David O. Russell Adds 'Cocaine Cowboys' To His Crowded Plate

It's a pretty great time to be in when David O. Russell is as talked-about a director as any in Hollywood. That certainly wasn't the case in years past, or when it was, the subject was the director's temperament rather than his work. But since taking The Fighter he's been looking at many new projects — at times quickly flipping from one to the next — almost as if he's trying to weave and juke his way to a surprise 'next film' announcement.

Now there is word that the long-gestating film Cocaine Cowboys is his latest possible next project.

The Playlist spoke to the director briefly at the ACE Eddie Awards over the past weekend, and when asked about what he's making next. Mr. Russell said,

I'm working on Drake's Fortune right now. I'm really digging it, I think the story's coming together in a really intense cool way, and I also have a project with the Weinsteins called 'The Silver Linings Playbook' and I might also work on something at Universal called 'Two Guns' so those are the things I'm looking at right now, I might also do something called 'Cocaine Cowboys' with Mark Wahlberg so there's lots of things we're looking at.

Mark Wahlberg has been attached to Cocaine Cowboys for some time. The film began life as a 2006 documentary by Billy Corben about '70s drug dealer Jon Roberts who linked up with a drug cartel in Miami. Their influence pushed the rise of cocaine and aided a wave of crime that hit Miami from the late '70s to the mid '80s. Peter Berg and Leonardo DiCaprio were once attached to a dramatic remake, but Mark Wahlberg seems to be the only talent left standing. Or was — likely it is his influence that has pulled in David O. Russell.

So let's make a quick list of films on his plate: Uncharted still has priority, but isn't firmly set at this point. There is The Silver Linings Playbook; Two Guns with Vince Vaughn; Cocaine Cowboys; Old St. Louis with Vince Vaughn (which is still a possibility, though likely not now); a hard-R Dirty Harry-like cop film with Ice Cube; and in the realm of lesser possibility, Sammy Hill, written by Nailed writer and Vice Presidential daughter Kristin Gore, and Under Cover, once set for Jim Carrey to star. There are others, too, like The Grackle written by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, which fell by the wayside when the chance arose to make The Fighter.

At this point it seems early to call with any real certainty the film that will be David O. Russell's next. He's up for a Best Director Oscar on Sunday, and while it seems like an outside chance (at best) that he'll win, if he does things could change really fast. With Mark Wahlberg's involvement, Cocaine Cowboys does seem like a good fallback option after Uncharted. Hopefully all those other films will find some other life after Russell, too.