Contagion Writer Scott Z. Burns Will Be Directing The Side Effects

Scott Z. Burns, who wrote the script for the thriller Contagion, which hits theaters tomorrow, already has his next project set up. The screenwriter is set to direct a psychological thriller set in the world of pharmaceuticals, titled The Side Effects.

Burns told Indiewire that The Side Effects will focus on people and their moods. “It’s about how we as a society can’t tolerate sadness and what that makes us vulnerable to,” he said. The director added that the idea came to him while he was at Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital in New York while doing research for the now-canceled television show Wonderland, which he wrote for.

Along with Wonderland creator Peter Berg, Burns said he visited the hospital every day for months and spoke with the psychiatrists. “I think I learned there that the only way these things really ring true is if you go and roll up your sleeves and get into them very deeply,” he added.

The Side Effects won’t be a horror/procedural about containing a virus like Contagion, Burns added. “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 ‘If that’s the way that society is working how can I manipulate that, how can I use that?,'” he also said.

What do you think of Burns’ plans for The Side Effects, which he said he hopes to start casting later this month. Will it be a hit?