By Edward Davis | The Playlist April 12, 2013 at 11:54AM
"They're all going to do things we haven't seen them do in this movie, it's going to be very exciting. Jeremy Renner's going to be like you've never seen him. Bradley Cooper’s going to be like you never seen him. Christian Bale's going to be like you've never seen him before,” David O. Russell told us late last year when we spoke to him during “Silver Linings Playbook” press rounds about his currently-filming, still-untitled, based-on-a-true-story FBI ABSCAM drama/dramedy (or maybe full-on comedy?) Russell added, “they're all playing real-life characters from the ‘70s and they're very intense in an insane drama."
However, the ABSCAM sting used a fake Arab sheik and a host of other cunning tricks to bring down corrupt public officials and members of Congress in 1970s New York, and like all his films, Russell said it would blend drama and humor. "In real life, these things are stranger than fiction so there has to be a lot of comedy in them,” he said. “Some of my favorite films by the Coen Brothers or by Scorsese or Tarantino, those pictures are both really emotional, intense, and they're also funny and from a place of realness.”
He wasn’t kidding. Set photos from the film have been appearing online on a daily basis and they point at some rather hilarious-looking antics. The cast -- Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams, Louis C.K. and Jennifer Lawrence, Alessandro Nivola, Robert De Niro, Michael Pena Elisabeth Röhm, and “Boardwalk Empire” star Jack Huston -- is outrageously good. But you can’t look at these photos and possibly think Oscar-winning drama, right? The first comedy to win Best Picture since “Annie Hall”? Discuss.
Batman plays Melvin Weinberg, cocky financial con artist, hired by the FBI to help plan and conduct the ABSCAM sting operation (it's a contraction of "Abdul scam,” named after its fictitious front company). That’s a righteous comb-over. Is Bale pulling a “Carlito’s Way” Sean Penn?
The “Hunger Games” actress plays Bale’s wife, complete with a neckbrace and Dinah Shore sunglasses.
Check out that Liberace bouffant! Renner plays the keepin’-it-classy New Jersey State Senator Angelo Errichetti and... we won’t give away too much else on his character.
Bradley Cooper aka Disco Stu
Cooper plays the determined, but less-than-competent Jimmy Boyle (who seems to be more of a composite character than one based in real life) the FBI mastermind agent who busts Weinberg (Bale) and then enlists him to turn informant in his sting operation. That’s a tasty perm Cooper’s got going there.
While Adams, who plays Bale’s mistress/partner in crime Max Gardner looks fairly normal (what we can see of her under that mop) in some set photos, it appears she’ll be putting on some of her own wacky disguises in the film as well.