By Simon Dang | The Playlist September 10, 2012 at 9:20AM
After the overwhelming success of "The Fighter," it looked the bromance between David O. Russell and Mark Wahlberg that began with "Three Kings" and was followed up with "I Heart Huckabees" was as strong as ever, with the two immediately planning to reunite for an adaptation of "The Silver Linings Playbook."
Not long after, however, there seemed to be trouble in paradise, with rumors of a rift as Wahlberg exited the latter project, replaced Russell with his "Contraband" helmer Baltasar Kormákur for "2 Guns," and discussed with us about looking for a new director on a 'Fighter' sequel. Whatever happened the two, Russell quickly moved on finding a replacement for 'Silver Linings' in Bradley Cooper -- with whom he's had "a bunch of meetings [with] over the years -- who also went on to take a place in Russell's next project, an untitled political thriller formerly known as "American Bullshit," co-starring Jeremy Renner and Amy Adams.
Russell and Cooper are now reveling in the critical success of 'Silver Linings' after its premiere at TIFF over the weekend and, beyond "American Bullshit," the pair seem to plotting more even projects together. Speaking to THR, Russell revealed that they have "also discussed 'American Sniper,' a property Bradley has acquired. I'm really excited to work with him again. He is like an athlete who wants to burst out of the blocks and wants to stretch in all these new ways."
An autobiography of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, Cooper acquired the rights through his 22nd & Indiana shingle, and had been eyeing the leading role for the story of ten-year sniper Kyle with the title of most kills in Army history, which itself led to Iraqi insurgents placing a bounty on his head. The script comes by way of Jason Deal Hall ("Spread," "Paranoia") for what would no doubt be an interesting return to war in the Middle East for Russell after "Three Kings."
Another project that had once been touted as a teaming between the two was "The Bends," a script which the writer-helmer describes as "a kind of cousin to 'Vertigo.'" Russell notes that the script is "still around" but it was first brought up a while back now, possibly around the time, Russell confirms, they were planning to adapt Seth Grahame-Smith's "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" together.
A glance over Russell's IMDB page or his tag on our site will show that he's juggling quite a few projects, with planned reteamings with many of his previous collaborators. We're sure these two projects are simply two more on his pile, but it's safe to say that Russell and Cooper, two talents with increasingly larger profiles, have found new muses in one another. And Russell reveals he's had his eye on his new leading man for some time.
"I knew he had this anger and this edge from the characters he played around 'Wedding Crashers,'" Russell elaborated. "He had a sort of intensity and broodingness that was palpable. You could feel that in him. And we talked about how that had been something he had been through and had since moved beyond in many ways -- he now is a very sincere, open and vulnerable person -- and I thought that was an interesting combination."