Christian Bale Steps into The Fighter, David O. Russell Will Direct

April 20, 2009

Christian Bale

Some big news has hit courtesy of Variety tonight. Christian Bale has joined the project The Fighter in the role of Dicky Eklund, the half-bother of Boston boxer "Irish" Mickey Ward, to still be played by Mark Wahlberg. Matt Damon was originally cast in the role of Eklund, then Brad Pitt replaced him at one point, and now it has ended up in Bale's lap. Additionally, The Wrestler director Darren Aronofsky was originally setup to direct this, however he has since moved on and been replaced by David O. Russell, of Flirting with Disaster, Three Kings, and I Heart Huckabees previously, as well as the disastrous project Nailed.

The Fighter follows the true story of Mickey Ward and how he went on to win the lightweight championship with the help of Dicky. Eklund once fought Sugar Ray Leonard and nearly went the distance against the boxing legend before forfeiting his career to drugs and crime. He redeemed himself by training Ward through his Rocky-like run to the title. Wahlberg has been training for years (we even reported on it last year) and has been ready for the role for a while. Bale's involvement in this is great, but David O. Russell taking over as director is not, especially in comparison to someone as exceptional as Darren Aronofsky.

I'm guessing that The Wrestler was just too similar to The Fighter, then when they start losing actors and Aronofsky became attached to RoboCop, he eventually passed on the project. Interestingly, Variety doesn't mention anything about Bale and Wahlberg reportedly teaming up in Prisoners, the other hot project in Hollywood also set in Boston. The Fighter will be fully financed by Relativity Media and distributed domestically by Paramount Pictures. I've still got high hopes, as the story sounds great and the cast is incredible, but without Aronofsky, I'm just not sure if it'll be as phenomenal as I was originally hoping.

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It's too bad, Darren Aronofsky would have done such a great job of this. I mean you're right, it is too close to The Wrestler, but the documentaryish camera from that movie would work so well with this story too. I was lucky enough to meet Mickey Ward a few times (I was a decent fighter at one point too) and his story is amazing. Never met his brother in law, but Ward had a ton of stories to tell about him. The source material for this movie is really outstanding.

Chickenbone Robinson on Apr 20, 2009


this is going to be awesome, sure Aronaofsky is better but Russell will be fine, I mean he's working with Bale who will not settle for mediocrity right?

Scott McHenry on Apr 20, 2009


This will be the most watched set of the year. People will be itching to know if Russell does his usual button pushing schtick. I have a feeling that Bale will have none of it.

Terry on Apr 20, 2009


Bale + Russell = Lot of yelling on set

BahHumbug on Apr 20, 2009


What's Aranofsky going to do next?

Candy Castle on Apr 20, 2009


@5 RoboCop.

Farris on Apr 20, 2009


Bale and Russell yelling at each other may actually make better entertainment than the actual film itself.

Marc on Apr 21, 2009


Aranofsky for Robocop i think it will be a hell of a ride and about the involvement of Bale in the fighter is something great i like Christian Bale and i think every project he is involved in is a catalyst of something great, the rest of the catalyst depends on the director.

Fisherr on Apr 21, 2009


Agree, it had more promise with Darren there but the cast may be able to hold together the movie enough for him. He's not a known boxer unless you are a boxing fan like myself. Can Bale pull off that accent?

Craig on Apr 21, 2009


Couldn't be less excited. I bet if the completely idiotic movie "Fighting" had these actors in it people would be excited.

Dan W on Apr 21, 2009


Personally I'd prefer Bale in the lead and Wahlberg in the supporting role. Wahlberg is so and so and get's lucky here and there but Bale is on a completely higher level. But you can't go wrong casting Bale, and there's no doubt that he's going to make Wahlberg look like a lightweight.

SlashBeast on Apr 21, 2009


lol thought the title said Christian Bale Steps into Street Fighter

Silver on Apr 21, 2009


this douchebag and I are done professionally, will never support his movies

perry on Apr 22, 2009


hmm, I'll believe it when they start shooting. This project has been in development hell for ages with a lot of talent turning away. O. Russell certainly doesn't have the greatest track record of late.

OJ on Apr 22, 2009


#9 Christian Bale has an uncanny ear for accents and I'm pretty sure that he will pull off the accent. I mean, he is a Welsh guy and has a perfect American accent for Bruce Wayne. This will be great even though I'm not a huge fan of boxing.

F.C. on Apr 25, 2009


@ # 10 What are you talking about? Those two movies have nothing in common.

SlashBeast on Jun 23, 2009

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