Filming on David O Russell‘s American Hustle was suspended Friday amid the Boston manhunt. But the ’70s-set corruption pic is going back into production on Monday, a Sony spokesperson tells me. Pic reunites Russell with his Silver Linings Playbook stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro as well as The Fighter‘s Christian Bale and Amy Adams. Production began March 8 and filmed in Worcester until last Wednesday when the pic moved to the Boston area.
David O Russell will also receive the Spirit of Independence Award at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival, which is set for June 13-23 and opens with Pedro Almodovar’s comedy I’m So Excited!” …
EXCLUSIVE: Michael Pena is the latest name to join David O Russell‘s next film, which already stars Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Lawrence. The Sony Pictures drama, formerly known as American Bullshit, is inspired by a true story of a notorious financial con artist and his mistress/partner in crime, who were forced to work with an overly ambitious federal agent to turn the tables on other con artists, mobsters and politicians. Russell is working with original scribe Eric Warren Singer on a rewrite, and Sony has set a December 13 release. Pena, whose recent credits include co-starring in David Ayer’s End Of Watch and Gangster Squad, recently completed voice work on DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo due out in July and also just wrapped the Diego Luna-directed Chavez. He is repped by CAA, Management 360 and Rick Genow.
EXCLUSIVE: Boardwalk Empire‘s Jack Huston has just joined the cast of David O. Russell‘s untitled corruption drama, the one that has been known as American Bullshit and more recently the ABSCAM project. Huston joins Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Lawrence. Huston, who plays the scarred WWI vet Richard Harrow who continues to be one of the most riveting characters in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, will next be seen starring opposite Daniel Radcliffe, Elizabeth Olsen and Dane DeHaan in Kill Your Darlings, which Sony Pictures Classics acquired at Sundance. He also stars in the Bille August-directed Night Train To Lisbon, which screened at Berlin, and Posthumous opposite Brit Marling. Huston was last seen onscreen in the David Chase-directed Not Fade Away. He’s repped by UTA, Untitled and Ken Mcreddie Associates.
EXCLUSIVE: Alessandro Nivola is negotiating to join Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence in the David O Russell-directed drama on the ABSCAM scandal. Nivola will play Reggio, the federal prosecutor who tried the case in court. The Eric Singer-scripted drama is about the ’70s FBI sting operation Abscam that took down a bunch of U.S. congressmen.
Nivola recently wrapped the Atom Egoyan-directed Devil’s Knot, the drama that stars Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth. He plays Terry Hobbs, a stepfather of one of the three murdered children, who later became a focus of suspicion though he has denied any part in the triple murder and has not been brought up on charges. Nivola will next be seen as Elle Fanning’s anarchist father in the Sally Potter-directed Ginger And Rosa, which opens March 15. Nivola is also booked to star with Cooper in the Scott Rudin-produced Broadway revival of The Elephant Man. He’s repped by CAA and Management 360.
BREAKING: The Weinstein Company acquired worldwide rights to David O. Russell’s upcoming project The Ends Of The Earth. Jennifer Lawrence, who is up for for an Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook, will star. Scripted by Oscar-nominated Argo scribe Chris Terrio, the film is produced by Todd Black, Steve Tisch and Jason Blumenthal of Escape Artists. Russell signed his deal last night, and Harvey Weinstein expects this to be close to Django Unchained in terms of the epic size and budget.
Lawrence just enlisted in Russell’s next film, the untitled Abscam film that also stars Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner.
Black and Tisch said “Jennifer Lawrence is one of the most versatile actresses we have ever seen. Her performance in Silver Linings was transcendent and was truly the heart and soul of the film. Jennifer was basically asked to play 4 personalities — depressed, sexy, romantic and a wild dancer — and did them all brilliantly. After seeing that performance we knew we had our anchor for Ends Of The Earth. Her dedication to the craft and all those who work with her is inspiring and if she is the future of our business we are certainly in good hands.”
EXCLUSIVE: Whatever happens in the Best Picture Oscar race, where Argo has emerged as a strong frontrunner thanks to an unbroken string of victories in all the key precursor awards, the race for the Best Director Oscar is …
Others include writer-directors Ira Sachs (Keep The Lights On), Julia Loktev (The Loneliest Planet) and Jill Soloway (Afternoon Delight). The 12th annual Film Independent Directors Close-Up series will be held on five consecutive Wednesdays beginning February 6 at the Landmark West Los Angeles. Panelists will discuss specific aspects of directing, including sound, writing, cinematography, casting and eliciting compelling performances from actors. Click over for this year’s schedule and topics:
Scoop hounds like myself love to lock filmmakers into projects and move on in search of the next splashy headline. A look at some recent big director developments, and at the tortured road several directors traveled before getting Oscar nominations this morning, shows that good movies really do find their way into the right hands, even if it takes forever to happen.
