American Hustle director David O. Russell likes sports analogies, which are actually surprisingly helpful in trying to describe his theory on aggressively spontaneous acting. “You see a batter or a basketball player when they’re stuck on something in their heads, that’s not good,” says Russell, who’s “coached” the casts of his last three movies to 11 Oscar nominations, including statues for Christian Bale (The Fighter), Jennifer Lawrence (The Silver Linings Playbook), and Melissa Leo (The Fighter). “Once you have a good focus, you want to keep it. You want to stay in that zone, so you want to work briskly and from instinct. It’s almost like a superstitious thing.”
There’s nothing superstitious, however, about Russell’s recent run of success. American Hustle, which arrived on Blu-ray on Tuesday, was his biggest box-office hit of his career. The star-studded 1970s period piece about a married conman (Christian Bale) and his lover (Amy Adams) who are manipulated by an ambitious FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) to create an ABSCAM-like sting to implicate corrupt government officials, including the mayor of Camden, New Jersey (Jeremy Renner), was an actors’ showcase that also included Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Jack Huston. The laugh-filled drama landed 10 Oscar nominations, and Russell became the first director to ever direct a film with four actors earning Oscar nominations in each of the acting categories, twice — much less back-to-back.
Russell plans to stay in his zone. He’s currently writing another script for Lawrence, as well as “another big story I’m writing for many of these cast members that I don’t want to talk about yet.”
But he’s happy to talk about American Hustle, which character he thinks is the heart of the film, his unique approach to directing actors, and his understanding that all his success can vanish tomorrow. READ FULL STORY