Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Watch: First Teaser Trailer For 'Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation' With Tom Cruise Arrives, If You Choose To Accept It Watch: First Teaser Trailer For 'Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation' With Tom Cruise Arrives, If You Choose To Accept It Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey & Jason Momoa Join Ana Lily Amirpour’s Cannibal Love Story ‘The Bad Batch’ Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey & Jason Momoa Join Ana Lily Amirpour’s Cannibal Love Story ‘The Bad Batch’ Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far 13 Cult Films About Cults 13 Cult Films About Cults The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

David O. Russell Talks 'American Hustle,' Enchantment, Opera, Musicals, The Immersion of Christian Bale & More

The Playlist By Rodrigo Perez | The Playlist December 12, 2013 at 2:11PM

Filmmaker David O. Russell has energy and enthusiasm to burn. “The Silver Lining’s Playbook” director is three for three now in his new era that includes “The Fighter” and his latest picture, “American Hustle” (review here). Starring the spectacular all-star cast of Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner on top of supporting turns by Robert De Niro, Louie C.K., Jack Huston, Elizabeth Rohm and many more, Russell’s latest is a colorful 1970s-set New York dramedy that centers on a con man (Bale), his partner (Adams), and the FBI agent who nabs them and puts them on the hook to cooperate in what becomes of the biggest conspiracy stings of that era that involved, mayors, senators and other government officials.
2
American Hustle (

The Bee Gee’s “I Started A Joke” is really sublime in this.
It's heartbreaking. That song was derided by me in my youth. We mocked it as the worst song ever. That’s the wonderful tipping point where you go, “I think I might love this.” That's the genius of it, it is a beautiful song, it's heartbreaking and [Melissa Leo and Christian Bale] sing it together in the car together [in "The Fighter"]. Likewise that [Bee Gee’s cover], “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” I would consider it operatically pushed. It's like opera. So that's the operatic emotion of Jennifer [Lawrence] coming out of that bathroom and Jeremy going up the stairs and Robert De Niro sitting there, all these events are happening in this opera. So that life is happening, emotion, tragedy, hope, deception, it's all happening as people are singing and wearing their clothes in the pageantry of life. That's something I love, there's something crazy and beautiful about it.

It sounds like you need to make a musical.
Here's the funny thing. If I'm in the house talking to Bradley or Christian or Jennifer like I'm talking to you, it's just happening, it's just flowing. Right? It's flowing. So then I go, I already wrote it and it's just a clerical act and I capture it. Likewise with a musical. If you said to me, “Are you going to make a musical?” That sounds really intimidating. But there are more and more musical scenes in every movie. People are starting to sing. Christian sings in this movie, Jeremy sings, Jennifer sings. I think I'm slowly tricking myself into a musical, I'm backing into it [laughs].

You've done this trilogy, starting with “The Fighter,” about these kinds of people and their stories of survival. What will you do next? Will that change?
I'm in love with a certain rhythm of people and story and I know it when I see it so I'm going to continue to make characters like this and I'm going to continue to work with an ensemble like this if I'm so lucky to.

I recently read that you’d you'd written a horror movie once and a sci-fi movie and I wasn’t sure that fit in with your new trajectory.
No, no, no. Those were just script jobs that I did a long time ago. There's a part of me that feels like you can do all kinds of different movies but it's a very beautiful thing when you hear certain music. Then you're not pondering or searching. You already know the kind of music you want to create and listen to. That's why I was saying to you all of those intervening years were leading to this because it's very different to be in the other place in your career. It's just different. I can't say it's better or worse. I'm certainly much happier now. I can't say that for every filmmaker, but I'm happy living amongst these actors and characters and the themes that I love, that I'm happy to carry the banner for.

“American Hustle” opens in limited release this Friday, December 13th and begins national expansion on December 20th.

This article is related to: American Hustle, David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook, Interviews, Interviews, Interview, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates