The people behind DC’s Harley Quinn and Marvel’s Killmonger are joining forces. Just one year after their joint interview for W's Best Performances piece — in which they talked about everything from first kisses to earliest acting roles — David O. Russell has recruited Margot Robbie and Michael B. Jordan for his upcoming movie.
The film, which has yet to receive an official title, will be the first from the director since his 2015 biopic Joy starring Jennifer Lawrence.
So far, no plot details are known about the new project, which Russell will also write. Christian Bale, who previously appeared in Russell’s American Hustle, will also star in the film.
For any actor seeking award show buzz, working with Russell is a safe bet. His films have scored numerous accolades for his stars, with Lawrence taking home the Academy Award for Best Actress in his 2012 film Silver Linings Playbook and a second Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in American Hustle. Bale received the Best Supporting Actor award in 2010 for his role in The Fighter, as did Melissa Leo in the Best Supporting Actress category.
Russell’s career has also come with controversy, and plenty of drama between him and the stars he works with. George Clooney, whom Russell directed in Three Kings, claimed to Playboy that Russell was a toxic presence on set who would often scream at members of the crew and humiliate people, sometimes until they cried. Russell’s behaviour led to an altercation between him and Clooney.
In a 2004 interview with Premiere, Clooney said of Russell, per The Guardian: “Quite honestly, if he comes near me, I’ll sock him right in the fucking mouth.”
Not everyone Russell had drama with held a grudge. In 2004, a video surfaced of a heated argument between Russell and actress Lily Tomlin on the set of I Heart Huckabees. Years later, however, Tomlin defended the director in 2011 interview with Movieline.
“It's like family. If you have a big fight in your family, usually it's treated that way on the set. We don't want to misbehave; believe me, it's embarrassing. It's humiliating, you know? Because you just lose it. You act like a crazy person,” explained Tomlin to the outlet. “But I adore David. I adore him as a talent. A lot of my friends said, ‘Well, you won't work with him again.’ I said, ‘Of course I would! I adore him, I love him. He's brilliant.’”
More recently, Russell’s behaviour was questioned again when Amy Adams, who worked with Russell on American Hustle, revealed to GQ that Russell made her cry often on the American Hustle set.
"He did [make me cry.] He was hard on me, that's for sure. It was a lot," she told the outlet. "[Most days] I was really just devastated on set."
Russell’s alleged behaviour is not a secret in Hollywood, and Robbie, his latest star, is an advocate for Time’s Up, an organisation that pledges to stop workplace harassment, as well as a successful producer with her company LuckyChap (I, Tonya, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, and the upcoming Promising Young Woman).
As such major players in Hollywood, one can imagine both she and Jordan, who also produces his own projects, are aware of Russell’s past reputation — though whether there will be stories like the ones Clooney and Adams have about the director on his next project remains to be seen.
While we don't know what roles Robbie and Jordan will play — or how much screen time they will share — their W video is basically a screen test for Russell's new film. Check it out below: