David O. Russell is a filmmaker on fire, telling compelling stories about fascinating characters that are completely flawed and human. With his last three films – The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle – receiving 25 Oscar nominations between them, and his actors giving star-making performances in their roles, it’s no surprise that he was recognized as the Outstanding Director of the Year at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF). Collider was there to cover and attend the event, and we’ve compiled the highlights of what he had to say, both on the press line and during the Q&A.
While there, writer/director David O. Russell talked about what this ride has been like for him, when and how he started making films, how he learned the craft of filmmaking, the affect Sundance had on him, how starting out with short films led to him making his first feature Spanking the Monkey, weaving spiritual insight with comedy, writing such strong female characters, why I Heart Huckabees was a transition film for him, why Nailed never got released, adding a sense of enchantment and romance to the stories he’s telling now, how blessed he feels to work with Jennifer Lawrence, what change means to him, and what’s drawn him to the longer storytelling format of television (he’s currently developing a 13-episode series for ABC). Check out the in-depth interview after the jump.
From writer/director Francesca Gregorini, the indie drama The Truth About Emanuel tells the story of the troubled Emanuel (Kaya Scodelario), who becomes preoccupied with her mysterious new neighbor, Linda (Jessica Biel). In offering to babysit her newborn, Emanuel unwittingly enters a world that blurs the line of fantasy and reality, and shows just how dangerous secrets can be.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Jessica Biel talked about how she got involved with this film, her audition process for the role, playing a character with such a delicate mental state, how much she enjoyed working with co-star Kaya Scodelario, and how this experience helped her to become more confident in her own instincts. She also talked about what attracts her to a project, the heartbreaking journey that she’s gone through with the David O. Russell film Nailed, that never got finished or released, her hopes that The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea will go into production soon, and that if the right thing came up, she would definitely consider returning to television. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
Many projects go through growing pains during development. James Cameron’s Titanic was labeled the biggest bomb of all time before it even hit theaters, Martin Sheen had a heart attack during the year-long shoot of Apocalypse Now, and filming on Men in Black 3 halted for a few months so that they could work on the script. David O. Russell’s Nailed, however, was a bona fide production nightmare. The film has yet to be finished and it’s unlikely it’ll ever see the light of day, but none of this is the fault of the creatives involved.
The political comedy satire was filmed in 2008 with Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal, Catherine Keener, and Tracy Morgan and centered on three people with serious health issues that stormed Washington D.C. to demand treatment. Production was shut down multiple times during filming, and just as Russell was getting to the filming of the film’s centerpiece scene the project was shut down for good. The story behind Nailed’s filming and subsequent permanent limbo is stranger than fiction, and Steve recently got a lot of background on what exactly went down from producers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher (of Red Wagon Entertainment) when he spoke with them in anticipation of the release of Lawless. Hit the jump for the full story.
Following last week’s news that Natalie Portman would star in and produce the adaptation of the horror-comedy novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which is Seth Grahame-Smith’s twist on Jane Austen’s classic period romance story, Pajiba reports that David O. Russell (Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees) will direct and and pen the adaptation. O. Russell wrapped production on The Fighter (starring Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg, and Amy Adams) last August, so presumably this would be his next film, while his health-care comedy Nailed will apparently continue to languish in post-production limbo due to its financial problems and James Caan quitting the project in the middle of filming.
Russell has a bit of a rep for being a hothead ever since the video of his fight with Lily Tomlin on the set of Huckabees landed on YouTube. However, he’s an auteur who will bring a unique vision to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but I am curious what drew him to the project, which, based on its premised, would probably be his most mainstream movie to date.