EXCLUSIVE! 3rd UPDATE: See new details about Capitol Films below. I’m told by knowledgeable sources that David O. Russell’s indie political comedy Nailed which began filming in April was shut down by the Screen Actors Guild on Friday because of insufficient funds on deposit with the guild. I’ve also learned the Columbia, S.C. shoot is in trouble with both IATSE and Teamsters, and some of those union members have left the beleaguered $25 million budgeted production. Rumors also are circulating that the state of South Carolina could withdraw its incentive monies because of the financing problems. Filmmakers hope to resolve the cash crunch and re-start shooting next week since principal photography is only at the halfway point. “I am confident we will finish,” an insider on the pic just told me. “The financing on this like most indies is based on bank loans and bridge loans. This is a matter of waiting on the bridge loan. Hopefully, it will all be resolved.”
But new information coming my way says David Bergstein’s Capitol Films behind the pic is troubled. In 2006, he acquired a leading UK-based international sales company which over the years had built a good reputation in the movie biz and made a wide range of commercial and critical successes, including Robert Altman’s Gosford Park. But now I’m hearing from NYC film financing circles that “a shitload of people are owed a lot of money,” in the words of one expert in the field. “I heard this week that his major financing source, a hedge fund, has shut down and left him in the lurch.”
The filmmakers were able to get in a full day of shooting Thursday until SAG put its figurative foot down to protect its members during traditionally more dicey independent productions. I’m told co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Biel and the other name actors are all standing by to see if the movie can continue to completion. Some left the location for the weekend to spend Mothers Day with their families. My sources say James Brolin, who replaced Jimmy Caan after the veteran thesp got into a creative battle with Russell and quit, flew in early in the week and completed all his scenes before the movie was shut down. An insider confirms for me: “It’s been touch and go the entire time. The financiers are doing the best they can. There’s been a cash crunch, that’s for sure. It’s a drag, but they’ll muddle through. Everyone seems happy and committed to the movie and hopeful all this stuff will get worked out.”
Nailed is based on the novel Sammy’s Hill authored by Al Gore’s daughter Kristin (once a staff writer on the TV series Futurama) who co-wrote the script with Russell. The pic’s predicament is unrelated to its helmer. True, the temperamental director is known for turbulent shoots especially when it comes to actors. Already on Nailed, Jimmy Caan stalked off the South Carolina set two weeks ago after he and the helmer couldn’t agree on the best way for the actor to choke to death on a cookie during a scene. The film focuses on a naive small town waitress (Biel) who gets a nail lodged in her head and discovers a new-found sexual drive. When she travels to Washington to fight for better health care for the “bizarrely injured”, she meets an unscrupulous U.S. congressman (Gyllenhaal) who attempts to take advantage of her. Brolin plays the U.S. Speaker Of The House. The movie also stars James Marsden, Catherine Keener, and Tracy Morgan. Those are a lot of name actors to be sidelined. One source with insider knowledge about the production told me Friday, “The actors are waiting to see if the movie will continue. It’s kind of amazing, really.”
See my previous from Friday night: EXCLUSIVE: David O. Russell Film Drama!