Variety is reporting what comes as a rather large bit of casting and director replacement news as we find out Christian Bale is set to star with Mark Wahlberg in The Fighter, but not for Darren Aronofsky as originally lined up, but for David O. Russell. Aronofsky had been attached to direct the pic for some time and even said it was still in the works when I interviewed him back in December, but it appears he just couldn’t get it to his liking and moved on. Aronofsky had eyed both Matt Damon and Brad Pitt for the role Bale now occupies.
Now, Russell will take the helm in a film that will tonally be more like his Three Kings than I Heart Huckabees, I presume, as the story centers on boxer “Irish” Micky Ward’s (Wahlberg) unlikely road to the world lightweight title. His Rocky-like rise was shepherded by half-brother Dicky Eklund (Bale), a boxer-turned-trainer who rebounded in life after nearly being KO’d by drugs and crime.
With The Fighter set to begin production in July it will be Russell’s next film, but he won’t have much time to rest as he has also previously lined up Aaron and Sarah at Fox, a film about a nerdy guy and a popular girl who meet as freshmen and, over four years of high school, four proms and one funeral, become friends and eventually fall in love.
He is also expected to direct The Silver Linings Playbook for the Weinstein Co., which centers on Pat Peoples, a down-on-his-luck former high school teacher who has just been released from a mental institution and placed in the care of his mother.