The Fighter, the long languishing biopic based on the life of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward, has been given a new lease of life, with the recently announced additions of actor Christian Bale and director David O. Russell. And, with the notorious hot headed nature of the pair, it will be interesting to see just what type of production shoot will be forthcoming.
Bale, the Wales born actor of American Psycho and The Dark Knight fame, recently garnered a spike in popularity for all of the wrong reasons, after a recording of the actors foul mouth tirade towards director of photography Shane Hurlbut from the set of the upcoming Terminator: Salvation, landed on the net and spread like wildfire.
Before that, Bale was arrested for allegedly assaulting his mother and sister after he attended the European premiere of The Dark Knight.
O. Russell vicious temper has also been the subject of much tabloid blabber. His first well publicized altercation was on the set of war heist film Three Kings, where he and actor George Clooney got into a fist fight after Clooney confronted O. Russell about the treatment towards his crew.
Another incident followed on the set of existential comedy I Heart Huckabees, when O. Russell got into a nasty verbal tussle with comedian and actress Lily Tomlin. Their confrontation occurred during filming, and –like Christian Bale - was leaked onto the internet and viewed numerous times. (Read my Top Ten Productions Spats, Blow Ups, and Throwdowns.)
Micky Ward, the long time boxer and working class hero who defied the odds by becoming a world champion in his late 30s, will be Mark Wahlberg who has been attached to the role since the films inception. Ironically, this would be Wahlberg’s third outing with O. Russell, with the pair previously collaborated on Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees.
Bale will be taking on the role of Micky Ward’s older brother and trainer, Dickie Eklund. Previously attached to the part was the prolific Matt Damon, and professional deserter Brad Pitt (see The Fountain; State of Play).
Darren Aronofsky was originally set to direct, and with the recent success of The Wrestler, Aronofsky would seem to be the perfect fit to take on another sports themed movie. And while O. Russell is a more than adequate director, me thinks that Aronofsky would have had another knockout with this one.
Principal photography on The Fighter begins in June for a 2011 release. Let’s pray that Bale and O. Russell can bite their tongues until filming wraps, because this film sounds too good to mess up. (Read my Top Ten Anticipated Films of 2009.)