I “Heart” David O Russell

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I met David O Russell yesterday (writer/director of Flirting With Disaster, The Three Kings, I “Heart” Huckabees and The Fighter for all you non-film geeks).

While I won’t go into the details of why I met with him –  because I’m superstitious about causing things to nosedive and explode into a million charred and fiery pieces when I talk about them –  but I will tell you that meeting him affirmed for me my fanatic, hyperbolic love for writers, actors, directors and creatives.

I had the rare treat of watching David work with the sound mixer on a scene from his upcoming movie Silver Lining Playbook. (For the record there will be Oscars aplenty for this film – I know that just from watching one scene). I was nervous meeting David as he, along with Wes Anderson, is on of my favorite writer/directors. But my self-consciousness evaporated when the theater darkened and the scene came up.

I was instantly sucked out of my head and into David’s. In a scene where Bradley Cooper’s character suffers a bi-polar mania episode which escalates to violence, I was struck by how David managed to balance perverse hilarity with heartbreak, how he married mundaneness so effortlessly with the absurd.

SLP reminded me of risky theater at its best. That glorious moment when the unexpected happens, adrenalizing actors and audience alike, rocketing them to a different plane of consciousness. In the span of that five/ten minute scene I chortled, sweated, cringed, clutched my throat and gaped in awe at the sheer audacity of the performances.

When I got home it was like I was hopped up on Crank. I was inspired to take more chances as a writer, make greater leaps, be willing to epically fail and embarrass myself in pursuit of that elusive, transcendent moment. Thanks for that DOR.

You better sharpen your pencil and start writing your speech

A quote from one of my favorite playwright/screenwriters John Patrick Shanley (Doubt), it’s directed towards actors, but applies to all creatives: “Act from the depth of your feeling imagination. Act for celebration, for search, for grieving, for worship, to express that desolate sensation of wandering through the howling wilderness. Don’t worry about Art. Do these things and it will be Art.”

(Full Disclosure: This was NOT a sponsored post)

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19 comments

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  1. Deborah Stambler
    Deborah Stambler 6 November, 2012, 12:40

    When’s the film coming out? This is such a fine quote–desolate sensation of wandering through the howling wilderness.

    Wow. It’s so very nice when those unexpected moments of inspiration and connection with other artists happen. I am getting my contact high.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 6 November, 2012, 13:39

      Hi Deb — it’s in theaters November 21st. I love that Shanley quote, I go back to it over and over when I’m despondent about my craft.

      Reply this comment
    • Shelby Barone
      Shelby Barone 7 November, 2012, 07:39

      That was what I was thinking. Can’t wait to see it.

      Reply this comment
  2. Denise Danches Fisher
    Denise Danches Fisher 6 November, 2012, 13:26

    What a day that was…! Talk about excitement! This is a memory that I am sure you will reflect on for some time.

    Reply this comment
  3. Alexandra
    Alexandra 6 November, 2012, 14:04

    So Flirting with Disaster and I Heart Huckabees are two of my very favorites, so I will definitely see this new film. I am also a Wes Anderson fan – I suppose my top 5 fantasy director list would include him, Cameron Crowe, the Coens, and Steven Soderbergh. Oh, and Wem Wenders.

    Reply this comment
  4. Anne (@notasupermom)
    Anne (@notasupermom) 6 November, 2012, 17:34

    I’ve heard excellent things about Silver Lining Playbook. I’m looking forward to seeing it!

    Reply this comment
  5. Sharon Greenthal (@sharongreenthal)
    Sharon Greenthal (@sharongreenthal) 6 November, 2012, 17:44

    I can’t wait to see this movie – it looks amazing. So few movies appeal to me anymore. I love Wes Anderson too – The Royal Tenenbaums is one of my all-time favorites.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 6 November, 2012, 22:33

      Loved the Tennenbaums as well, and Rushmore, David’s Flirting With Disaster

      Reply this comment
  6. Delfin Joaquin Paris III
    Delfin Joaquin Paris III 6 November, 2012, 20:13

    His Lily Tomlin freakout is one the greatest director meltdowns ever caught on tape. Amazing.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 6 November, 2012, 22:31

      True — but I think she exonerated him. I’m a willing to wait and see where his genius leads.

      Reply this comment
  7. Nicole
    Nicole 7 November, 2012, 07:43

    I want to see this movie so stinkin’ badly. It looks brilliant. Absolutely, amazing.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 7 November, 2012, 08:05

      It takes a really good movie to get me to hire a babysitter and get out of my house to see it in the theater. This will be one of those.

      Reply this comment
  8. Ciaran
    Ciaran 7 November, 2012, 10:43

    I’ll take meeting an amazing writer over meeting an amazing actor any day of the week!

    Reply this comment
  9. joanneinjax
    joanneinjax 7 November, 2012, 11:38

    Shannon,

    I so enjoy your writing, and read with delight about your interesting behind-the-scenes experience. I share your love of ‘creatives’, as I am an artist myself. But, as I kept reading, I had one of those ‘hair standing on the back of the neck’ moments when you mentioned JP Shanley, whose work I’ve always respected. One of my guilty pleasures it reading Page 6 in the NY Post on a regular basis. A couple of days ago I had read this article:
    http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/suit_battle_qn3yyPYUcWLO2FddWHzwUL
    There is also a more lengthy article with photos in the Daily Mail (UK). Consenting adults, OK, I’m no prude – I’m old but very liberal – but seriously?

    Keep up your wonderful writing!

    Joanne

    Reply this comment
  10. joanneinjax
    joanneinjax 8 November, 2012, 14:57

    Good question, Darlin’,
    I still have the hots for Bill Clinton! Go figure!

    Reply this comment

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