jude law & catherine zeta jones

Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones in ‘Side Effects’

*Jude Law has acted in just about every genre and taken on just about every characterization, whether it be Nia Long’s baby daddy in “Alfie,” a gum shoe in “Sherlock Holmes,” a widowed dad in the Christmas classic “The Holiday,” a sniper in the wonderful film “Enemies at the Gate,” or the tortured husband in a stylized “Anna Karenina.”

In “Side Effects,” an enthralling psychological thriller, Law once again proves his ability to captivate audiences and take them out of their comfort zones and theater seats into the terrifying world of prescription drugs. Joining him on this questionable journey with more twists and turns than a roller coaster is the also talented Rooney Mara, who garnered much attention—and justifiable so—for her incredible performance in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Katherine Zeta-Jones rounds out the gifted cast as Dr. Victoria Siebert, who is hiding a horrendous and devastating secret. At a recent press conference, they were more than happy to talk about their latest project and their roles.

Jude and Catherine, what was it like you playing psychiatrists and did you learn anything about that profession?

CATHERINE ZETA-JONES: This is probably the hardest movie to discuss to people because any given moment we could realize the wonderful plot and the twists and turns that occur throughout the movie. For me playing a doctor, let’s just put it that I try and be as professional on the outset as one would think all good doctors. But my relationship with Jude and Rooney run much deeper than your first impression of me as a doctor would be [with them]. I’m thrilled that Steven [Soderbergh] cast me as a doctor because I never went to college and I always wanted an MD after my name. I’m really quite flattered that he fulfilled my mother’s dream. [Laughs]

JUDE LAW: I finished this job with a great respect for the profession. I was very interested by the belief in medicine. Obviously a lot of the discussion around this film is around the abuse of medicine and perhaps using medicine or relying on medicine for the wrong reasons. Of course, medicine is also used for an awful lot of good reasons too. I left this job feeling really respectful of psychiatry as a profession.

What piqued your interest about this particular project?

CZJ: Career wise, and I love my job, but it takes a lot for me to leave my kids and leave my husband and leave my dogs, so this had all the elements that got me straight on a plane the moment that Steven asked me to. With the script, all the elements just fell into place. And to work with Steven a third time was an absolute treat and to work with the caliber of actors that he cast so beautifully was a slam-dunk for me really.

JL: It’s unfortunately a rarity to be involved in something intelligent nowadays and this was smart and it felt very timely. Although it takes place ten years ago, it’s incredibly relevant and now. because you’re the right person for the job and trust in them gives you confidence. I like working in New York. New York’s a great town and I got to go home at about three o’clock most days. It was fantastic. It’s also just very enjoyable for audiences and actors alike when you’re in the hands of a film-writer and filmmaker who sort of relish the complexities of humans. I think we get so used to these titles and certain actors playing them, characters that are just one dimension or the good guy, the bad guy and it’s all just so unpredictable. We all know what a mess we all are. Playing those people is fun and very rewarding.

ROONEY MARA: I really wanted to work with him for a while. I can’t remember why I wanted to now that I have, I see why. And then I read the script and I just loved it. I thought it was really smart and interesting and like Jude said that really doesn’t happen that often. The cast that he had attached to it, like they said, it was kind of a no-brainer. I think every job that you do changes or affects you in some way. I certainly went into it thinking I knew a lot about depression and when I started researching it, I realized I didn’t know a lot about depression. Certainly that part of it changed me. I feel like I have a lot more compassion now for depression. I really didn’t understand it before and the time that we spent at Ward’s Island, all of that was very helpful. There are a lot of things that we were able to do that were really eye opening.

Syndicated columnist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]