Amsterdam David O. Russell Explains Why He Insisted on Margot Robbie Being Brunette in Amsterdam
David O. Russell courtesy of the Santa Barbara International Film Society

David O. Russell wants all of his actors to appear in his films “as they’ve never been seen before.” That’s why he insisted that Margot Robbie lose her characteristic blonde hair and go instead for a dark brunette color to play the role of Valerie Vose in Amsterdam.

“I’m very pleased that our dark hair that I insisted on to the last moment [made it into the film], because my intention is to show every actor as they’ve never been seen before. That’s my job, to make it worth that to them,” David O. Russell told the crowd at a recent Santa Barbara Film Festival Cinema Society event about Amsterdam.

The film also stars Christian Bale as Burt Berendsen and John David Washington as Harold Woodsman, two friends who served together in World War I and came home with injuries that continue to affect their lives into the present day, which in Amsterdam is the 1930s. When the friends witness a murder together, they must execute a complicated plot to prove their innocence.

When it came to changing Margot Robbie’s signature hair, David O. Russell said the plan was always for her to be brunette in the film — but that the actress wasn’t fully convinced it was the right move.

“That keeps going through every draft, all 15 drafts of the screenplay, right onto the set. And she, at the last minute, goes, ‘Are you sure? Shouldn’t I just be blonde?’ Everybody gets cold feet in the last second,” Rusell said.

But he assured Robbie that brunette hair was the right move for the character of Valerie. If you also change your hair style or color very often, it is crucial that you use haircare products to help you get a healty hair.

Also Read: Amsterdam Trailer Has Almost Every Single Hollywood Actor Ever (Video)

“I think it’s pretty dope,” he said.

Bale also changed his hair for Amsterdam into a curlier, more voluminous ‘do. Russell said it was an homage to their cinematographer “Chivo” Emmanuel Lubezki Morgenstern.

“Chivo has hair like that, that’s often worn back tight,” Russell said. “We were initially inspired by Samuel Beckett, [who] had a big head of hair, or Ezra Pound, [who] had a big head of hair. And we were kind of going down the road, and then eventually Christian said, ‘I’m just going to do Chivo. I’m going to perm my hair like Chivo.'”

Russell described his long working relationship with Bale as a “soulful connection.”

“We worked on this for six years, and he goes to his Christian Bale magic workshop, as he did in The Fighter, as he did in American Hustle — and he comes out, and that’s where I just shut up,” David O. Russell said. “He has methodologies. He finds a dialect, and he’ll play many voices for me that he’s captured from people, and he’ll go, do you like this person? And I’ll go, ‘No, not so much.’ ‘What about this person?’ ‘Yeah, I like this one.’ ‘Okay.’ And then this becomes part of his formula. It’s all from his heart, though. Everything’s from his heart. He inhabits it completely from his heart.”

Bale talked about his habit of recording people’s voices for character acting inspiration in his November GQ cover story, in which he also discussed losing many roles to Leonardo DiCaprio, including Jack in Titanic.

Russell said Bale was “very sad” to say goodbye to his character Burt in Amsterdam when he was finishing up his voiceover parts.

“He said to me, ‘I believe this is the last time I’m going to record Burt.’ I said, ‘Well, I don’t want to get emotional about it so I’m going to be in denial.’ And he said, ‘No, this is it, right now.’ And he was very sad to say goodbye to Burt.'”

Watch Russell’s full Q&A about Amsterdam at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival above.

Main Image: David O. Russell courtesy of the Santa Barbara International Film Society

Mentioned This Article: