David O Russell Controversy: Allegations Abound Against British-American Director

British-American director David Owen Russell was born in the United States on August 20, 1958. Some of the early comedic films he directed are Spanking the Monkey (1994), Flirting with Disaster (1996), Three Kings (1999), and I Heart Huckabees (2000). (2004). His biographical sports movie The Fighter (2010), romantic comedy-drama Silver Linings Playbook (2012), and dark comedic crime picture American Hustle (2013) all garnered critical acclaim (2013).


After the economic and critical success of his first three features, director David O. Russell received no less than three Academy Award nominations: once for Best Director, once for Best Adapted Screenplay (for Silver Linings Playbook), and once for Best Original Screenplay (for American Hustle).

With the semi-autobiographical comedy-drama Joy, Russell earned his sixth nomination for a Golden Globe (2015).

Russell’s aggressive approach toward his film’s cast, such as George Clooney, Lily Tomlin, and Amy Adams, has caused friction on and off-site. In addition, he confessed to groping his transgender niece, then 19, in 2011 and to physically attacking Christopher Nolan at a Hollywood party in 2003.

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According to a source Russell assaulted Nolan after seeing him at a Hollywood party and publicly embarrassed the British filmmaker.

While holding Nolan’s head in front of the other partygoers, Russell insisted that he return Jude Law to his own production as a show of “creative solidarity” and a sign of respect for the director’s work. Apparently annoyed and angered, Nolan returned Law to Russell’s production.

Even during the filming of I Heart Huckabees, director David O. Russell reportedly clashed with star Lily Tomlin and several other actors.

david o russell controversy

Sharon Waxman, who wrote the aforementioned piece for the New York Times, claims that Russell used “…the crudest phrase imaginable, in front of the performers and crew,” in regard to the actor.

The actor told in 2011 that “it was just insane, crazy things” working on the set of the film. We were always up to something, but every once in a while we’d hit a frenzied, insane phase, and I’d lose my cool and lash out at him. After that, he really lost it and started attacking me. And, as you well know, things do happen.

Russell Was Embroiled in An Even More Serious Sexual Misconduct Charge

When his transgender niece, Nicole Peloquin, reported him to the police for allegedly sexually assaulting her when they were both 19 years old.

Russell told police that he had offered to help Peloquin with her exercises, but that he had instead reached under her shirt and felt her breasts. He also claimed that Peloquin had been “acting quite provocatively toward him” at the time. Since authorities didn’t see the claimed assault happen, the case was dismissed without charges being filed against Russell.

david o russell controversy

In more recent years, Amy Adams reported the director’s harsh approach on the set of American Hustle in 2013. He allegedly grabbed one guy by the collar, shouted out others repeatedly in front of others, and abused Amy Adams to the point where Christian Bale got in his face and ordered him to stop acting like an asshole, all of which was made public in the Sony breaches of 2014.

Even with some of the greatest names in Hollywood in his current film, Amsterdam, it’s surprising to see that filmmaker David O. Russell still has such sway in the modern industry.

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Regency Enterprises announced in January 2020 that Russell would be penning and helming their upcoming film, Amsterdam. Christian Bale and Margot Robbie are joining together with director David O. Russell for the third time. John David Washington joined the cast in October 2020, and production was set to start in January 2021.

david o russell controversy

Rami Malek and Zoe Saldana both joined the cast in the same month that filming began. An official trailer for the film featuring Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy, Mike Myers, Michael Shannon, Andrea Riseborough, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alessandro Nivola, Taylor Swift, and Robert De Niro was published in July 2022.

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