David O. Russell has come a long way since his Flirting With Disaster days; he’s transitioned from satirical cynic to awards season darling, beginning with 2010’s The Fighter and continuing with last year’s critically beloved Silver Linings Playbook. This year, his latest film, the already buzzed-over American Hustle, should keep him more than visible to industry luminaries and press for the next few months and solidify his position as an Oscar-caliber talent. But what if he took all of the clout earned through his Academy success and made a horror movie?
More accurately, what if Russell wrote a treatment for a horror movie and passed it off to Hostel mastermind Eli Roth to direct? If that sounds like the most bizarre scenario possible for Russell at this point in his career, it’s also (reportedly) totally true: Russell has penned a horror screenplay, and Roth might take the helm for the project should it ever receive a green light. What, exactly, that movie would be about is a mystery of its own, but the very idea of Russell and Roth teaming up is noteworthy in and of itself.
The news comes to us courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter. According to a round table interview with THR, the ever-industrious Russell cobbled together a number of as-yet (for the most part) unproduced scripts in the years following I Heart Huckabees (the film that ultimately led to a quiet period in Russell’s directorial work), many in styles and genres that he doesn’t generally work in; among those is a time travel movie and the aforementioned horror movie. Here’s the direct quote from Russell:
Well it’ll be coupled with Eli Roth, that’s exciting to me. Cause I had to write to support myself. So I wrote a horror for producer Colleen Camp, a horror film that I thought was interesting. And Eli thinks its interesting, I think he’s going to make it more interesting. It’s emotional, it’s also… we’ll see. It’s also…I don’t wanna say anything more, I’ll let Eli talk about it.
No doubt about it, a horror movie by David O. Russell is a novel concept. Given his proclivities toward intellectual banter, cultural critique, and black comedy, it’s possible to get a vague idea of how that movie could possibly play out; when Russell’s inclinations as a writer collide with Roth’s flourishes as a maestro of gore, though, that potential becomes completely skewed. How do these two filmmakers manage to meet halfway, or meld their very disparate styles together?
In truth, they’re not that far removed from one another in terms of interests, despite the genre gap between their respective filmographies. While they’ve both spent their days playing in different sandboxes, they’re both cheeky as far as their respective senses of humor go, and they make a habit of injecting doses of social commentary into nearly everything that they do. Could be that this union makes a lot more sense in practice than on paper.
In the meantime, Russell looks to be keeping busy thanks to American Hustle, as well as his adaptation of Legacy of Secrecy, the non-fiction book covering the JFK assassination; Roth, on the other hand, has been doing the rounds with The Green Inferno, his take on the jungle cannibal horror sub-genre. We’ll wait and see where they go with this little development in the meantime. What do you think, Screen Ranters? Is this an unexpected dream team, or should Russell and Roth stick to working on their own material?
American Hustle arrives in US theaters on December 18, 2013; The Green Inferno doesn’t yet have a theatrical release date.