Among today’s Best Director nominees, Steven Spielberg only found the handle on Best Picture nominee Lincoln after he trashed an earlier version and labored more than a decade; David O Russell got Silver Linings Playbook because Sydney Pollack could not figure out how to meld humor with mental problems; Ang Lee got to crack the challenging Life Of Pi — which recently became the highest-grossing film in his career — after previous tries by Dean Georgaris and M. Night Shyamalan ended in futility. None of this is as dramatic as, say, when Spielberg traded Martin Scorsese Cape Fear in exchange for Schindler’s List, but it is intriguing how the moves of one major director impacts another, how the right guy for the picture usually ends up in the director’s chair, and why patience can be a virtue.
Even as Oscar nomination polls were closing Friday afternoon, the awards season action was already shifting to the Southern California desert as the 10-day Palm Springs International Film Festival kicked off, not only with its highly publicized Saturday night gala where enormous statuettes are handed out to Oscar hopefuls looking for a boost in the race, but also as a genuinely impressive public showcase for world cinema.
42 of the 71 official Oscar foreign entries are on display at the Fest (which runs through January 13) including 8 of the 9 finalists which made the shortlist. Many of those filmmakers nervously awaiting results, of which of the 9 become the 5 nominees, were at the fest all weekend, even as a select group of about 30 high-profile Academy members (including Meryl Streep, who told me last year she had a great time on this uber committee) in New York and Los Angeles were viewing the finalists and making their choices (to be announced with other Oscar nominees on Thursday morning).
Between 1974 when he won Best Supporting Actor for his turn as the young Don Corleone in The Godfather Part II and 1991 when he was contending for Best Actor in Cape Fear, Robert De Niro was nominated six times and won two Oscars (1980′s Raging Bull was the other one) in a span of 17 years. But remarkably it has now been 21 years since that last Academy Award shout-out in ’91, a long Oscar dry spell for the man many consider our greatest living film actor. With the release in November of David O. Russell’s critically acclaimed Silver Linings Playbook, De Niro is genuinely contending for his first Oscar nomination in over two decades as the obsessive compulsive, sports-betting Philadelphia Eagles fan, and father Pat Sr.
Related: OSCARS Q&A: David O. Russell
Already nominated for Critics Choice Movie Awards and SAG Best Supporting Actor honors, De Niro is favored to repeat the feat on January 10th when Oscar nominations are announced, and although he is pleased about the buzz for his performance, he isn’t getting his hopes up as he told me when we spoke over the weekend in a rare interview. “Of course I am happy about it all and the reception, but I don’t want to expect much because I don’t want to be disappointed. I have had a lot of experience over the years and then you expect and you think and it never happens. So all I try to do is be even-keeled about stuff,” he says.
Talk about a high degree of difficulty. David O. Russell, trying to find laughs in a love story where one of his Silver Linings Playbook protagonists is bipolar and fresh from a stint in a mental institution, and the other is freshly widowed with more than a few problems of her own. It was daunting enough that it held back a seasoned pro like Sydney Pollack, the late filmmaker who controlled the Matthew Quick novel along with his partner Anthony Minghella and Harvey Weinstein, Pollack couldn’t find a way to crack it, but he found the writer/director who was a perfect match for the material. Russell, who has had a number of well publicized fits of anger on movie sets himself and who raised a child with bipolar issues, connected with the subject matter in a way probably few writer/directors could. Here he explains how he pulled it off and how it would have been an inferior film if he gone 15 rounds in the Oscar-nominated The Fighter as a tune-up.
DEADLINE: Silver Linings Playbook started with Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella. How did they draft you?
RUSSELL: Well, I only spoke to Sydney. I never spoke to Anthony about it. Sydney just thought he wasn’t sure it could be pulled off. He had the obvious concerns. When you are dealing with delicate subject matter like this, and when you have moments that are so disturbing, can it be that emotionally intense and delightful? Can it be all of those things? That was the question. I kind of knew right away that I had a good shot because I had lived with some of their issues, which are inherently funny as much they are heartbreaking.