David Owen Russell (born 1958) is an American film director and screenwriter.
He's sometimes notorious for losing his cool during production, particularly during the filming of Three Kings where he nearly got into a brawl with George Clooney, and I Heart 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 (2010), Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and American Hustle. Clooney and Tomlin both stated that they made up with him. 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 Heart 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 announced that it's quietly being released on VOD and in theaters in February 2015 under the new. Russell disowned the film since he has no involvement with it. Instead, he's credited as "Stephen Greene" which is synonymous to Alan Smithee.
- The Fighter (2010)
- Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
- American Hustle (2013)
- Joy (2015)
Tropes About Him or His Work:
- Old Shame: 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 use "Stephen Greene" instead for the credits. Anyone who had seen the movie agreed with his choice to distance it since it's really a shitty movie.
- Production Posse: So far, he often works 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.