Judging by the list of upcoming projects that David O. Russell is either loosely attached to or is eying as his next directorial effort, the Fighter filmmaker is one of the would-be hardest workers in showbiz. Now he’s reportedly being set up to helm a biopic about infamous exploitation B-movie auteur, Russ Meyer.
Fox Searchlight is negotiating to acquire a package that would see Russell direct a feature about Meyer’s life, based off a screenplay by Russell’s former assistant on Three Kings, Merritt Johnson – who’s since scripted the acclaimed Temple Grandin for HBO and the in-development Lovelace biopic.
Creator of such infamous titles like Super Vixens and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (which Quentin Tarantino has spoken of remaking in the past), Meyer rose to prominence as a grindhouse filmmaker during the counter-cultural movement of the 1960s. Jimmy McDonough’s novel, Big Bosoms And Square Jaws: The Biography Of Russ Meyer, King Of The Sex Film recounts Meyer’s colorful life in vivid detail, and will be the basis for Johnson’s screenplay.
Deadline says the rights to McDonough’s literary work have yet to be acquired, but Russell is more the wild card here. He could still feasibly begin shooting Uncharted with Mark Wahlberg before the year is out, and has recently been connected to projects like the comic book flick 2 Guns, the Will Smith vehicle Joe, a narrative film adaptation of the documentary Cocaine Cowboys, and an adaptation of the novel The Silver Lining’s Playbook.
That’s not to mention a sequel to The Fighter, which Russell’s new BFF and go-to leading man (Mark Wahlberg) has been pushing to happen sooner rather than later.
The Cocaine Cowboys movie seems less likely to happen now that HBO’s TV series adaptation is moving forward, and The Fighter 2 (pardon the pun) isn’t really a contender to become Russell’s next directorial effort, for the time being. Sony likely isn’t planning for production on Joe to start too soon, given Smith’s upcoming work schedule, and 2 Guns would have to be re-written by Russell before filming actually begins.
Russell’s been most vocal about his enthusiasm for the Uncharted video game adaptation (despite fan reactions to the project) and has seemingly been developing the script for a while now. On the other hand, Russell reportedly completed and fine-tuned the screenplay for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies before he decided to leave that project. So there’s no guarantee that he will end up bringing his unique vision of the Drake family to the big screen.
His commitment to Uncharted seems pretty solid for the time being – and seeing how the project is a potentially lucrative undertaking with a built-in fan base, studio heads are probably hoping to see Russell move forward with that cinematic venture first.
Some may recall that Russell has only directed three features over the past twelve years – Three Kings in 1999, I Heart Huckabees in 2004, and The Fighter in 2010 – so he’s obviously a bit selective about which projects he ultimately signs up for. A biopic about Russ Meyer would fit Russell’s artistic sensibilities well, but so would a number of the aforementioned in-development titles.
Russell will eventually have to make a final decision – we’ll let you know when that happens.