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Exclusive: Can Oscars Save David O. Russell’s ‘Nailed’?

Written by on March 1, 2011 

Update: The Playlist has a reader report of the early rough cut screening. Check it out on their site.

David O. Russell‘s The Fighter has grossed over $100 million at the worldwide box office, along with two Academy Awards for supporting actors Christian Bale and Melissa Leo. The long-gestating sports drama also snagged nominations for Best Picture, Directing, Original Screenplay, Editing and another supporting actress nod for Amy Adams. This road to acclaim was long and winding, full of peaks and valleys. Darren Aronofsky was attached to direct a bigger version of the story, but dropped out to work on his RoboCop remake and eventually Black Swan. With a restricted budget ($25 million), Mark Wahlberg‘s passion project found a director in Russell, making it his first feature since 2004’s flop I Heart Huckabees.

During this six-year period Russell was struggling to get another film made: Nailed, an unfinished comedy starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Biel reportedly “one key scene” away from completion. The production was shut down four times due to financial problems, and while making press rounds for The Fighter, Russell said he’d left it for dead.

I now have a reliable source with information that there will be a test screening tomorrow in Los Angeles, billed as “a new comedy from David O. Russell, the Oscar-nominated director of The Fighter, Three Kings and Flirting with Disaster.” While this is no confirmation that it will see theatrical distribution, it is certainly a strong hint there is renewed interest in the project. If Russell is interested in completing that final scene, I’m sure he has the clout to make it happen.

Nailed also stars James Marsden, Tracy Morgan, Kirstie Alley and Catherine Keener. The comedy is co-written by Kristen Gore, daughter of Al Gore, who has worked on Saturday Night Live and Futurama. See a synopsis below.

A naïve small town waitress gets a nail accidentally lodged in her head causing erratic and outrageous behavior. Her predicament leads her to Washington, DC, where she meets a dashing, but clueless, young senator eager to take up her cause – but what happens when love interferes with what you stand for?

Russell is also gearing up for his Uncharted adaptation and it is unclear if this would interfere. We’ll update if we hear further info, including test screening reactions.

What do you think about this new info on Nailed? Do you think we could see it in theaters?

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