Megan Ellison will stop at nothing until David O. Russell wins that Best Director Oscar.
OK, maybe that sounds a little desperate, but after throwing Russell the cash to make his swinging crime picture “American Hustle,” Ellison appears even more invested in the writer-director's future. Word comes from Deadline that the artistic patron has made a two-picture deal with Russell through her company, Annapurna Pictures.
Since its 2011 inception, Annapurna has financed passion projects from notable filmmakers in a la carte fashion. Ellison swooped in to save films like Paul Thomas Anderson's “The Master” and Bennett Miller's “Foxcatcher,” while nurturing ambitious scripts from the get go, like Kathryn Bigelow's “Zero Dark Thirty,” Harmony Korine's “Spring Breakers,” Spike Jonze's “Her.” A two-picture deal is a first for the company, a promise to back whatever Russell wants to do.
What could be the next Annapurna/Russell collaboration? This past January, Russell and his “American Hustle” star Jennifer Lawrence signed on for a biopic of Joy Mangano, who went from Long Island homemaker to million entrepreneur after inventing the Miracle Mop. Deadline isn't clear whether that film could fall under the Annapurna deal, though the project already has a home at Fox 2000.
The news arrives on the heels of Annapurna's decision to finance the latest from “Boyhood” writer-director Richard Linklater, a baseball movie described as a spiritual sequel to “Dazed and Confused.” The film joins a still-percolating future slate, which includes Alejandro González Iñárritu's “Birdman” follow-up “The Revenant” and Seth Rogen's animated film “Sausage Party.”
Russell has been nominated for five Academy Awards, including three Best Directing nominations, for 2010's “The Fighter,” 2012's “Silver Linings Playbook,” and 2013's “American Hustle.” As part of Annapurna, Ellison has been nominated three times for Best Picture (2012's “Zero Dark Thirty,” 2013's “Her” and “American Hustle”).