The season of Oscar-bait is upon us, and one of the baitiest films of all is set to release in a little over a month. Oscar-bait is a pretty easy dish to cook up. All you need is a mile-long A-list cast, a well-known director, and top it all off with a period piece overlay. October’s Amsterdam fits the bill, and while the cast list encourages excitement and hype, the director of the film brings a shadow of darkness and disgust.
The A-List Cast
Seriously though, the cast list is unbelievable. There are so many recognizable names that it might be too much of a good thing. While we would normally list off the top 3 names in the cast, let us give you the full list so that you can understand how truly packed and stacked this film will be.
The cast list is as follows: Robert De Niro, Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, Michael Shannon, Zoe Saldana, Anya Taylor-Joy, Timothy Olyphant, Rami Malek, Mike Myers, John David Washington, Chris Rock, and Taylor Swift.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “OK, I’m a little confused about Taylor Swift, but this looks like a very promising film.” If this were directed by another director, you would be correct. However, this film is directed by none other than David O. Russell, and his name taints the film in a way that makes it almost unwatchable.
This director though…
If you take a look at the initial promotional poster for Amsterdam, it’s simply the entire main cast listed in all-caps, followed by the teeniest, tiniest line of text underneath that reads, “From the director of American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook.”
The tactic of hiding the accused from any public promotions has been a popular one as of late. More recently, we saw the omission of Ansel Elgort from West Side Story marketing, zero presence from Armie Hammer in all Death on the Nile promotion, and similar copy stylings omitting John Lasseter’s name from promo posters for Apple TV+’s recent animated film Luck. The omission of David O. Russell’s name is loaded with his on-set habits of verbal abuse and the sexual assault of his transgender niece.
Russell gained a bad reputation for being combative and abusive (physically and verbally) to cast and crew on-set, and has had physical altercations with George Clooney, verbal altercations with Lily Tomlinson, and made life “a living hell” for Amy Adams on the set of American Hustle. He has also physically assaulted director Christopher Nolan at a party in Hollywood over Jude Law’s availability.
If the on-set abuse wasn’t enough to keep you away from the upcoming film, Russell has also admitted to sexually assaulting his transgender niece, Nicole Peloquin, in December 2011. According to the police report, Russell offered to help his niece with abdominal exercises and hovered his hands over her private parts. After asking her about what hormones she was taking to increase her breast size, he then slipped his hands under her shirt and groped her. When Russell admitted to this act, he claimed that Peloquin was “acting very provocative toward him” and had initiated an invite for him to touch her.
We can no longer separate the artists from their art, especially when their actions have historically affected the people involved with their art in irreversible ways. David O. Russell’s misconduct spans beyond his personal life and has reached his collaborators and peers. Financially supporting these projects by attending them positively reinforces this behavior (whether you choose to believe it or not).
Speaking of the Oscars, the Academy has just apologized to Sacheen Littlefeather (50 years later).
Photo via Disney