Fresh off a big weekend that saw Margot Robbie compete for her second Oscar after being nominated for Bombshell, as well as starring as the fantabulous Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey, the star is making news again by signing onto the next David O. Russell movie.
The casting brings Robbie opposite frequent Russell collaborator Christian Bale, who already boarded the unnamed and fairly secretive project. It also raises attention given Russell directed Bale to his Oscar win in 2010’s The Fighter. Further the Batman and Harley Quinn actors are being joined by a Marvel alum, as The Hollywood Reporter additionally confirmed that Michael B. Jordan is joining the cast in another unspecified part.
The film is set-up at New Regency as well as Disney-Fox (now under the moniker of “20th Century Studios”). Working from his own script, Russell is eying an April 2020 start date on production, which will mark his first film since he directed Jennifer Lawrence in 2015’s Joy.
The impressive triple-A talent of Bale, Robbie, and Jordan is intriguing considering that the first-half of the 2010s saw Russell reinvent himself as a dramedy director of awards-friendly films—even with the controversy followed. While Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and American Hustle (2013) remain two my personal favorite films from the last decade, behind-the-scenes tension on the latter may have helped lead to the five-year gap between Joy and Russell’s newest movie. American Hustle starred Bale and Amy Adams in a pair of performances that were nominated for Oscars, but Russell’s relationship with Adams on the set of the film was allegedly toxic. According to an email hacked from Sony in 2014, Bale even “got in [Russell’s] face about it and told him to stop acting like an asshole.”
Despite being nominated for Oscars for both her turns in Russell’s The Fighter and American Hustle, Adams has signaled shed wouldn’t work with Russell again. And after Joy underperformed at the box office and among critics, the filmmaker took a notable break from production.
Yet Russell remains an undeniable talent as both a writer and director, as indicated by the major success of his one-two-three punch of movies between 2010 and 2013, as well as the earlier off-beat gems on his resume like Three Kings (1999) and I Heart Huckabees (2004). Clearly his new script is also impressive since it’s lured Bale back into working with the filmmaker, as well as attracted the attention of Robbie and Jordan who are both on upswings in their careers after franchise highlights like Birds of Prey, Suicide Squad, Creed, and Black Panther between them.
In fact, all three performers are coming off a major couple of years with Robbie also starring in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood and Bale leading adult-oriented box office hits like Vice and Ford v Ferrari, the former of which earned him another Oscar nomination. Jordan, meanwhile, appeared last year in Just Mercy and is attempting to kick-off another franchise film with his next effort, Without Remorse. In that film, due out later this year, he plays Tom Clancy’s Navy SEAL anti-hero, John Clark.
David Crow is the Film Section Editor at Den of Geek. He’s also a member of both the Critics Choice Association and the Online Film Critics Society. Read more of his work here. You can follow him on Twitter @DCrowsNest.