By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist May 26, 2011 at 8:40AM
What is going on today? Is it the upcoming Memorial Day weekend that has director's wanting to clear out the projects they no longer want to do? After all, how fun is it to enjoy a BBQ with some nagging movie project in the back of your mind. Just moments after it was revealed that Albert Hughes bounced from "Akira," Deadline reports that David O. Russell has left the director's chair for "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune."
The move comes as a bit of surprise considering how much heat had built up around the project. As recently as February, the director was saying he liked Scarlett Johansson (whom he nearly made aborted "Old St. Louis" with) for the role of Elena in the movie that already had Mark Wahlberg, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci linked to the film. In December the director said the script was halfway done but if we were betting men, we'd wager another project has taken a much bigger priority for Russell.
A few months ago, we caught up with the director at the ACE Eddie Awards and he said, “I’m working on 'Drake’s Fortune' right now. I’m really digging it, I think the story’s coming together in a really intense cool way, and I also have a project with the Weinsteins called ‘The Silver Linings Playbook’ and I might also work on something at Universal called ‘Two Guns’ so those are the things I’m looking at right now, I might also do something called ‘Cocaine Cowboys’ with Mark Wahlberg so there’s lots of things we’re looking at.”
With Mark Wahlberg recently joining "The Silver Linings Playbook" and kickstarting that long-gestating project back to life, we'd guess that Russell is now putting his full attention on re-teaming with his frequent collaborator and "The Fighter" star, and that the video game adaptation has lost his interest. Frankly, we're kind of glad. It seemed like an odd mainstream move for the director and after the awards season heat and box office success of "The Fighter," he likely finds himself in a similar position as Darren Aronofsky and "The Wolverine" in no longer needing the validation of a big studio film. But according to THR, he didn't do himself any favors either.
The trade reports that Russell apparently submitted a 200-page script with a bunch of characters that aren't in the game. Of course, Russell had already revealed last year he was deviating from the game so we're not sure how this surprised anybody. But if there were concerns, the "Heaven's Gate" length script probably put them over the top.
Of course, what he goes to next is not confirmed but as far as educated guesses go, we'd put our money on that one. Of course, he's been linked to a handful of projects recently, including the aforementioned "Cocaine Cowboys" and biopics of Russ Meyer and politician Buddy Cianci.
As for 'Uncharted,' the movie is still in the works and a new writer will be found to get a new draft of the film in shape.