As David O. Russell's long developing "The Silver Linings Playbook" now rolls in front of cameras, he's added one more to the cast. Variety reports that respected theater actor John Ortiz -- who has made appearances in "Fast & Furious," "Jack Goes Boating" and "Public Enemies" among others -- has joined the film playing lead Bradley Cooper's best buddy.
To refresh your memory, the story centers on Pat Peoples (Cooper), a former high school teacher who, after being released from a four-year stint in a mental institution, moves back in with his mother; he then seeks to remake himself, finding the titular silver linings in his life. Jennifer Lawrence will play the love interest for Pat, with Julia Stiles as her older sister. Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro also star in the film, with things rounded out by motormouth Chris Tucker who is taking his first step into a non-blockbuster movie probably because he just lost his house. He plays Cooper's other good friend, who resides in the mental hospital but breaks out to visit him. But the real story here is that this film may mark the undoing of the personal and professional relationship between Russell and the film's original star, Mark Wahlberg.
In August, there was an abrupt and somewhat surprising announcement that Cooper would be replacing Wahlberg in the film, and the reason offered up was due to ye olde "scheduling conflicts." But apparently, the reasons were a bit more complicated.
At one point late last year, Anne Hathaway's name was being tossed around as a possible contender for the role that eventually went to Lawrence. According to The Wrap, who have received their intel from Matt Muzio -- Russell’s cousin who has had tiny non-speaking roles in "The Fighter" and "I Heart Huckabees" -- Wahlberg had a deal in place that if Hathaway wasn't cast, he would receive $900,000 on top of his fee for the movie. Obviously, Hathaway didn't sign on, suddenly making Wahlberg even more expensive for the production and the word is that Cooper (who was also rumored as far back as last year) wound up with the lead because he was the cheaper option.
“They went with Brad Cooper because they felt he was hungrier and would work for cheaper,” Muzio claims. Apparently Wahlberg felt betrayed by Russell, particularly after he picked him for "The Fighter" which became a box office and Oscar awards success, and essentially reinvigorated his career. “If it weren’t for ‘The Fighter,’ ‘Silver Linings’ wouldn’t exist,” Muzio said. So was it an act of retribution when Wahlberg signed on for "2 Guns" barely a week after Cooper took 'Silver Linings' and dumping the previously attached Russell and assigning the job to his "Contraband" director Baltasar Kormakur?
So is there now static between these two guys? Guess we'll find out soon enough. It also should be noted that Muzio has apparently fallen out with Russell so he may have his own reasons for having spilled all this to The Wrap. Maybe these two dudes can get together and hash things out over a few Wahlburgers.