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On Set with David O. Russell

By Ivo Knezevic, VP, executive producer, Draftfcb Chicago
Working with David O. Russell… What can I say? It was a privilege to work with David again on the KFC Boneless campaign. It was the fourth batch of spots we'd collaborated on, so there's a strong working relationship. While David is an elite filmmaker, and yes, David has directed several Oscar-winning performances, he's also a collaborator.  David loves to "spitball" ideas. He put out ideas and we'd discuss them in an open forum. Some worked, some didn't, but it was about trying to push the spots to be the best they could be. I've worked with other feature film directors in the past, and that's not always the case. On set, David's energy and enthusiasm are infectious. He wants to make sure both agency and client are getting what they need. He's approachable and communicates well.
This production was a bit tricky, as we had to figure out a way to make it work as David was finishing "Silver Linings Playbook.” We worked with Gina Zapata, the executive producer at Wondros, his commercial production company, to figure out a schedule that would work. He was bouncing between finishing his film, test screenings and our spots. Despite the different tone of the projects, David moved effortlessly between them.
Casting was pivotal on these spots, and we were all looking for comedic actors that could realistically pull off the comedy. David likes to spend time in the callback session (where agency and director see a lot of actors perform in person), working the script and story. In the end, David, agency and KFC clients all agreed that we'd gotten the right actors for their roles.
My moment happened right after our pre-production meeting. We were wrapping up with clients, and David leaned over to ask me a question. He asked if it was ok for him to leave. The reason? He wanted to go and meet with an A-list actor to convince him to be in his current movie. Kiddingly, I told him if it was a lessor actor, I'd say no. Of course, I said yes.
The result are the spots that are now airing under the tagline “I Ate the Bones”. Working with David has been one of the highlights of my career. We're all looking forward to working with him again.  And, to boot, "Silver Linings Playbook" did well at the box office and during the award season. I just wish David had won the Oscar for Best Director.
I Ate The Bones TV spot