Craft Talking American Hustle

David O. Russell’s on a roll with his Oscar-contending American Hustle, his most personal and popular movie yet. It’s smart and funny, and has obviously touched a nerve with its story of survival and reinvention during the cultural and political upheaval of the late ’70s. “I don’t care about pure dissipation or pure cynicism — I’ve gotta have the thing that people live for,” he insists. So in a recent roundtable discussion, we explored how this passion spilled over to his Oscar-nominated crew: production designer Judy Becker, costume designer Michael Wilkinson, and editor Jay Cassidy.

“These characters are loving and passionate, but there are also great tribulations and troubles, mistakes and recoveries. That’s the banner of our cinema. So these guys help build all that and put their passion into it,” Russell suggests.

From Becker’s perspective, it was a great opportunity to uncover this diverse world in New York/New Jersey where glam and suburbia clash. ”I think so often you can only go in one direction, but this gave us the opportunity to show the diversity of human nature and how that’s expressed through the crafts and through design and the portrayal of a world and a period,” she explains.

Meanwhile, Wilkinson relished the very direct and intimate relationship that they all have with their wardrobes. “They’re all using their clothes as part of their hustle, as part of their reinvention, the people they’re aspiring to be,” he proclaims.

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Clips, Costume, Editing, Movies, Oscar, Production Design, Tech

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