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David O Russell Ditches Uncharted

And Albert Hughes has left Akira...

Looks like we know what the executive teams at Warner Bros. and Sony will be doing with their long Memorial Day holiday weekend: thinking up names of directors that can take over two of their big, developing projects. Why? Because David O Russell just decided to leave the big chair on Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune at Sony and Albert Hughes is no longer going to make Akira for Warners.

Russell’s move is both surprising and yet true to recent form. While he seemed extremely positive about the idea of handling the video game adaptation, and talked it up while out promoting The Fighter, he’s also changed his mind about another big project, leaving the job of directing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies over at Lionsgate.

Uncharted, which blends Indiana Jones-style adventuring with one part Tomb Raider and just a dash of National Treasure, had also attracted the attention of Russell’s Fighter star, Mark Wahlberg, who was seriously interested in the lead role of treasure hunter Nathan Drake. Whether he’ll stay attached now that Russell is moving on remains to be seen. And the pair is already looking at something else, with both attached to The Silver Linings Playbook.

Sony, meanwhile, still wants to get Uncharted on screens and plans to move ahead with new script drafts once a fresh director is found.

Warners, however, is having a heck of a time getting the Akira manga turned into a live-action pic. So far, the studio has faced fan outcry, protests from Asian actors and others who complain of whitewashing and a seemingly endless revolving door of performers who have turned down the lead roles, including, most recently, Keanu Reeves.

Hughes deciding to leave – over those classic “creative differences,” apparently – is just the latest setback. It remains to be seen what Warners does next, though according to Deadline, the studio may try to trim the budget and go back to the list of actors it has been trying to snag. As for Hughes, he’s still got friends at the company, so he’ll crop up in charge of another movie soon enough.

But it forces us to ask: is this the universe trying to tell the studio to abandon Akira all together? What say you lot?