David O. Tussle

David O. Russell is about to go off on somebody

David O. Russell is about to go off on somebody

So, I came across a little blurb on MTV’s movie blog about David O. Russell’s new movie, Nailed. The headline reads “Jessica Biel, Catherine Keener Praise Director David O. Russell, Decide Not To Punch Him,” which sounds like clickbait, so I immediately clicked. There wasn’t much news about the movie, but there was a link to an article at Defamer about arguments between Russell and Lily Tomlin on the set of I Heart Huckabees. I would assume emotions have a tendency to boil over on a movie set, but the videos in the Defamer article seem especially intense.

Russell directed two of my favorite movies, Three Kings, the most under-appreciated movie of 1999, and Flirting with Disaster, which is absolutely hilarious. I’d heard that Russell and George Clooney didn’t get along on Three Kings, mostly due to Russell trying to break Clooney of his ER habits, namely walking into a room and not making eye contact with anyone. I thought Clooney later saying he would never work with Russell again made him sound like a prima donna, not acknowledging that the director was helping him give a unique performance.

The Defamer article led me to Wikipedia, where there is a more complete accounting of the problems on Three Kings. Russell would get agitated and yell a lot, and Clooney would come to the defense of whoever he thought was being attacked. It sounds like two big egos always taking adversarial positions on everything and not exactly respecting each other, eventually leading to fisticuffs.

I guess it shouldn’t have been much of a surprise when James Caan quit Nailed on the first day of his two day shoot. Watching those videos with Russell and Tomlin, it’s easy to see how it could happen. That being said, Russell does know how to turn out a quality movie.

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