>A new trailer debuted during last night's Mad Men for The Fighter, the Boston boxing drama starring Mark Wahlberg as a fighter struggling to make a career comeback, Amy Adams as his girlfriend, and Christian Bale as his brother and trainer.
As HitFix noticed, this second trailer is a complete tonal shift from the clip that hit the Internet last month, which short of setting the footage to "Eye of the Tiger" made The Fighter out to be the next Rocky. Heavily focused on Wahlberg's character, his training for a comeback, and his relationship with Adams (the Adrian to his Rocky), the trailer inferred a straightforward, inspiring, beat-the-odds sports film. As movie blogger Adam Rosenberg pointed out, the film looked to be an uncharacteristically mainstream departure for director David O. Russell, whose with films like Three Kings, Flirting With Disaster, and I Heart Huckabees were "quirky movies that don't fit comfortably into any one genre."
There's been talk about awards attention for the film, for reasons that were not entirely obvious after the first trailer was released. After the preview that aired last night, it's clearer why. The focus turned from Wahlberg's training and romancing of Adams to the complicated relationship he has with his brother and mother, played by Melissa Leo. It's a much darker, almost ominous tone, and looks to be a far grittier family drama than the uplifting first trailer would have you believe.
According to HitFix's awards blogger Gregory Ellwood, the feedback from the few people who have seen The Fighter was "that it was a very good film that was much more art house or "prestige" than a commercial slam dunk." That "prestige" element could be precisely why Paramount Picture, the studio behind the film, chose to preview the darker trailer during Mad Men, which is widely understood to have a high-brow, sophisticated audience—an audience that wouldn't be turned off by a sports drama with grittier themes. Ellwood claims that Paramount only had plans to air the preview during the Mad Men finale, and presumably the more mainstream trailer will continue to run elsewhere.