I am reading an extraordinary book called The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao*, and it has introduced me to the concept of a fukú, a curse passed down through the generations. David O. Russell seems to have one operating on him right now.

His latest film, a political satire called Nailed, got shut down for a day a couple of weeks back when SAG ordered the actors off the set because the movie’s funders hadn’t put proper money aside, blah blah blah. Then, after getting the money together and starting up again, they got shut down a second time by IATSE (‘the union of professional stagehands, motion picture technicans, and allied crafts.’) when their members weren’t getting paid.

Now, Nikki Finke (who seems to be relishing this story) is reporting that IATSE has shut down the film a third time, as the crew still has not been getting paid. This is sounding super, super bad at this point – how many times can your movie get shut down? – and Nailed is falling very behind schedule. That’s bad enough with an indie movie, since going over schedule costs money, but it’s so much worse when that indie movie doesn’t have the money to pay for the regular schedule in the first place.

A couple of weeks ago I thought a disaster was averted, but it’s looking more and more like Nailed might be terminal. Let’s hope that Russell, a great director, beats that fukú and gets his movie made.

* This book, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, had been on my radar, but thanks to CHUD message boarder BobClark I picked up a copy in hardcover rather than wait for paperback. So glad I did. And for those of you who don’t venture too often into the world of modern literature, take heart in the fact that the book, about a Dominican family in New Jersey, is just dripping with geek references, from Galactus to Dungeons & Dragons to Akira and beyond. And for those of you who do enjoy modern literature, take heart in the fact that author Junot Diaz brings an exciting, touching voice to this story. It’s a wonderful work of art.

Thanks to Ambler for the tip.