With “The Fighter” now on DVD/Blu-ray it’s fairly safe to say most people have seen it at least once by now. (The film actually plays better the second time.) The true story of underdog boxer Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his somewhat dysfunctional family was nominated for a ton of awards and ended up just shy of $100 million at the U.S. box office. But the real underdog story is the resurrection of director David O. Russell‘s career. After an unintentional six-year hiatus (where he eventually abandoned his troubled political satire “Nailed“), the writer/director reunited with his pal Wahlberg to take on “The Fighter” after filmmaker Darren Aronofsky left the project.
Though he helped develop the story, switching the focus from the drug escapades of Christian Bale‘s character to the strong female characters in the family, it was his first film without a writing credit. But with “The Fighter” proving his biggest box office and critical success along with Oscar wins for co-stars Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, Russell has his pick of potential follow-up projects. (Of which there are many.)
One of those projects is a proposed sequel to “The Fighter,” potentially focusing on Ward’s three legendary fights with Arturo Gatti. Walberg recently talked up the potential for a sequel and it seems like Russell would be game. In an interview with MTV News the director says, “I think that would be awesome, I just love those characters and I think we could do a lot of fun and interesting stuff.” Though the project is “in its infancy” (and likely wouldn’t be first on his plate), the director said he would do it “whenever anyone says they’re ready, I’m ready to write it.” When asked if that meant he would take over scripting duties as well, he said he would “definitely want to be involved in that,” which isn’t really surprising.
Russell is an auteur who likes to have full control over his projects, so even though taking this directing-only gig ended up panning out so well, we can’t see him sitting in the backseat on all his future projects. Describing the story, he said “I think Micky’s story has a lot of heart whichever way you cut it. You’d go towards the Gatti fights and you could go into the history of the family more. I really like the sisters.”
However, Russell has a lot of films on his docket. Will we ever see this film, let alone soon? It remains to be seen frankly, but then again, between 2005 and 2010 Russell attached himself to several projects that seemed like they would run before “The Fighter” and they fell by the wayside, so anything’s possible.