It was announced two or three hours ago that Sony will definitely be releasing David O. Russell‘s untitled Abscam movie in December (limited on 12.13, wide on Christmas Day), and you can bet your booty it’ll be a Best Picture contender. It’ll be the “two” in Russell’s one-two punch, and to the Academy members who voted for Argo or Life of Pi over Silver Linings Playbook (which was only the second-best film of 2012 after Zero Dark Thirty and a box-office champ and the winner of eight Oscar nominations and four Spirit Awards), Russell’s message will be “bitches!…this time you’ll do the right thing.”
Unless, of course, the true-life crime saga turns out to be just a good and gripping dramedy with a few live-wire performances from Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Louis C.K. In which case all bets are off. Are you kidding me? Of course it’s going to be in the Best Picture conversation.
Russell has either just begun or is just about to begin shooting in the Boston area. Pic is based on a 2010 Eric Singer script called American Bullshit. It’s about the 1970s FBI Abscam sting operation, which ultimately led to the conviction of a U.S. Senator, five Congressmen, and other government figures.
On 12.3.12 The Playlist‘s Rodrigo Perez quoted Russell discussing the Abscam film:
“It’s a crime drama that’s really about some very high end financial con artists who are very colorful, strange characters,” Russel said. “And it’s about the FBI…but Bradley [Cooper’s] like an ethnic FBI guy from the Bronx and it’s about the [eventually indicted] mayor of Camden, New Jersey, Angelo Errichetti, who is Jeremy Renner. Camden was mostly a black and Puerto Rican community at that time. Very amazing, interesting world of New York at that time. It’s very exciting.
“They’re all going to do things we haven’t seen them do in this movie, it’s going to be very exciting. Renner’s going to be like you’ve never saw him. Bradley’s going to be like you never saw him. Christian will be…I don’t want to give too much of it away but they’re all playing real-life characters from the ‘70s and they’re very intense in an insane drama.”
“This [was] life and death stakes for people,” Russell went on. “The mafia was involved in this, it was very frightening. People’s lives were on the line and it was unbelievably hairy what these characters were doing. But I’m interested in their relationships, in their love lives, in their bedrooms, in their hearts…you know, what’s going on between them emotionally. There’s a love triangle between Amy, Bradley and Christian. And Jeremy and Christian have kind of a very unexpected bromance because they’re very similar New Jersey and New York-type characters, so they really take to each other.
“In real life, these things are stranger than fiction so there has to be a lot of comedy in them. Some of my favorite films by the Coen Brothers or by Scorsese or Tarantino, those pictures are both really emotional, intense, and they’re also funny and from a place of realness. It always has to be from a place of realness. Even Tarantino, even when he’s killing Hitler [in Inglorious Basterds] which is unreal, it’s real. It’s like a gothic comic book that somehow is real. It’s emotional because he puts emotions into it.”