Mark Wahlberg Concerned Aronofsky's The Fighter Might Not Happen
A slew of updates have arrived today on Darren Aronofsky's boxing project The Fighter. ComingSoon caught up with Mark Wahlberg this weekend, who was out promoting Max Payne, and heard some rather unnerving news. Additionally, The Playlist reported back with some brief quotes from Aronofsky at the New York Film Festival. Both updates seem seem to reveal that the project is having a bit of pre-production trouble, potentially with its financing and casting. Wahlberg specifically mentioned during interviews yesterday that "I get up everyday at 5:00AM to train for a movie that might not even happen. It's depressing." However, SlashFilm reports that Paramount is already location scouting. What gives?
I really hate to report news like this, but I get a bit nervous when Wahlberg says in public that even he is worried about the movie. As a reminder, The Fighter is about real-life boxer "Irish" Micky Ward's unlikely road to the world light welterweight title. His Rocky-like rise was shepherded by half-brother Dicky, a boxer-turned-trainer who rebounded in life after nearly being killed by drugs and crime. Wahlberg has been attached from the very start as Micky Ward and explained that he's been training for nearly two years. "The great thing about training is that I just keep getting better and better in the ring. Ultimately if I can train for another six months and look like a world class fighter that would be great."
Aronofsky's updates from the New York Film Festival via The Playlist include some additional depressing news. "Well, we're having some problems casting it," he told them, adding that Brad Pitt (who was to play Dicky) had left the film, finishing with, "we'll see what happens." It was originally supposed to start shooting sometime this fall, but that plan has also fallen through. When Peter Sciretta interviewed Aronofsky in Toronto, his comments also seemed a bit uneasy. "We have a great script, we're just trying to cast it and try and figure out how it's going to get made." He later mentions that "It's been in development so long there's a lot of money against it already. They're trying to figure that out but I'm ready to go on it."
Looking on the bright side, though, it may actually be nearer to being ready than we thought. In the same interview where Wahlberg said that he was "depressed," he mentions that "they finally got the green light, now we have to figure out the cast thing. I'm going to meet with Darren Aronofsky on Tuesday in New York so we'll see." Huh? If they got the green light, then why is he so concerned about it? Additionally, SlashFilm mentions that, "I have it on good authority that location supervisors from Paramount have been scouting out locations in Lowell, MA over the last few weeks." So what the heck is going on? Are Wahlberg's statements purely personal concern or is The Fighter really in some sort of trouble?
I guess the whole point of bringing up this update on The Fighter is that I'm worried about it, too. I've heard from numerous sources that it's a fantastic script and with Wahlberg training for nearly two years, this won't exactly be a film that flies under anyone's radar. Once the rest of the world gets to see how amazing The Wrestler is, they'll all be supportive of a boxing movie from Aronofsky with Wahlberg leading the way. It's also a matter of seeing which studio wins over Aronofsky first - Paramount (with The Fighter) or MGM (with RoboCop). As The Wrestler starts gaining even more awards buzz over the next few months, we can expect to hear plenty more about this and any other projects in the works, so stay tuned!