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David O. Russell Quits ‘Nailed’

Filmmaker David O. Russell has officially quit the movie Nailed starring Jake Gyllenhall and Jessica Biel, after disagreements with billionaire financier Ron Tutor, who owns the film along with Pangea Entertainment Group CEO David Bergstein, over how much should be paid to the film’s two producers. Production on the film began in 2008 and was shut down after funding dried up. It was one of several casualties of Bergstein’s financial mismanagement. Russell said in a statement:

This has been a painful process for me. The multiple production delays and stoppages, which were caused by David Bergstein and preceded Ron Tutor’s direct involvement with me, have now spanned two years, and the circumstances under which the film would now be completed are much different on several fundamental levels than when we embarked several years ago. I, unfortunately, am no longer involved in the project and cannot call it ‘my’ film. I wish Ron Tutor well.

Unbelievably, Tutor and Bergstein, are currently angling to purchase Miramax’s entire film library for $650 million, despite facing creditors in court over unfinished projects. Their business practices may be unorthodox, but they and producers like them, have thrived in the current Hollywood climate by funding smaller movies like Nailed at a time when it is nearly impossible to get funding from major studios who are only interested in blockbusters with franchise potential.

In the foreword to his book, “What Just Happened?: Bitter Hollywood Tales From The Frontline”, producer Art Linson, who went outside the studio system for the 2001 David Mamet movie Heist, partnering with disgraced producer Elie Samaha, explains the reason filmmakers look to shady financiers to get a movie made. He says:

These big distribution companies just want to make sequels, and they sort of opted out of the other business. That’s what’s changed. But that’s created an opportunity for these smart business guys who have made their money elsewhere and have suddenly seen an opening in Hollywood that they haven’t seen in the last ten years.

With attendance down and the studios facing a crossroads while desperately laying hopes on 3-D technology to survive; the climate that Linson describes and the difficulty to get smaller movies made will only increase. One thing that’s for sure is that O. Russell won’t be the only filmmaker who gets lost in the shuffle.


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