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David O. Russell

David O. Russell

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Also Known As: David Owen Russell Died:
Born: August 20, 1958 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: director, screenwriter, literacy teacher, political organizer, bartender

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Bursting onto the filmmaking scene with an uncomfortable, but darkly comic examination of mother-son incest, David O. Russell quickly developed a reputation for being one of the most original and forward-looking directors working in Hollywood. The splash he made with "Spanking the Monkey" (1994) opened the doors wide for Russell, who became one of those rare talents to gain studio backing for highly-personal and risky films that typically generated rave reviews, but little profit. After the toned-down sophomore effort, "Flirting with Disaster" (1996), he scored a large-scale success with "Three Kings" (1999), which thrust Russell into the top tier of working directors. But with success came a new breed of controversy, namely media stories about his erratic on-set behavior, resulting in verbal and physical clashes with cast and crew. Even footage of a verbal tirade against Lily Tomlin on the set of "I [Heart] Huckabees" (2004) managed to go viral on the Internet, confirming irrefutable proof that Russell could indeed be a tyrant on the set. Despite his behavior, Russell still maintained a reputation for bringing the most taboo subjects into a fresh and hilarious light, while earning considerable...

Bursting onto the filmmaking scene with an uncomfortable, but darkly comic examination of mother-son incest, David O. Russell quickly developed a reputation for being one of the most original and forward-looking directors working in Hollywood. The splash he made with "Spanking the Monkey" (1994) opened the doors wide for Russell, who became one of those rare talents to gain studio backing for highly-personal and risky films that typically generated rave reviews, but little profit. After the toned-down sophomore effort, "Flirting with Disaster" (1996), he scored a large-scale success with "Three Kings" (1999), which thrust Russell into the top tier of working directors. But with success came a new breed of controversy, namely media stories about his erratic on-set behavior, resulting in verbal and physical clashes with cast and crew. Even footage of a verbal tirade against Lily Tomlin on the set of "I [Heart] Huckabees" (2004) managed to go viral on the Internet, confirming irrefutable proof that Russell could indeed be a tyrant on the set. Despite his behavior, Russell still maintained a reputation for bringing the most taboo subjects into a fresh and hilarious light, while earning considerable awards attention for "The Fighter" (2010) and "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012), making him one of Hollywood's more creatively risk-taking directors.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
3.
4.
  I Heart Huckabees (2004) Director
5.
  Three Kings (1999) Director
6.
  Flirting With Disaster (1996) Director
7.
  Spanking the Monkey (1994) Director
8.
  Hairway to the Stars (1989) Director
9.
  Bingo Inferno (1987) Director
10.
  Boston to Panama (1985) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Adaptation. (2002) Orlean dinner guest
2.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
After graduating from Amherst, worked as a political organizer and literacy teacher
:
Worked as a bartender in NYC while writing screenplays
1985:
First short film, "Boston to Panama"
1987:
Made second short film "Bingo Inferno"
1990:
Produced, wrote and, directed short film "Hairway to the Stars"
1994:
Wrote and directed first feature film "Spanking the Monkey"
1996:
Second feature film "Flirting With Disaster"
1999:
Directed "Three Kings," starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube
2004:
Wrote and directed the off-beat comedy "I Heart Huckabees"
2010:
Helmed biographical sports film "The Fighter," starring Mark Wahlberg as professional boxer Micky Ward
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Golden Globe Award for Best Director ¿ Motion Picture ("The Fighter")
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film ("The Fighter")
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Golden Globe Award for Best Director ¿ Motion Picture
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Achievement in Directing
2012:
Wrote and directed "Silver Linings Playbook," starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro
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Education

Amherst College: Amherst , Massachusetts - 1981

Notes

"I don't think the parents of our generation were very interested in their kids. I think they were interested in what their kids represented in terms of potential and kudos and achievements."---David O Russell in FILMMAKER, Summer 1994.

"When you're outside there in the cold, you think, 'If I only had a deal at New Line, things would be great.' Well, we had a deal at New Line and it didn't solve any of our problems. You just get a whole set of other problems, and we didn't solve them. That's why we're back on the street."---Russell in FILMMAKER, Summer 1994.

"All those great seventies movies. That's my guiding vision as a filmmaker. The seventies was a strange window in which Hollywood had stars, they were commercial, yet they were very original and very subversive"---Russell in NEW YORK magazine, April 29, 1996.

"I knew he was a combination of talented, nutty, and anything but derivative, and I responded to that," says Hoffman. "And I felt that the comedy came from that good old painful place."---Dustin Hoffman on working with Russell on "I Heart Huckabees" to Premiere, November 2004.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Janet Grillo. Producer. Met at 1987 Sundance Film Festival; former executive with Fine Line.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Bernard Russell. Publishing executive. Worked in sales at Simon & Schuster.
mother:
Maria Russell. Homemaker, active in political causes. Daughter of Italian immigrants.
son:
Matthew Antonio Grillo Russell. Born on March 10, 1994.

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