The Fighter's David O. Russell on Breaking Out of Director Jail: 'I Don't Need to Get Burned Twice'
It used to be you could count on David O. Russell to be Hollywood's resident actor-alienating, on-set yelling enfant terrible. Not anymore. As the director told MSN Movies, he's well aware that years of bad behavior landed him in movie jail. And now that The Fighter has put him back in the industry's good graces with a Best Director Oscar nod as the cherry on top, Russell's all about making nice.
"I had a friend who's a director say I came blazing out with two Uzis firing," Russell told MSN's James Rocchi, running with the movie jail metaphor. "I came out like a prison break. I, myself, keep myself on parole in the terms of respecting where I am and being grounded and never wanting to go back to a place that isn't focused and super-productive."
And during his jail time, so to speak, he did some serious growing up: "Those years -- I was doing a lot of writing and going through a lot of personal things -- were difficult years. I'm glad they're over. I think they made me a smarter writer and smarter filmmaker and a more grateful one. I feel that it's affording me a lot of opportunities that I intend to respect and to try to keep doing the best work I can possibly do with the best attitude and best environment I can possibly do it. I don't need to get burned twice."
But as LA Weekly's Karina Longworth points out, Russell's "comeback" feels like a concession of sorts. Was The Fighter a "calculated" move to get back into the game by proving he could play well with others? Probably. But considering that the boxing biopic marks Russell's biggest success to date both critically and commercially, not to mention professionally (next up Russell is at the helm of the big budget studio adventure Uncharted: Drake's Fortune), can you blame him for minding his manners?
· David O. Russell of 'The Fighter': Inside Oscar [MSN Movies]