David O. Russell Could End Up Directing a Buddy Cianci Biopic Next?
In the wake of his success on The Fighter, director David O. Russell has found himself mentioned in the same breath as several developing projects, but a couple projects sound more likely than others. Now a new project fits somewhere in the middle as Vulture says the filmmaker has been talking with Tribeca Film Festival co-founder and producer Jane Rosenthal (Meet the Parents) about directing a biopic on Buddy Cianci, the former mayor of Providence, Rhode Island who has the honor of being one of the longest-serving "big city" mayors in US history. Of course, he's also know for his racketeering crimes while in office.
Rosenthal has been wanting to get this project going for awhile now saying, "Going back almost twelve years now, I've wanted to see Buddy's story as a movie." She even talks about including parts of the unnecessarily long-titled new book Politics and Pasta: How I Prosecuted Mobsters, Rebuilt a Dying City, Dined with Sinatra, Spent Five Years in a Federally Funded Gated Community, and Lived to Tell the Tale. The book focuses the former Providence mayor's days prosecuting mobsters, reviving a dying city, and going to prison for five years on racketeering charges. But Rosenthal said the film would moreso focus on "Cianci's unique politics."
As for Russell's involvement, the producer says it's far from a done deal, but she explains:
"There's nothing signed yet, but [Russell's] amazing, and we've been talking. Just talking. But he's interested enough to keep talking. He's interested enough that when he was at the Golden Globes, I was running in, and he was walking the red carpet, and he was like, 'Jane! I've got to talk to you about that Buddy movie.'"
So that's a good sign. Even though he ended up being convicted for his crimes, the mayor was obviously doing something right since he served as mayor of Providence twice, from 1975 to 1984 and again from 1991 to 2002. Rosenthal says, "What's so fascinating about Buddy is if you look at those years in Providence when he propelled a renaissance, if you forget about the process for a minute, it's a certain type of politics. His heart's in the right place." Sounds like there's definitely a great character in there for an interesting feature film. Of course it's still early, and it doesn't sound like there's even a script yet, so stay tuned as this project develops. Interested?