David O. Russell is sure having fun discussing what projects he could direct post-Oscar nominated for The Fighter, but he doesn’t seem all that desperate to actually get anything in front of camera’s. He’s become something of the master of first dates, a guy who initially shows interest in a long commitment only to rarely call back and he certainly never takes his date home.
Vulture reports that O. Russell has become interested in directing yet another project, this time a biopic of long-time former Providence, Rhode Island mayor Buddy Cianci who held office for a whopping 21 years in two lengthy separate terms. During that time he took down mobsters, revived the ‘dying’ Providence but went out on a conterversial note in 2002 when he was imprisoned for five years on rackeeting charges.
Jane Rosenthal, the co-founder of Tribeca Film Festival and long time business partner of Robert De Niro has long wanted to tell Cianci’s story for film and said Wednesday night;
“Going back almost twelve years now, I’ve wanted to see Buddy’s story as a movie… What’s so fascinating about Buddy is if you look at those years in Providence when he propelled a renaissance, if you forget about the process for a minute, it’s a certain type of politics. His heart’s in the right place.”
Rosenthal hopes to find a writer who could adapt portions of the new Buddy Cianci memoir Politics and Pasta and indeed convince him to let-go his life rights before any project could be made. Though she is clearly confident of developing something as she then mentions the O. Russell interest;
“There’s nothing signed yet, but [Russell's] amazing, and we’ve been talking. Just talking. But he’s interested enough to keep talking. He’s interested enough that when he was at the Golden Globes, I was running in, and he was walking the red carpet, and he was like, ‘Jane! I’ve got to talk to you about that Buddy movie.’”
That word again, ‘talk’. That’s exactly what O’Russell likes to do right now but there’s a way that this movie could suddenly become a serious one… and his name is De Niro. Rosenthal has produced over a dozen De Niro movies over the years and is some ways seen as responsible for his post-Scorsese dip into lame-city (Meet the Parents franchise, Analyze This/That, What Just Happened, The Good Shepherd, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle & many more, including the forthcoming Another Night In Bullshit City), and of course co-founded a whole film festival with him.
Clearly the part of Cianci is one that would suit De Niro, if he were willing to pack on the pounds and it’s certainly the kind of movie that we would wish De Niro would star in.
Not only that but O’Russell has a role for him in his adaptation of the video game Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, if he ever gets around to making it, so there’s already a connection there. I just wonder if this is the talent Rosenthal is trying to bring together.
Those with long memories might remember that a feature film scripted by David Mamet based on Mike Stanton’s book The Prince Of Providence was once being setup to be directed by Rhode Island filmmaker Michael Corrente (Outside Providence, Brooklyn Rules) with Oliver Platt to star as Cianci and Robin Williams and Ed Burns in supporting roles. Though it never got off the ground.
Meanwhile O. Russell continues to juggle several projects, including a potential sequel to The Fighter that Mark Wahlberg seems keen on, a Russ Meyer biopic, a Vince Vaughn buddy cop movie titled 2 Guns and more we are probably forgetting.