After the debacle that was the “I Heart Huckabees” video leak, and the financially compromised “Nailed” — which he eventually took his name off of — director David O. Russell is bouncing off the ropes hard and having quite the comeback in 2010 with the winning boxing tale, “The Fighter” starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale.
The drama, surprisingly sweet and funny, is definitely vying for one of the 10 Best Picture Oscar slots, and looks to be a surefire acting nom for Bale and Melissa Leo. The picture could even earn Russell a nod and the suddenly hot director is apparently looking to fill his dance card for the next few years. It seemed all was set for his next project to be the “Indiana Jones”-like “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune,” once again teaming the director up with Wahlberg (this would be their 4th collaboration which also includes “Three Kings“), but recent casting news might put another project at the front.
Showbizz 411 reports that “Love And Other Drugs” star Anne Hathaway has quietly signed on to the project, “The Silver Linings Playbook,” a comedic drama that Russell and the Weinstein Company officially backed in March of 2009 (though both parties were interested for a year before that). Though Showbiz’s Roger Friedman might have his wires crossed (certainly wouldn’t be the first time), as he says “The Silver Linings Playbook,” is next, but in recent interviews Wahlberg has said ‘Uncharted’ hopes to shoot this summer. Conversely, Russell says the script is only half-way complete so perhaps it is possible that ‘Silver Linings’ may actually come next.
Based on Matthew Quick‘s debut novel, ‘Silver Linings’ is the story of Pat Peoples, a former high school teacher who, after being released from a four-year stint in a mental institution, moves back in with his mother; he then seeks to remake himself in the hopes of reconciling with his ex-wife. Hathaway would play the kooky neighbor, whom Peoples becomes romantically involved with instead and apparently Bradley Cooper is being “wooed” for the male lead. In 2008, it was reported that Russell was adapting the script himself and the quirky characters of this offbeat tale seem very much in his wheelhouse (though he does have an ease with several genres it seems). The other major piece of casting would be the mother. Showbiz elects Jane Fonda, but after her tremendous turn in “The Fighter” — and the two talents apparently displaying a high affinity for one another — it would seem obvious to us that the filmmaker would utilize Melissa Leo once again. But that’s obviously just an educated guess.
Russell recently copped to his ADD-ness in an LA Times interview, but that still appears to be his project m.o. Within the span of five months this year, starting in July, Russell attached himself to four new projects, chief of all of them being, “Old St. Louis,” starring Vince Vaughn, Scarlett Johansson and Chloe Moretz. The tale about a divorced traveling toy salesman (Vaughn) who reconnects with his teen daughter (Moretz) after years on the road. With Scarjo as the romantic interest, the project seemed ready to go for the spring of 2011. Russell even exited his directorial duties on “Pride And Prejudice And Zombies” to take the gig, but Johansson bailed and it seems perhaps the heat on the project fizzled shortly thereafter. Several projects followed, a Dirty Harry-style action drama with “Three Kings” star Ice Cube, a potential comedy with Jim Carrey and of course he officially signed on to ‘Drake’s Fortune’ for Sony.
That’s all a longwinded way of saying, David O. Russell attaches himself to many, many projects, but clearly not all of them are actually made. Our bet is Sony has more clout than TWC to get ‘Drake’ started than Harvey has for ‘Silver Linings,’ but our answer will come tomorrow when we finally get a chance to speak to the director ourselves.