The Fighter was one of the best movies of 2010, and also one of most (pleasantly) surprising. Many expected a traditional sports drama biopic, but instead, quirky auteur David O. Russell delivered a darkly funny look at the life and rise of middleweight boxer "Irish" Micky Ward to the status of champion in the early 2000s.
However, boxing fans know that Micky's rise to champion was only the beginning of his story - which is why Fighter star Mark Wahlberg let it be known early this past spring that The Fighter 2was in the works.
Since that initial reveal by Wahlberg, The Fighter 2has been gradually veering into the fast-track. First we learned that Wahlberg was pushing the project ahead, with plans to reprise his role as Ward; soon after that, we learned that David O. Russell was interested in at least writing the project (if not returning to direct).
Today we have a video clip from the upcoming Spike TV Guys Choice Awards, where The Fighter won an award for "Guy Movie of the Year". Taking to the stage with Russell and the real life Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale's character), Wahlberg used the platform as an appropriate launch pad to announce The Fighter sequel:
"We left out the Aturo Gatti fights for a reason...Because that's for 'Fighter 2'. We're not going to do 'Fighter' 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, but we're gonna do 2. We're gonna do the Ward/Gatti trilogy."
You can watch the full video clip below:
Wahlberg was, of course, a producer on the first Fighter and was really the driving force for getting that movie made . If he's making this announcement at a public event of this nature, consider The Fighter 2 all but greenlit. Hopefully it will be one of those rare sequels that is as awards-worthy - if not more so - than its predecessor (see: The Godfather II).
The only question now is: Will the original cast members all return?
We've stated before that Christian Bale and actress Melissa Leo both have Wahlberg and his passion to make The Fighter to thank for their respective Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress Oscars. I would expect that even if they weren't fully into the idea, a basic sense of loyalty would motivate them to return as Micky's half-brother/trainer, Dicky Eklund, and Micky's mother/manager, Alice Ward. Similarly, Amy Adams has enjoyed a nice career boost since she got her third Best Supporting Actress nomination for playing Micky's girlfriend, Charlene Fleming (see: her role as Lois Lane inMan of Steel). Since her character goes on to become Micky's wife, and was by his side for the Gatti fights, I would expect Adams would have similar incentive to return. But we'll see.
No word yet on when The Fighter 2 will go into production or hit theaters - but considering how busy all of the people involved with the franchise are, and how motivated Wahlberg seems to be, I would expect the film to start ramping up for production sooner before later.
You can catch the Spike TV Guys Choice Awards Friday June 10 @ 9/8c on Spike TV.