Some usual suspects are lining up for the next Next Big Role. Thanks to his huge success shepherding “The Fighter” to audiences and the awards circuit, David O. Russell now has the enviable task of hand-picking the female lead of his next film from a crop of the hottest actresses around. THR reports the sometimes volatile director is screen-testing today and through the weekend for a young lady to play love interest to Mark Wahlberg in “The Silver Linings Handbook”, and names include Elizabeth Banks, Kirsten Dunst, Blake Lively, Rooney Mara, Rachel McAdams, Andrea Riseborough and Olivia Wilde. Other reports indicate Jennifer Lawrence may also be in the running, though being significantly younger than her competitors and tied up with “The Hunger Games” through September may make her a bit of a longshot even if she was being considered.
The film revolves around Wahlberg as a man who suffers a mental collapse, goes through treatment at an institution and is released with a new found determination to find the silver linings in life. The female role is that of a depressed woman who goes on a sexual spree in the wake of the death of her husband. She befriends and becomes a love interest to Wahlberg’s character.
Right away age, to us, seems an important factor in choosing the right actress. Lively, the youngest of the bunch, certainly seems like an unlikely choice to play a widow and later love interest to Wahlberg, who is 16 years her senior, though she defied expectations to do something similar in “The Town”. Mara, too, seems younger than what the character calls for, but Wilde, while the same age, gives off a more mature and capable vibe. Riseborough is fast rising in Britain though hasn’t made quite a splash in Hollywood just yet, while Banks and McAdams are perhaps the most well known of the bunch, and the most age-appropriate. Dunst’s inclusion would have seemed out of left field a month ago, but a win for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for her role in Lars Von Trier’s “Melancholia” has made something of a Comeback Kid of the former child actress.
Whoever Russell picks will have to be available for a late summer shoot as the director is eyeing an August start.