October 19, 2011
David O. Russell being David O. Russell
I just heard about the surprising, but probably inevitable, destruction of the friendship between writer/director and Level 10 Tantrum Thrower David O. Russell and his frequent collaborator Mark Wahlberg. Russell hasn't made a lot of friends in Hollywood, and since his screaming matches with Lily Tomlin got out, many people probably think he's borderline mentally ill.
But Mark Wahlberg has stood by him ever since starring in Three Kings (probably Russell's best movie, looking back on his career.) He was, in my opinion, the only really excellent thing about the confusing and uneven I Heart Huckabees, and it's because Wahlberg wanted him that Russell got to direct his biggest hit, The Fighter, after the original director Darren Aronofsky dropped out.
Now that he's back on top and has lots of movies lined up, David O. Russell decided he would rather not cast Wahlberg in their next project, The Silver Linings Playbook, but would instead go with the cheaper and less talented Bradley Cooper. The story about the ensuing friendship-destroying fight came from Russell's cousin, Matt Muzio, who has appeared briefly in some of his movies and, interestingly, also had a recent fallout with Russell.
This Silver Linings movie is about a guy returning home after years in a mental institution and trying to piece his life back together with his parents and ex-wife. Robert DeNiro and Jackie Weaver (the evil grandmother from last year's Australian gangster movie Animal Kingdom) play the parents, but get this: Jennifer Lawrence plays the ex-wife. 21 year-old Jennifer Lawrence. She's a full 20 years younger than Mark Wahlberg (15 years younger than Brad Cooper), and her character would have theoretically married him when she was a teenager. Not sure why Russell decided to cast such a broken down old hag for that role--was Elle Fanning not available?
Other projects that Russell and Wahlberg had been planning together are now in question, like Cocaine Cowboys, an adaptation of the 2006 documentary, and what sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, The Fighter 2. I can't believe this movie was actually going to get made, which probably explains why I will never get hired by a movie studio. When a $25 million movie brings in $130 million, you ALWAYS DO A SEQUEL.
I feel bad for poor jilted Mark Wahlberg, but I guess this is what happens when you throw in your lot with a creative partner who drove James Caan from the set of the never-released Nailed because of a fight about whether it's possible to choke on a cookie and cough at the same time.
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