David O. Russell on the rise

Success of 'Fighter' draws new projects to director

After a decade in which he’s been known as much for his personality as his pics, director David O. Russell has ridden the success of “The Fighter” to raise his profile in Hollywood.

Russell is in negotiations to direct and rewrite the adaptation to the Boom!Studios comicbook “Two Guns” for Universal. Pic will star Vince Vaughn and revolves around an undercover DEA agent and Naval intelligence officer who, without knowing it, are investigating each other for stealing money from the mob.

Marc Platt will produce via his Marc Platt Prods. and Andrew Cosby and Ross Richie from Boom!Studios. Blake Masters wrote a previous draft.

Russell, who has directed only two features since 1999’s “Three Kings,” has seen his star rise since “The Fighter” hit theaters. The $25 million boxing drama has brought in more than $55 million and received numerous critical honors as well as guild attention, including a DGA nom earlier this week.

Buzz following November screenings for Academy and guild members translated into numerous offers, including an adaptation of the “Uncharted” videogame series and an untitled project at Warner Bros. with Ice Cube.

“Two Guns” has no start date, and it’s not known which project he’ll direct first.

Russell turned heads with “Three Kings” but has since directed only the existential comedy “I Heart Huckabees” in 2004 and “The Fighter,” which bowed in December.

After “Huckabees” — which generated an on-set confrontation with thesp Lily Tomlin that became a viral video — the director signed on to helm the political comedy “Nailed,” which eventually fellapart due to financial issues and other problems.

“The Fighter” saw its share of hurdles en route to theaters. Project was announced in 2007 with Mark Wahlberg to star along with Matt Damon and Darren Aronofsky directing. Damon dropped out and was replaced by Brad Pitt, who moved on right before Aronofsky ankled.

Film looked to be on the ropes until Relativity Media came aboard, helping to ink deals for Russell and co-stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo and cutting the budget from $60 million to $25 million.

Russell is repped by CAA.

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