-ordered my “The Vow” tickets.

    I just want to know what Blake has said in interviews that makes her so hated. She likes to fuck movie stars and get papped. She’s not as bad Kim. K. At least she is actually an actress.

    • Sarko says:

      Its just the typical rumors and lies from Leighton stans, Leo fans etc.
      As stated there is no internet blind item that can’t be attributed to her as fact sans proof
      We have the ridiculous “She poses on the red carpet”!, cos no one else does.
      The subjective and then the lies
      “She’s charisma free, talent free, w**** e.t.c” y’know from the harpies.
      But they STILL read on her and bizzarely watch films in her to foam at the mouth and feed their hate.
      She does nothing out of the ordinary
      from any other HW starlet Blake successfully brings out the hits and the hate on sites. Tis All

  31. imo says:

    Her people were trying to push her too far as this big thing when she is not ready for a leading role or maybe she never will be. She needs to be pushed back a bit.

  32. nina says:

    laineygossip says straight up blake does cast couching. she’s very direct about that, she basically says straight up she was blowing ben affleck for that gig.

  33. Kim says:

    All a nice way of saying he doesnt think she has any acting talent (he is right) and knows the movie would bomb with her in it.

  34. kimberly says:


    Blake Lively is not an actress, she simply recites dialogue to play characters that transform onto the big screen in a way that you would see done in a Lifetime movie.

    The movie would have been just as horrible as pippa lee!

    I’m sorry the back of her throat got bruised while trying to score the role, but it’s not a good move to cast her in anything that is not a cartoon or pixar.

    she’s no actress, she’s an actor’s girlfriend or fuck. No more, no less. Maybe George Clooney needs a fembot for arm candy at the oscars?

    from what I hear you won’t have to wear knee pads, just look the other way when the waiter approaches.

  35. Cammie says:

    Looks like brown nosing with people’s husbands and boyfriends can backfire

  36. Madison says:

    Blake has a long way to go before she can headline a movie that isn’t a rom com. She’s the type of woman men love to be with and jealous bitchy women love to hate for no reason.

  37. Jover says:

    Golden Knee Pad awards excellent – the lead actress in THe Town was much better but I don’t remember her name – people hate on boobs lively because she is such a bland meh d-lister – yah, she poses on a lot of read carpets but there’s no allure or spark to her personality from what I’ve seen, just you’re ordinary wannabee mall girl catapulted through pr and connections into miss fashionista and we don’t but it.

    • Caz says:

      The other actress in The Town is Rebecca Hall. For those wondering why the Blake dislike – this post sums it up. We’re tired of the PR-generated hoohaa over this very average actress. Not buying it either. Not much style over even less substance. She’ll be down to Jennifer Love Hewitt/Alba level soon enough.

  38. Camille (The original) says:

    If they replace Blake with someone like ScarJo it will be just as bad IMO.

  39. D says:

    Ugh can people not just hate on this girls acting without resorting to all sorts of bullshit casting couch innuendo? There are plenty of awful actresses who get cast in things inexplicably, and Blake’s not even really awful, just young and unproven. I think people want her to be scandalous and since she doesn’t seem drugged up and is in a boring relationship all there is to cling to is Lainey’s innuendoes.

  40. angie says:

    On lainey gossip, sarah (from the movie blog cinesnark) says that there were problems because of a young heiress who didn’t want to produce the movie with blake in the lead role as she is not “elite” enough. She says she has sources, you never know if it’s true but I love this story. A young woman around blake’s age (and a rich daddy’s girl) who doesn’t want work with her and tries to fire her as she only want prestigious names and see blake from gossip girl as a downgrade … It’s a bitchy move but It seems possible to me.

    I think Blake is just one of these celebrities some love to hate.
    She is nothing special but she is all over the place because she hustles a lot and her game is quite transparent. She is not the only actress to do that and she is harmless but I found it annoying too when her name pops up for big roles when she doesn’t even stand a chance and try to steal the spotlight of a talented young actress like carey mulligan or michelle william. I think the jessicas (biel and alba) are worst in my opinion with her ungrateful attitude. kristen stewart is overrated and smug and megan is… well just dumb. And rooney mara an ungrateful (and OSCAR NOMINATED?!!?) twit.

  41. angie says:

    * steal the spotlight from carey mulligan
    * the jessicas are worse with their attitudes
    Gosh, sorry for my poor english and all the mistakes (I’m not fluent in english and I often struggle to express myself)

    I wonder how Blake plays this and if she will keep the role. If all these rumors are true of course… But I LOVE this story more like these, please and less cuddlefest with boring ryan reynolds. ANd I love your blog too.

  42. Tiffany says:

    Has anyone noticed that Soderbergh as been a little…off lately. It just seem that after the story of him cheating on his wife and that producing a child, it’s like he is just checking out. This man has done some great stuff, even his early experimental stuff (Bubble) was good. Now it just seem his ego is turning everything he work towards to shit. You would think he would lighten up on his starlet casting after that story. Why is he so determined to cast her in the lead. Also, Lively overplayed her hand on this one. You call the paps while your on the set, no take out an ad for yourself on a rumor.

  43. whatevs says:

    good. i hope they don’t cast her, or any other untalented supposed “it girl” or it boy like her.

  44. donna says:

    I never seen that show Blake Lively is on (Gossip Girl) but I did see the movie the Green Latern, and throughout the whole movie the only thing that stuck out was Blake Lively horrible acting I kept telling my friend that this is the worse acting job that I ever seen. it was terrible any one of us posting on this site could have done a better job, and I am not saying it to be mean it’s just the truth. I think she (Blake) along with some other young actresses need to go and take acting classes.

  45. normades says:

    I can’t wait for the uproar when they cast Rooney Mara!

  46. Blakesley says:

    I’m much more bothered by Channing Tatum being in ANY film.I really like Steven Soderbergh’s films but I will skip this one.

  47. Sara says:

    Eh, I really wouldn’t pay to see a movie with her in it. She isn’t exciting at all.

    I remember after ‘Girl Interrupted’ came out my friends and I used to go see any movie that had Angelina Jolie just because she was a great actress and we loved her.

    Blake seems vanilla and flat and pretty boring in the few movies I’ve seen her in.

  48. Renee says:

    I think Blake is trying to have a career like SJP. She definitely jumped the gun on thinking she was lead actress material.