By Jen Vineyard | The Playlist January 9, 2012 at 9:57AM
Remember that alleged rift between Mark Wahlberg and David O. Russell? Despite their three films together -- "Three Kings," "I Heart Huckabees," and "The Fighter" -- and Wahlberg being one of the director's main cheerleaders (unlike, say, George Clooney), there may be something to the rumors. The Playlist spoke to Wahlberg last week and when the subject of Russell came up, the actor became quiet and diplomatic.
Asked why Russell is no longer involved in the upcoming Universal action/comedy movie "2 Guns," the actor said Russell, "...had a problem with his draft." And when it comes to the much-talked-about sequel to "The Fighter," Russell is out of the picture, despite his eagerness to write and direct. Wahlberg tells us that they're shopping for someone new as soon as screenwriter Scott Silver delivers his script. "We got to do that film before I get too old," Wahlberg said, "so maybe in the next year, year and a half. We have to wait for the script, and then we'll choose a director."
At the very least, Wahlberg has a new helmer he'd like to champion: his "Contraband" director, Baltasar Kormákur, who starred in the Icelandic film "Reykjavik-Rotterdam," the movie "Contraband" is based on, and who will be directing "2 Guns" next. Wahlberg has been instrumental in getting the Icelandic actor/director some stateside attention -- in this case, hooking him up with producer Marc Platt so the two of them can continue working together and potentially beat each other up one day.
"I thought, 'Wow, Balt's a talented guy,'" Wahlberg said. "I'd love to be involved with anything he does, either as an actor or a director. He's so hands-on. He would even try to show me how to do the stunts, but he's clumsy, so he would bang his head on the cement! And he'd be like, 'Don't worry.' He's kooky. He can do anything. I'd love to do a fight scene with him someday -- he looks like he can take me. I can see it his eyes, that glimmer, when you're beating the crap out of somebody? He makes it real. So he's a great man, a great friend, a great colleague. I want to be attached at the hip with him."
Based on the graphic novel by Steven Grant, the film would follow two lawmen—a DEA agent and an undercover naval officer—who investigate each other as each have been tasked to steal mob money. It's very much a buddy picture -- Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson have been tossed around as potential co-stars at various points -- but Wahlberg promises we'll like who he has lined up, should everything come together. Wahlberg said the hope is to start shooting "2 Guns" this spring, depending on if who they want accepts the offer to co-star, and if that fit his schedule. "I can't say yet, but it's someone special," he said. "But if he wants to wait, he could do it at the beginning of summer."
For now, you can see the Kormakur/Wahlberg magic in "Contraband," when it opens this Friday.