Once upon a time, Adam McKay’s upcoming football comedy Three Mississippi was going to be a glorious re-teaming of not only Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell’s dueling idiots act from The Other Guys, but also a re-teaming of Wahlberg and Alex Baldwin’s meathead chemistry from The Departed. But now Mark Wahlberg is dropping out of the movie, and heck, it isn’t even an Adam McKay comedy anymore. Just when things were looking so promising too. What happened?

It’s a sad tale of other movies taking priority. With Peter Berg’s Battleship sinking at the box office, Universal got cold feet when it came to financing his next movie, Lone Survivor, which is about a Navy SEAL on a doomed mission. Without Universal fronting the bill, Berg needed a big name attached to the project in order to procure some new financing, and he got that in the form of Mark Wahlberg. As part of the deal, Wahlberg had to agree to make Lone Survivor his next project.

The other movie that took the wind out of the sails of Three Mississippi is McKay and Ferrell’s upcoming Anchorman sequel. For the longest time nobody thought that movie was going to happen, but then it got unexpectedly green lit and suddenly McKay found himself in the position of having to drop out of Three Mississippi. Ferrell’s own commitments to that film made it pretty impossible for he and Wahlberg’s now inflexible schedules to synch up, so something had to be done.

The first step was to have Sean Anders step in as director (That’s My Boy). And, in a strange bit of happenstance, the next step toward getting this project back on track seems to be hiring Anders’s That’s My Boy star Adam Sandler to take Wahlberg’s place. Vulture reports that the veteran comedic actor is in negotiations to step into the role as we speak.

Does this mean doom for Three Mississippi? At first glance, it might appear so. Half of the appeal of this movie was seeing Wahlberg team back up with Baldwin and Ferrell, and the other half was probably McKay’s strong track record as a director. Now we have a relatively unproven commodity in the director’s chair and King of the Razzie, Adam F-ing Sandler, coming in as Wahlberg’s replacement. That kind of sucks.

But it’s important to note that we haven’t seen what Anders did with That’s My Boy yet. And Sandler is always so much better when he’s starring in something that isn’t conceived and carried out by him and his buddies. Perhaps this could be the role that turns his career back around. You have to admit that it’s at least intriguing thinking about what he might do when teamed up with powerful comedic talent like Ferrell and Baldwin, especially while not working from a Happy Madison script. It may be a long shot at this point, but a return to form from the Sandman would be a welcome surprise indeed. It’s long bomb time…I say they go for it.

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