David O. Russell, the smart, young, troubled director behind Three Kings, Flirting with Disaster and I Heart Huckabees isn’t actually that young anymore. He’s 51 now, and has only one movie to show for himself since 1999 (Huckabees). He recently hit upon some financial difficulties with his latest movie, Nailed (starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Biel). The production was shut down four times because the crew wasn’t getting paid; James Caan also left the production after he and Russell got into an argument over a scene. (Not unfamiliar territory for Russell).
Anyway, Russell still manages to put projects together. He’s optioned Kristen Gore’s Sammy’s Hill (terrible book, but Gore also wrote the script for Nailed) and The H-Man Cometh — a Vince Vaughn movie where he plays an obnoxious radio host — is still apparently in the works, though production has been pushed back.
Despite the stalls, he has now signed on to direct Aaron and Sarah, from Milk producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen. The film follows a nerdy guy and a popular girl who meet as freshmen and, over four years of high school, four proms and one funeral, become friends and eventually fall in love.
The script comes from husband-wife team, Chad Gomez Creasey and Dara Resnik Creasey. It’s being described as a film in the John Hughes’ vein, which is a strange direction for Russell, better known for existential comedy and political satire. Maybe he’s trying to make a movie that actually makes money, although given his difficulties with actors, I’m surprised he’s still able to put casts together. And that Vince Vaughn movie has trouble written all over it — Vaughn is already notoriously free-wheeling, which seems in opposition to Russell’s fascist directing style.