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The Wild Imagination of 'American Hustle' Director David O. Russell: 'I'm an ADD Guy'

Behind the scenes at our cover shoot with David O. Russell, the five-time Oscar nominee talks about what it means to his team to get nominations, the process involved in working with Christian Bale and plans to write again for American Hustle cast members.

What the nominations mean to his team

"I feel extremely proud. I feel like it’s a win for the whole film, for everybody who collaborated on the film... from the AD department to the hair and makeup department to the cinematographer and the writing and the directing." Russell continues, "We’re all there together, any time anybody wins. That’s why it’s nice if anybody gets acknowledged."

Experience directing Christian Bale

"Christian goes to Christian's workshop and Christian makes his own decisions in his own workshop," Russell says about his American Hustle lead, who is up for the best actor Oscar. "We got to see Christian Bale as we’d never seen him before, as we had in The Fighter. I’m happy to be the director to see the sides of Christian Bale that are enchanting, loving, vulnerable, funny, warm, as well as intense, but he himself decides how much weight he’s going to bring on and that to him is a secondary thing." He adds: "Shaving his head was something, of course, we were both excited to do."

Love for his cast members

"When you personally love the characters and you love the actors... ideas will come and inspirations will come from that love," the director says of his team. "I love everybody in the cast. I love Jennifer and I love her character, including the parts that are very bedeviling. We can really love somebody because no one character is any one way. They’re many ways. They’re troubling. They’re enchanting. They’re lovable. They’re hateable," he says.

"I start to think about her talking about parts of her that become character exposing," Russell says of actress Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Rosalyn Rosenfeld. "She and I both loved the idea of the nails, that she was being this Long Island wife with the hair and nails... a Jennifer Lawrence nobody really knew."

Future roles for the American Hustle actors

"I am looking forward to creating projects for these actors that I feel very privileged to write for, so I am going to write again for many of these cast members and take them to new worlds and new places that are very soulful, which is what makes me want to go to work," says Russell of the future. "There’s a project about my teenage years in New York area and it’s set in the 70’s that I’ve put a lot of love into it that I wrote about ten years ago and I think some day that will come out, that story."