Mark Wahlberg won't be available to play a delusional history teacher in David O. Russell's The Silver Linings Playbook - because he'll be too busy playing detective in Allen Hughes' upcoming Noir drama, Broken City.
Hughes and his sibling, Albert, were previously involved with Warner Bros.' live-action adaptation of Akira, but the latter dropped out of directing that much-ballyhooed project a couple months back. Now the two are working on similarly-titled indie flicks, Broken City and Motor City, respectively.
Deadline has learned that Russell Crowe is the new addition to Allen Hughes' Broken City, which begins production this November. The project is based on Brian Tucker's Blacklisted script and will be co-produced by Wahlberg and fellow Entourage/Boardwalk Empire producer, Stephen Levinson.
Broken City will revolve around Wahlberg's Billy Taggart, a former cop-turned-private-eye who is hired by the mayor of New York City (Crowe) to investigate the latter's wife, who may be having an affair. Taggart ends up confirming said suspicions, but also gets caught up in a tangled web of political corruption, real estate scandals, and underhanded dealings when the mayor's wife's lover turns up dead.
Crowe hasn't had a solid box office hit since American Gangster in 2007, and his last starring vehicle, The Next Three Days, came and went last fall with very little fanfare. However, his fortunes should turn around a bit in the future, between his upcoming lead roles in Broken City and The Man With the Iron Fists - and, of course, his supporting role as Jor-El in Zack Snyder's Superman reboot, Man of Steel.
It's kind of a shame that Crowe won't be playing Taggert in Broken City, though, since that part would've found him getting back into L.A. Confidential and American Gangster form. Then again, Wahlberg hasn't struggled to convincingly play world-weary lawmen before (see: The Departed), so Hughes' film should benefit from Wahlberg's cop being pitted against Crowes' corrupt politician.
There are definitely elements of thrillers like State of Play (which starred Crowe) and neo-Noir titles like the Coen Brothers' Blood Simple in that Broken City plot synopsis. Sounds like the sort of dark crime tale that should be a nice match for Hughes' sensibilities, going off his work in films like Menace II Society and Dead Presidents.
We'll keep you posted on the status of Broken City as more information is released.