David O. Russell (b. 1958) boasts a diverse body of work as a writer and director, spanning multiple genres and featuring radically differing aesthetic styles. While his early work comically explored taboo subjects with unerring directness, he has also investigated politics with explosive satire. In his most recent films, including American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook, Russell examines characters and situations that are at once everyday and also extraordinary. Whatever the project, Russell is driven to explore the idiosyncrasies that make each character human, and he extends that curiosity to explore what makes each actor unique. His attentiveness to his cast members has earned him the label of "actor's director," due in no small part to the many nominations and awards earned by a long list of Hollywood stars in his movies.
Russell has also become one of our era's most interesting formal stylists as he adopts a visual design appropriate to each of his film's thematic concerns. The result may be a color palette resembling the washed-out pages of a newspaper achieved by manipulating the film stock for Three Kings or the tumultuous opening of The Fighter when an audacious, roving camera plunges viewers straight into the story from the very first shots of the film. Rather than building a signature style, Russell has instead tested the varied possibilities of cinematic expression.
This career-spanning volume features conversations with scholars and journalists as well as filmmakers. Speaking to directors like Alexander Payne and Spike Jonze, Russell contextualizes each of his films, offers an intimate account of his evolving writing and directing process, and opens his life to reveal how a remarkable body of work has come to be.
David O. Russell: Interviews
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