Director of 'American Hustle', David O. Russell allegedly physically and emotionally abused cast and crew including Amy Adams. It was so bad Christian Bale had to step in and protect her.
David O. Russell is a legendary filmmaker. Three of his most recent films were critically acclaimed and commercial hits: 'The Fighter,' 'Silver Linings Playbook,' and 'American Hustle'. These films have earned David O. Russell three Academy Award nominations for Best Director, as well as a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for 'Silver Linings Playbook' in addition to several other awards.
Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com
But, David O. Russell may not be the nicest person in Hollywood. According to leaked Sony e-mails pointed out by /r/Movies
, Christian Bale had to protect Amy Adams from David O. Russell's "crazy" behavior. In an e-mail from the CEO and chairman of Sony Pictures to Jonathan Alter a TV producer pointing out David O. Russell's erratic behavior.
> Are you guys doing anything else with him? I know he's brilliant but we have someone on our show who worked closely with him on "American Hustle" and not only are the stories about him reforming himself total bullshit but the new stories of his abuse and lunatic behavior are extreme even by Hollywood standards. Apparently he behaved on "the Fighter" but acted so crazy on "Hustle" that it's another Clooney situation where a lot of people won't work with him again. He grabbed one guy by the collar, cursed out people repeatedly in front of others and so abused Amy Adams that Christian Bale got in his face and told him to stop acting like an asshole. He treated the crew like shit, demanded his own bathroom at all times and frightened people, as he famously had on "Three Kings". [SOURCE]
Apparently, David O. Russell would harass, belittle, and get into physical encounters with cast and crew members on the 'American Hustle,' movie.
This is not the the first time David O. Russell got into altercations with cast and crew members of his movies. In 1999, George Clooney got into a fistfight with David O. Russell on set of 'Three Kings'. Russell had yelled and publicly humilated several extras out of frustration and Clooney didn't appreciate it. Since then, David O. Russell said "I wouldn't make another George Clooney movie if they paid me $20 million."
Here's the full story according to George Clooney
He'd throw off his headset and scream, "Today the sound department fucked me!" For me, it came to a head a couple of times. Once, he went after a camera-car driver who I knew from high school. I had nothing to do with his getting his job, but David began yelling and screaming at him and embarrassing him in front of everybody. I told him, "You can yell and scream and even fire him, but what you can't do is humiliate him in front of people. Not on my set, if I have any say about it".
Another time, he screamed at the script supervisor and made her cry. I wrote him a letter and said, "Look, I don't know why you do this. You've written a brilliant script, and I think you're a good director. Let's not have a set like this. I don't like it and I don't work well like this". I'm not one of those actors who likes things in disarray. He read the letter and we started all over again. But later, we were three weeks behind schedule, which puts some pressure on you, and he was in a bad mood. These army kids, who were working as extras, were supposed to tackle us. There were three helicopters in the air and 300 extras on the set. It was a tense time, and a little dangerous, too. David wanted one of the extras to grab me and throw me down. This kid was a little nervous about it, and David walked up to him and grabbed him. He pushed him onto the ground. He kicked him and screamed, "Do you want to be in this fucking movie? Then throw him to the fucking ground!" The second assistant director came up and said, "You don't do that, David. You want them to do something, you tell me". David grabbed his walkie-talkie and threw it on the ground. He screamed, "Shut the fuck up! Fuck you", and the AD goes, "Fuck you! I quit".
He walked off. It was a dangerous time. I'd sent him this letter. I was trying to make things work, so I went over and put my arm around him. I said, "David, it's a big day. But you can't shove, push or humiliate people who aren't allowed to defend themselves". He turned on me and said, "Why don't you just worry about your fucked-up act? You're being a dick. You want to hit me? You want to hit me? Come on, pussy, hit me". I'm looking at him like he's out of his mind. Then, he started banging me on the head with his head. He goes, "Hit me, you pussy. Hit me". Then, he got me by the throat and I went nuts. Waldo, my buddy, one of the boys, grabbed me by the waist to get me to let go of him. I had him by the throat. I was going to kill him. Kill him. Finally, he apologized, but I walked away. By then, the Warner Bros. guys were freaking out. David sort of pouted through the rest of the shoot and we finished the movie, but it was truly, without exception, the worst experience of my life.
What do you think? Discuss this story with fellow
Project Casting fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @projectcasting.