David O. Russell’s New Film Flopped—Will Celebrities Finally Stop Supporting Him?
Reports state that director David O. Russell’s latest film Amsterdam is on the verge of losing millions of dollars. The question is if this will finally encourage studios and celebrity actors to stop working with a man with over two decades of on and off-set bad behavior surrounding him.
Deadline shares that “with a $6.5M opening at 3,005 theaters, boosted by Imax and PLF ticket sales that accounted for more than a third of that number, altogether it came out to a paltry $10M worldwide start.” A failure on Russell’s part to recreate his previous successes in a career that has continued to flourish despite his awful reputation.
Since 2000 there have been repeated reports of David O. Russell being involved in altercations with other people. Vulture has a list of incidents concerning Russell, complete with citations and quotes to back them up. The results are a frustrating reminder that #MeToo has done nothing because Hollywood will endorse predators until it becomes untenable. I mean, Clooney said in a Playboy interview that Russell allegedly pushed an extra to the ground, “kicking him, and questioning if he wanted to be ‘in this fucking movie.’”
Some other disgusting highlights include Russell admitting “to touching his 19-year-old niece’s breasts in 2011,” justifying it by saying she was being “very provocative,” and reports of physically attacking Christopher Nolan, being cruel to Amy Adams, Lily Tomlin, and rumors of the same with Jennifer Lawrence.
Yet people want to work with Russell. So much so that, according to Deadline: “actors showed up because they wanted to work with Russell, some even working for scale. This despite noteworthy conflicts the intense Russell has had over the years with actors including George Clooney, Lily Tomlin, and Amy Adams.”
Despite being on set for the reported cruelty towards Amy Adams—which was so bad that at one point he reportedly “got in [Russel’s] face and told him to stop acting like an asshole”—Christian Bale still said to GQ: “[…] When you’re working with people of the crazy creative talent of Amy or of David, there are gonna be upsets. But they are fucking phenomenal.”
And that “crazy creative talent” is seen as justification for terrible behavior. But what I find so frustrating is that there are women in this cast who have spoken about #MeToo, made money and clout off #MeToo movies, and have asked for female solidarity—but are working with a man who admitted to molesting his transgender niece and blamed his actions on her transition? The Academy nominated him for Best Director after this happened—twice.
The system may be flawed, but actors are not helping by speaking out of both sides of their mouths regarding issues like this. Either they care, or they don’t. Either they want to work with directors regardless of allegations, or they won’t.
Amsterdam will likely not be the nail in the coffin for Russell, but it is essential to recognize that the allegations against him are not a one-time thing. According to the many reports out there, he constantly continues to be cruel on set, especially towards crew and women. This is something that has over two decades on the record, and yet, A-List stars keep ignoring it. When will it ever be enough? Constance Wu got bullied into wanting to self-harm because of a tweet. Where is the backlash for people who actually deserve it?
(via Deadline, image: 20th Century Fox)
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