The Refinement of Russell
He feuded with George Clooney on "Three Kings" -- now he's reteaming with Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper.
Much has been made of the metamorphosis of David O. Russell from mercurial auteur (he once tried to choke George Clooney) to "the most lovely, funny, sweet, genius person in the entire world," as Silver Linings Playbook star Jennifer Lawrence gushes. What garners less ink is Russell's evolution as a filmmaker, from the angst-ridden indie darling of 1994's Spanking the Monkey and 1996's Flirting With Disaster fame to the more mature Oscar contender of 2010's The Fighter and Playbook. Flirting -- which starred Ben Stiller as a man on a cross-country search for his birth parents -- showcased Russell's long-standing interest in dysfunctional family dynamics, which also has threaded its way throughout The Fighter and Playbook.
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