Yikes! David O. Russell pulling out of ... David O. Russell movie
The one thing you can say about the wonderfully eccentric and talented David O. Russell (director of such oddball delights as "Flirting With Disaster" and "I Heart Huckabees") is that he does have a loyal, if somewhat microscopic, cadre of fans who will go see anything that has his name on it. Unfortunately, Russell has now announced that his latest film, "Nailed," which stars Jessica Biel and Jake Gyllenhaal, probably won't have his name on it at all. Russell is apparently so upset that the film's new rights controller, financier Ron Tutor (yes, the same Ron Tutor who's about to close a deal to buy Miramax), has been putting the financial squeeze on the film's producers that the director is dropping out of the still uncompleted project.
As Russell told the Hollywood Reporter: "The circumstances under which the film would now be completed are much different on several fundamental levels than when we embarked several years ago. I, unfortunately, am no longer involved in the project and cannot call it 'my' film."
I'm not sure exactly what that means, but it clearly turns the film into an orphan, since it's hard to imagine anyone being able to market a film that has been described as a quirky romantic political satire without the filmmaker on board to position it and promote it. (The film has languished in a semi-completed state after a series of production stops and starts, attributed to the money woes of David Bergstein, a close Tutor pal and the film's original financier.) Tutor told the Reporter that he still plans to hire another director to finish the movie, but without Russell on board, it feels like a lost cause. In fact, the only question that remains is which kind of film is tougher to market right now--a David O. Russell film without David O. Russell or a Mel Gibson movie with Mel Gibson?
Photo: Jake Gyllenhaal at the world premiere in London of "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time." Credit: Jorge Herrera / Associated Press