There was a time when it seemed that Mark Wahlberg was going to star in every upcoming David O. Russell film, including The Silver Linings Playbook, Uncharted, Cocaine Cowboys, and The Fighter 2. It’s all-but-official that the duo had a falling out after Russell decided to cast Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook (rather than Wahlberg); regardless, the pair for certain won’t be working on any of the other above-mentioned projects in the near future.
Russell and Cooper, on the other hand, have a newfound working relationship going. The director-actor duo are collaborating next on a tentatively-untitled film about the ABSCAM scandal (with Amy Adams costarring) – and now, Russell has his eye on helming Cooper’s American Sniper thereafter.
Silver Linings Playbook premiered to critical raves this past week at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Russell revealed he’s been wanting to work with Cooper – going back to when the filmmaker was attached to the currently-dormant Pride and Prejudice and Zombies adaptation. Russell told THR he’s discussed American Sniper with Cooper, saying that he’s “really excited to work with [Cooper] again. He is like an athlete who wants to burst out of the blocks and wants to stretch in all these new ways.”
American Sniper is based on onetime Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s best-selling memoir “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.” The book is primarily a first-person account of how Kyle racked up the highest number of sniper kills for an American. However, the passages from Kyle’s POV are juxtaposed with segments narrated by Kyle’s wife, who struggles to deal with her husband’s diminishing affections (and increased focus on warfare).
Cooper purchased the film rights to American Sniper through his 22nd & Indiana company earlier this year. The script is being penned by Jason Dean Hall, the writer behind the Ashton Kutcher sex dramedy Spread as well as the upcoming Liam Hemsworth thriller Paranoia. However, if Russell does sign as director for American Sniper, there is a good chance he will so some re-writing of Hall’s script draft.
Russell’s quirky artistic sensibilities made him an ingenious fit for the larger-than-life true story of boxer Micky Ward and his dysfunctional family in The Fighter. Both the ABSCAM flick and American Sniper likewise draw from stranger-than-fiction subject matter – hence, the movies become all the more unpredictable (and, in turn, entertaining) in Russell’s capable hands. Of course, the filmmaker’s eccentric temperament and behavior have also contributed to his professional life being as erratic as the lives of his films’ characters.
That’s to say: for all we know, Russell could be headed in a different direction by this time next year – as was the case in 2011, when he had those aforementioned Wahlberg collaborations developing. Nonetheless, positive buzz on Silver Linings Playbook has us hoping the Russell-Cooper team stays together in the foreseeable future.
More on American Sniper as the story develops.