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David O. Russell Exits 'Nailed' After Two Years

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Jul 14, 2010 | 7:50am EDT

David O RussellDavid O. Russell's long-delayed dramedy Nailed, a political satire starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Biel, has hit yet another snag. Today, the foul-mouthed, disrespectful director of the dismal I Heart Huckabees has abandoned the film after more than two years of production. Russell has withdrawn from the $26 million production after one-on-one negotiations with financier Ronald Tutor, who controls rights to the movie with Pangea Media Group CEO David Bergstein, broke down.

The movie is about a small-town waitress who is shot in the head by a nail gun and later goes to Washington to fight for better health care; there, she meets a clueless congressman, and a romance develops. Neither Tutor nor Russell would go into detail about why they could not come to an agreement, but THR has learned that Russell apparently was not happy that producers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher of Red Wagon Prods. were being squeezed to cut their fees in half.

This has been a painful process for me," Russell told the trade on Tuesday. "The multiple production delays and stoppages, which were caused by David Bergstein and preceded Ron Tutor's direct involvement with me, have now spanned two years, and the circumstances under which the film would now be completed are much different on several fundamental levels than when we embarked several years ago. I, unfortunately, am no longer involved in the project and cannot call it 'my' film. I wish Ron Tutor well."Tutor chimed in with the following words: "Russell conducted himself like a perfect gentleman. I understood his position. It really didn't have anything to do with him but with others, and we just reached a point where I couldn't do what he wanted. But it was a decent negotiation between the two of us. No lawyers. No idle threats, just two people trying to clean something up, and we couldn't get there."

If this piece of news involved a more likable filmmaker, then I'd probably have an iota of feeling about the ongoing delays of the movie and the time spent on the project that was ultimately wasted. Since we are talking about David O. Russell, though, I could care less, despite the fact that I've been looking forward to the film based on it's quirky premise. Even though I despise an individual who could be as cruel to his cast and crew as he is known to be, the whole situation is wrong. I never like seeing a filmmaker lose credit on a movie that has taken up so much time in their lives. Hiring another director to finish up post-production work on a film that is probably close to completion is a low-blow and even Russell deserves better. Still, his new film The Fighter will open on December 10th and that will probably ease the sting of this defeat. 

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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