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Big-Time Blockbuster Casting News

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | April 21, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | April 21, 2009 |

The last time we talked about The Fighter was in February 2007, when Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg were attached, and no director had been found. We wrote:

The Fighter will be a boxing film about the life of “Irish” Mickey Ward (Wahlberg) and his trainer brother, Dick Eklund (Damon), who hailed from Lowell, Mass. Ward is one of those Massachusetts blue-collar heroes (the Dropkick Murphys wrote a song about him), whose career trajectory (including a three-year retirement, several setbacks, and a world championship) seems tailor-made for the big screen. Paul Attanasio (Donnie Brasco, The Sum of All Fears, and the forthcoming Bourne Ultimatum) has been hired to rewrite the script.

Since that time, Darren Aronovsky signed on to direct; Matt Damon dropped out. Brad Pitt took his place. Aronovsky dropped out, and then so did Brad Pitt.

But Mark Wahlberg has been attached the whole time, and now he has himself another co-star and a new director. David O’Russell has now been attached (he worked with Wahlberg in I Heart Huckabees and Three Kings) and Christian Bale is in talks to take over the role vacated by Matt Damon and then Brad Pitt. Bale seems better suited to a boxing movie, so cool.

And here’s that Dropkick Murphy’s song:

Elsewhere, Moneyball, the big-screen treatment of Michael Lewis’ ode to the Oakland A’s Billy Beane is continuing to move ahead. Steven Soderbergh has already been tapped to direct, while Brad Pitt will play Beane, who used a sophisticated computer analysis system to put together a competitive team on the cheap. Now, Demetri Martin has been added to the cast. He will play Paul De Podesta, Harvard man who turned down Wall Street gigs and instead used his statistical skills to change the way baseball scouting was done. David Justice (Braves, ‘95 Holla!) and Scott Hatteberg will play themselves, while Lenny Dykstra (“Nails!”) and Daryl Strawberry will also play themselves, offering on-camera commentary about their experiences with Beane.

And finally, the more talented Wayans’ brother, Marlon Wayans, will produce and star in an adaptation of The Year of Living Biblically, based on the A.J. Jacobs’ non-fiction book. In her review of the book in 2007, our own Jennifer McKeown described it as such:

It seems like a form of torture to follow the Bible’s every rule (and I mean every rule) for an entire year, but considering our intrepid author has already made his way through the Encyclopaedia Britannica, one can tell he apparently enjoys self-inflicted torture. I suppose it also doesn’t hurt to have a book deal for your efforts. But live biblically for an entire year is exactly what A.J. Jacobs did, and what seemed torturous at first yielded surprising results. His chronicle of this period, The Year of Living Biblically, contains moments of both hilarity and solemnity as he navigates the murky water that is the Bible.

Wayans isn’t exactly who I’d picture in the role, but I got nothing against him. Julian Farino (“Entourage”) is set to direct.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.