Whether watching Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees or The Fighter, it's obvious that writer-director David O. Russell considers music a major aspect of his filmmaking. In Silver Linings Playbook, he took his appreciation of music up a notch by giving the film a big finale complete with a definitively quirky dance number. With his ABSCAM-inspired dramedy American Hustle, Russell adds a bit of singing to the mix. Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner belt out a rousing rendition of Tom Jones' "Delilah." Amy Adams and Bale duet on a swooning love song, "I've Got Your Number." And Jennifer Lawrence proves a true scene-stealer as she hurls herself around a garish living room screeching out an emotion-filled version of "Live and Let Die."
Each moment seems both surreal and believable as the story of con artists in league with FBI agents unfurls, complete with sensationally bad hair and lots of bold fashion choices. When I sat down with Russell to discuss American Hustle, I had to ask him about what's next, and whether or not it might be a full-on musical. He confessed that the "Delilah" sing-along, where Bale as con man Irving Rosenfeld joins in with a bar full of men and his mark, Renner's Mayor Carmine Polito, was actually Renner's idea. Russell rolled with it, and seems to be getting swept up with the possibility of a movie musical. Asked directly if he is working his way to a musical, he told me with a broad smile:
"Maybe. I do love the music and cinema together. And I loved how musical the movie was. I loved how Amy was dancing with Christian. I loved the romance of that. I think romance is very important to me, I've discovered as a filmmaker, which I never would have predicted. But I love embracing it through really raw characters. And-maybe…I loved listening to them sing 'Delilah.' So yes, maybe I am inching my way towards a musical."
Russell hasn't yet lined up his next project, so perhaps we should keep our fingers crossed that a musical will be where his inspiration leads next. You can see the full video below, which includes Russell's explanation of why he took three of Hollywood's hottest leading men (Renner, Bale, and former People's Sexiest Man Alive Bradley Cooper) and willfully played down their looks for this story of men of incredible charisma.
Russell tells us his actors embraced these transformations that included the garish style of the '70s extrapolated in low-cut shirts and vivid suits, a cringe-inducing comb-over, a pathetic self-perm, and a gluttonous beer-belly. You can read about the man major physical transformations Bale has undergone in Sean's detailed countdown, and see these '70s studs in action in the latest American Hustle trailer.
American Hustle opens in limited release on Dec. 13 before expanding on Dec. 20. Look for more interviews from the cast next week.