Yesterday when I reported on Great Hope Springs, a.k.a. the marriage dramedy starring Meryl Streep, a.k.a. possibly the great movie ever, the one odd thing was the the movie would be directed by Jessie Nelson, who made the 2001 drama I Am Sam but isn't exactly the high caliber director you might expect to handle a Streep and Bridges pairing. Now The Wrap is reporting that I was right to be puzzled, and Mike Nichols is in talks to direct instead.

I have no idea how a director can just swoop in and replace another once the cast gets good enough, but when you directed The Graduate and know Meryl Streep from Silkwood, I suppose you're allowed to do pretty much whatever you want. It's still unclear who is producing the film or which studio might pick it up (they'd all be crazy not to), but presumably once they got this high-quality cast on board, they started seeking out an equally big name director to take over.

If Nichols is pulling as much of a coup as it seems, it's a shame for Nelson, who might have had a chance to jump into the big leagues by directing these two. It worked for Scott Cooper, who directed Bridges to an Oscar with Crazy Heart and instantly became a big league director with just one film. Then again, Nichols could use a big success after the middling Charlie Wilson's War, so maybe he needs it even more than Nelson does.

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