David O. Russell Could Make ‘Cocaine Cowboys’ Before ‘Uncharted’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 24th, 2013 at 11:03 am,

David O. Russell and Mark Wahlberg are seemingly on their way to becoming the next Scorsese/De Niro (or Scorsese/DiCaprio) of director and actor duos. Their most recent collaboration, The Fighter, is gunning to walk away with at least one, possibly two, acting awards at Sunday’s Oscar ceremony, and the pair look set to work together again on the Uncharted movie adaptation.

Now comes word from Russell himself about another project with Wahlberg, titled Cocaine Cowboys – one that may come to fruition before these fellows begin production on their video game flick.

Cocaine Cowboys is based off a 2006 documentary of the same name, and was at one point set to star Leonardo DiCaprio, with Peter Berg (Hancock) in the director’s chair. The pic tells the tale of Jon Roberts, a New Yorker who set himself up as head of a powerful drug cartel in Miami back in the 1970s. Between possibly playing Roberts and his role in Boogie Nights, it seems that Wahlberg was up to a good deal of debauchery back in the day – as far as his onscreen persona goes, of course. icon wink David O. Russell Could Make Cocaine Cowboys Before Uncharted

The Playlist caught up with Russell recently at the ACE Eddie Awards, where the filmmaker mentioned Cocaine Cowboys as potentially being his and Wahlberg’s followup to The Fighter. That’s assuming he doesn’t decide to do Uncharted or the comic book pic 2 Guns or resurrect his planned comedic teamup with Vince Vaughn on Old St. Louis – OR direct an in-development project titled The Silver Linings Playbook first. Russell certainly deserves props for keeping his options open, if nothing else.

On the topic of his big screen treatment of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Russell told The Playlist that “I’m really digging it, I think the story’s coming together in a really intense cool way.” Fans have been quite outspoken over the casting of Wahlberg as Nathan Drake and Russell’s plans to deviate rather significantly from the plot of the original games, but the filmmaker himself has gone ahead and spoken out about the negative reaction to his ideas.

Video game movies have an undeniably poor track record, so it’s hard to argue that Russell’s “different” approach is a breakaway from a tried and true tradition. Wahlberg may seem a poor fit to play a treasure hunter cut from the same block of wood as Indiana Jones, but presumably Russell wants him onboard for a good reason – and the quality of his previous films suggests that he knows what he’s doing.

It’s also possible that if Russell and Wahlberg decide to team up for Cocaine Cowboys before Uncharted, the direction of the video game pic might change altogether. Recall that last fall Russell dropped out of negotiations to helm Uncharted and was moving forward with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, only to thereafter abandon that genre mashup and officially sign on for the adaptation of Drake’s Fortune instead.

We’ll just have to wait and see if all that turns out to be much ado about nothing, and Russell decides to move forward next with something other than Uncharted anyway.

Wahlberg previously mentioned that Uncharted could begin production by this summer, if Russell ends up being so inclined. A dramatized version of Cocaine Cowboys would presumably not begin filming quite so soon if Wahlberg and Russell select that as their joint effort, and the same goes for the other in-development projects to which Russell is loosely attached.

We’ll let you know when Russell makes an official decision about his next movie.

Source: The Playlist

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  1. I am very very curious to see what he does next.
    I hope all of this doesnt delay Uncharted.
    I am really psyched about it now .

  2. anything that moves him farther away from Uncharted is great

    • anything that moves him further from filmmaking in general might just be best of all…

  3. Anything that moves him closer to Uncharted is even better.

    • ? What ?

  4. While I do understand (and can appreciate) a director working with his favorite, like a director and his muse of sorts, I am getting tired of the Russell-Wahlberg pairings because it seems more like one small step removed from nepotism, two best buddies movies together, rather than a director picking an actor appropriate for the movies he’s making.

    Tim Burton has his Johnny Depp, but Depp was the right person for virtually all those roles (I have not seen the Alice in Wonderland movie).

    But Wahlberg just isn’t that good of an actor. In The Fighter (also by Russell), he was outshined by Bale, Leo and Adams…

    And now he’s going to be in Russell’s Uncharted, and Russell’s Cocaine Cowboys? They must really be the BESTEST of friends. Are they in love with each other? :)

    I wouldn’t mind, again, if Wahlberg were right for the roles, but it seems like that’s not even coming into consideration.

    “Hey, good buddy, I’m making a movie, and guess who I’m going to cast in the lead?!?”

    “What’s the movie about?

    “Doesn’t matter, you’re still going to be the lead!!”


    Also, been awhile since I’ve seen it, but I thought Cocaine Cowboys was about the 1980s cocaine trade in Miami, the brutal drug battles that spawned the Miami Vice TV show.

    I really like that documentary, and I don’t think Wahlberg is right for the role. But, doesn’t matter, does it? Russell has his best best best buddy, and he’s going to pick him no matter what.

    • I always thought the Cocain cowboys was the documentary on how bush sr and his cia cronies smuggled in cocain to fund their war/drug agenda during the 80′s?

      • I guess there’s more than one (or two) documentaries that go by the name Cocaine Cowboys. I guess cocaine is that pervasive and wide-spread of a drug.

        • Oh yeah. The cia smuggled cocain into the us to fund a lot of black projects.

          So I’ve heard,,,

      • That’s intelligent 790. Glad to see people taking time to research and learn an issue before letting their words flop from their lips. ;)

  5. Didnt Bale Himself say that Wahlberg had the harder role in The
    He also fighter, because he was playing the stoic part and they always get ignored ?
    He also said that having Wahlberg as his co star made his performance BETTER!

    • It could be that Bale said that (and honestly meant it, not just delivering platitudes), but a good actor can handle a stoic role. While, yes, actors who play stoic roles don’t often get recognized, compared to those with more flashy, melodramatic roles, I still think that Bale could have handled Micky Ward better than Wahlberg did.

      Look at Bale as Batman, another stoic character. I just can’t see Wahlberg being that convincing there.

      When, in that oft-shown scene with Micky talking to Dicky at the prison, and Wahlberg’s standing up, talking angrily, I could see he was acting, he made me think of his pop-rap days. I wasn’t convinced by his acting.

  6. ok didnt anyone notice how walberg is the only leading star in that film not to get a nomination for their performace? face it man walberg is a joke

    • That does suck when a movie is looked at as your pet project, as your personal vehicle, but then you’re outshined by the other primary characters.

      I don’t live and breath by what the Academy does, but Melissa Leo, Amy Adams and Christian Bale all out-acted Wahlberg.

      In a biopic, good actors — even if they’re famous — can make me believe I’m seeing the real thing on screen. I never got that from Wahlberg’s performance.

  7. Russell seems to have a serious man-crush on Whalberg. Maybe he’s the only actor Russell hasn’t yelled at or almost got into a fist fight with, cause Whalberg would whoop his arse lol.

    • Russell is one of the few guys on this earth that I would hit repeatedly in the face, can’t stand the dude.

  8. His brother is a better actor than he is. But hey talent takes a back seat to physical form.