Thanks to a string of Oscar nominated films this decade - including The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle - director David O. Russell has become one of the biggest names in the industry. Due to his sustained hot streak of critical and box office success, he's arguably one of the few filmmakers out there with the clout to handpick his next project. It's safe to say that his fan base has grown exponentially over the last handful of years, and many viewers are interested in seeing what he does in the future.
It's not out of the ordinary for Hollywood heavyweights to lend their talents to TV series. Martin Scorsese has helmed episodes of Boardwalk Empire and Vinyl. David Fincher directed two chapters of House of Cards in 2013. Now, Russell is aiming to be the latest auteur to make the jump to the small screen, attracting a highly impressive cast for a show he's developing.
According to THR (via The Playlist), Russell (who would direct) is in the process of getting the pieces in place for a limited series that would star Academy Award winners Robert De Niro (who has worked with Russell three times) and Julianne Moore. Megan Ellison is on board as a producer. The program is allegedly generating a substantial amount of buzz already, which is understandable given the amount of pedigree involved.
Details are hard to come by right now, but the series is said to be in the vein of something like Fargo or True Detective: a serialized anthology show that can change from season to season. The first go-around is said to be a cop/crime thriller set in the 1990s. Russell should start pitching the idea to interested networks and streaming services when he gets back from vacation next week. It wouldn't be surprising if a heated bidding war ensued once that process started, since this has a lot of potential on-paper.
Throughout his career, Russell has shown an adeptness at working in a variety of genres, such as war (Three Kings) and romantic dramedy (Silver Linings Playbook). He proved himself in the realm of crime with American Hustle, which was very reminiscent of a Scorsese picture in some regards. As such, he should be a great choice to direct this TV series, having the freedom of multiple episodes to flesh out his characters and explore themes. It's hard to go wrong with the actors as well; some of De Niro's best work recently has come under the guidance of Russell, and Moore's résumé is chock full of powerful performances. Russell's last four features have combined to earn 12 Oscar nods for acting, so chances are De Niro and Moore are putting together Emmy campaigns soon.
Some viewers may be disappointed that Russell isn't working on another film, but this TV series should be a worthwhile endeavor when it's all said and done. The concept sounds intriguing enough and perhaps the director could benefit from some time away from the movies. Last year's Joy was seen as one of his lesser efforts (despite earning Jennifer Lawrence a Best Actress nomination), so playing on the small screen should be a refreshing change-of-pace. Russell will be back at the multiplex soon enough. If this is what he wants to do next, he's earned that right.
We'll keep you updated on the untitled David O. Russell TV series as more information becomes available.