Russell grapples with NL's 'Grackle'


David O. Russell is in negotiations to helm "The Grackle," Matthew McConaughey's Southern-fried comedy that's set up at New Line.

The New Orleans-set feature centers on a barroom fighter who helps clients settle legal disputes with his fists.

"The Grackle" was a spec-script sensation for former lawyers Mike Arnold and Chris Poole several years ago and attracted studio interest before selling in a bidding war to New Line for an amount said to be in the seven figures.

After the initial frenzy in summer 2006, some thought a director would quickly follow, but news on the project leveled off before firing up again this year.

Gus and Mark Gustawes are producing "Grackle" along with McConaughey.

The project represents one of the first New Line titles to move ahead after the studio was folded into Warner Bros. several months ago.

Russell's credits include "Three Kings" and "Flirting With Disaster."

McConaughey stars opposite Jennifer Garner in New Line's upcoming "The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past." (partialdiff)