David Owen Russell (born 1958) is an American film director and screenwriter.
He's sometimes notorious for losing his cool during production of his own movies, particularly during the filming of Three Kings, where he nearly got into a brawl with George Clooney, and I ♡ Huckabees, where he got into screaming matches with Lily Tomlin (videos of those ended up online). Of course, he mellowed down later on and received Academy Award nominations for directing The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle. Clooney and Tomlin both stated that they made up with Russell. Other violent incidents include putting Christopher Nolan in a headlock at a party in 2004 over Jude Law dropping out of Huckabees for The Prestige for the paycheck to cover a divorce settlement. Law would later reverse the decision.
So far, three of his actors became Oscar winners for his movies (Christian Bale and Melissa Leo for Best Supporting Actor and Actress in The Fighter and Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress in Silver Linings Playbook). Interestingly, both Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle were nominated for all four acting categories.
- Spanking the Monkey (1994)
- Flirting with Disaster (1996)
- Three Kings (1999)
- Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) (executive producer only)
- I ♡ Huckabees (2004)
- Accidental Love – Starring Jessica Biel as a waitress who gets a nail lodged in her head. Filming was in 2008 under the name Nailed, but production was shut down on the final day, before they could film the crucial scene of her getting the nail stuck. It seemed highly unlikely that it would ever see a large-scale release as everyone involved has moved on to other things, but it was ultimately released on theaters and streaming services in February 2015 under the new name. Russell has since disowned the film since he has no involvement with it. Instead, he's credited as "Stephen Greene", which is synonymous with Alan Smithee.
- The Fighter (2010)
- Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
- American Hustle (2013)
- Joy (2015)
- Amsterdam (2022)
Tropes About Him or His Work:
- Creator Backlash: His failed project, Nailed, which got released on 2015 under a new title, Accidental Love. He even used the Alan Smithee approach where he had his name removed and used "Stephen Greene" instead for the credits.
- Hostility on the Set: Infamously.
- On the set of Three Kings, he got into a fistfight with George Clooney due to Russell abusing an extra, which ended with Clooney soundly kicking his ass.
- He got in notorious screaming matches with Lily Tomlin on the set of I Heart Huckabees. Twice.
- Played straight again with American Hustle. Amy Adams revealed that David screamed at her so many times on set that she "felt like crying every day". It got so bad that Christian Bale stepped in to defend her.
- Not even Joy was safe from this, as he reportedly got into another screaming match, this time with Jennifer Lawrence, who reportedly was unhappy with how Russell was directing a scene. 20th Century Fox stated that it was method acting and that Russell was helping Lawrence get riled up before she shot a scene in which she had to shout at another actor. It was never made clear why they were screaming at each other. Other reports, however, have stated that Russell had recently gotten into an argument with Harvey Weinstein and a Fox representative.
- Production Posse: So far, he's worked more than once with Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro.
- What Could Have Been: His long-planned mafia series for Amazon was killed in 2017 thanks to the suddenly radioactive involvement of Harvey Weinstein after his decades of sexual harassment and rape were exposed.