Scratch another potential Mark Wahlberg/David O. Russell reunion off the charts. It looks like the former won't be re-teaming with his Fighter director on The Silver Linings Playbook, due to a scheduling conflict.
Bradley Cooper is the man up to replace Wahlberg in the latest warped dramedy from Russell. Robert De Niro is also circling a role in Silver Linings Playbook, which currently includes Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence as a member of its cast.
According to Deadline, talks are getting underway for both Cooper and De Niro to join Russell's project, which is slated to begin shooting this fall. The production schedule will allow Lawrence to finish her work on The Hunger Games, but ended up forcing Wahlberg to pass on starring.
The sleeper hit Limitless saw Cooper and De Niro match wits in a cat-and-mouse thriller earlier this year, but Silver Linings Playbook is a whole different ballgame. Rather than playing a man with heightened brain function, Cooper would play Pat Peoples - a high school history teacher who is institutionalized after suffering a depression-induced mental breakdown.
Cooper's would-be character is eventually released some four years later and seeks to win back his ex-wife, acting under the delusion that he's been gone for only a few months. Lawrence will play Peoples' neighbor, a young woman "with problems of her own" who gets involved with Pat. There's no word yet on who De Niro is up to play (Cooper's father?).
Despite previous rumors about Angelina Jolie signing on to portray Peoples' estrange spouse in the film, it looks as though that role is up for grabs right now.
Silver Linings Playbook is an adaptation of the novel by Matthew Quick, but it almost sounds like one of Russell's original ideas. It's the sort of offbeat comedy-drama along the lines of his Flirting With Disaster or I Heart Huckabees, which frankly sounds like a better fit for Russell than his version of the Uncharted video game movie adaptation (which is no longer happening). Dysfunctional character pieces are very much the filmmaker's forte, and Silver Linings Playbook should allow him the opportunity to deliver another memorable one.
Throw in Cooper as a nice-but-nuts guy trying to get his life back on track, Lawrence as his awkward love interest, and De Niro starring in anything but another Meet the Parents movie (or New Year's Eve), and Silver Linings Playbook sounds good enough on paper. So long as it doesn't go the route of Russell's now-indefinitely postponed twisted rom-com Nailed, it should work out just fine.
Look for The Silver Linings Playbook to reach theaters by the second half of 2012.