After hitting double home-runs for the Oscar contingency with American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook, director David O. Russell split critics with last year’s Joy, which starred Russell axiom Jennifer Lawrence as a divorced mother who becomes a millionaire inventor. For the record, I thought Joy was about as personal a film as Russell has ever made, a pointed reflection of the drudgery of having to raise money, convince backers to buy your product, and to keep ambitious when familial and personal issues demand you stay “grounded.” Being less than thrilled with the nonsensical mental-health logic he was peddling in Silver Linings Playbook, the indifference toward or even straight-up dislike for Joy struck me as distinctly strange.
Despite this, Russell remains one of the biggest names in American cinema, and the news today that he will be moving to the small-screen with a tv series, reportedly a crime story set in the 1990s, is a major move for the filmmaker. The unnamed show, which looks to be set up for multiple seasons but still may be a limited series (if that makes any sense), would be a big deal with Russell alone but Deadline reports that both Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore are set to star in the series. That makes this a bonafide white-hot property for literally every major network and streamings service out there.
One would assume HBO or Netflix would be the first choices on the list but Russell’s series could also be a major coup, even a turnaround property, for the likes of Showtime, Hulu, Cinemax, or Amazon. Considering that Amazon recently backed major TV projects from two beloved auteurs, namely Woody Allen and Whit Stillman, they might even be the best choice for such a series. For right now, however, the game is still very much open and considering that Russell seems to be shopping the project without a full pitch but just as a package, there’s a strong likelihood the secretive nature of the series will remain that way. If nothing else, I hope a distributor and backer will pick this up soon, just so I can find out what it is.