In the past few years, director David O. Russell has been preoccupied with Jennifer Lawrence, who featured in Silver Linings Playbook, then American Hustle, then Joy. Since then, talk of his projects has been light, though he is developing a TV series starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore. For his next big-screen endeavor, it looks like he might team up with Mark Wahlberg for a movie about a priest named Father Stu.
Wahlberg revealed some details on the new project in a chat posted via Facebook Live:
Actually David O. Russell and I right now are working on developing a script on Father Stu, who was an amazing priest from Helena, Montana. He was a very tough guy who was a fighter, a football player…anything but a spiritual guy. He found his calling, and decided, after falling in love with a woman, that he wanted to become a priest. He suffered from this horrible muscular degenerative disease but was still ordained as a priest and passed away, but not before he was able to inspire thousands upon thousands of people.
To tell you a little more about Father Stuart Long, he played football for the Bruins and continued the sport at Carroll College, according to the Helena Independent Record. After segwaying into boxing, his planned career as a prizefighter was squashed when he had to get reconstructive jaw surgery. He eventually moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in movies. He performed in comedy clubs and filmed commercials, but he left that too, finding the industry seedy. He suffered a motorcycle accident when he was driving to work at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, and the accident set him on the religious path.
As a priest, Father Stu helped impoverished neighborhoods in New York City before studying philosophy in Ohio. After his disease took old, he returned to Helena in a wheelchair in 2010 to continue his good work. He passed away at the age of 50 in 2014.
Watch Wahlberg’s full Facebook Live video below and skip to the 14:04 mark to hear about his project with Russell.