David O. Russell hails big hair, big dreams in 'American Hustle'

Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:05am EST
 
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Director David O. Russell travels back to the 1970s with its blaring disco music, garish clothes and big hair in "American Hustle," a tale about reinvention, love and survival featuring con-artists, mobsters and an FBI sting operation.

A fictional film built around the real-life Abscam scandal that led to the conviction of a U.S. senator and six congressmen, "American Hustle" last week won the New York Film Critics Circle award for best film of 2013 and a best supporting actress prize for Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence.

With its twisting plot, viewers are left guessing who is conning whom. But for Russell, nominated for best directing Oscars for his two previous movies, "The Fighter" and "Silver Linings Playbook", the heart of the film is its characters.

"It was an amazing group of people in a heck of a predicament that I found to be filled with passion," he said while doing last-minute touch ups on the film that opens in limited U.S. theaters on Friday and wide release December 20.

"The predicament is a great blowtorch for the characters and their world. I've come to see that I adore characters who are reinventing themselves, who are the salt of the earth, who are dreamers."

'YOU WRITE IT FOR THEM'

Russell said he felt his other films, starting with "The Fighter", and changes in his own life, were preparation for "American Hustle".

He recruited an ensemble cast including Christian Bale, who picked up a best supporting actor Oscar for his role in "The Fighter" and is nearly unrecognizable as the overweight, balding, small-time hustler Irving Rosenfeld.   Continued...

 
"American Hustle" director David O. Russell poses for a portrait with cast members Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner in New York December 8, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Thayer