David O. Russell Could Direct Maleficent, Explains Why He Left Uncharted
A rumor hit last week that The Fighter director David O. Russell was meeting with Angelina Jolie to consider her for a role in The Silver Linings Playbook, the novel adaptation he's considering making his next project. While it's entirely possible the two really did meet about that project, it now seems like they might have been discussing something much bigger, and much more of a starring role for Jolie. THR reports that Russell is now on the shortlist of directors to tackle Maleficent, the Disney project that would star Jolie as the fearsome evil queen at the center of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale.
Tim Burton bailed on the project last month after being attached for years, and while it's hard to think of a director more naturally suited to the material-- and more beloved by Disney right now-- there are plenty of directors out there who could do something interesting with it. Russell is definitely one of them, a director who we all thought we understood after his wise-cracking and cynical movies like I Heart Huckabees and Three Kings; then he hit us all with The Fighter, a funny and exceptionally warm-hearted sports and family drama the proved just how many tricks he's got left up his sleeve. A Disney film about a wicked queen would be another major left turn for Russell, but no more so than the Uncharted movie he was planning for a while, don't you think?
Oh, and about that Uncharted movie. Russell talked to THR on a red carpet this week about the project, and suggested that he left not because he was no longer interested, but the studio wasn't keen on his take on the classic adventure video game. Here's the full quote:
"What can I say, I waded into those waters of the tentpole movies, and I wrote what I wanted to write, and I feel like I wrote my vision. And the rest is up to those guys. I can't pick for those guys. I don't know what they want to do over there. It's just a parting of the ways creatively."
You may remember some of the plans he suggested for Uncharted included roles for Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro as antiquities dealers, and a general attitude that forced him to clarify "I'm making Uncharted the movie, not Uncharted the game." You can't blame him for wanting to put his own stamp on the material, just as you can't blame Sony for parting ways with him when trying to put together the most crowd-pleasing possible adaptation of a hugely popular video game.
In the interview Russell also mentioned the huge variety of other projects he has in line, including Mark Wahlberg's oft-promoted The Fighter 2, the aforementioned The Silver Linings Playbook and a romantic Western called Two Guns. He wasn't certain which of those would actually be next for him, though if the Maleficent story turns out to be true, he may spend some time in the Disney fold before moving on with any of them.
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