Friends defend Russell as ‘Huckabees’ video gathers steam
Director’s on-set tirade against Lily Tomlin is a much-viewed video online. But it doesn’t show the whole man, colleagues say.
The LA Times
By Gina Piccalo, Times Staff Writer
April 11, 2007
Some folks in the industry called Russell’s behavior “unprofessional” and “irresponsible.” To others in Hollywood, however, making such a clip public — leaking it from the set, then posting it on YouTube.com, for example — violated a basic industry code: What happens on the set, stays on the set.”It’s just hard to understand unless you’re part of the club in a certain respect,” said “I (Heart) Huckabees” cinematographer Peter Deming. “When people see this clip, particularly if you’re not in the film business, they’d think, ‘This guy’s insane!’ But he’s not. Things happen when you’re in this machine that’s been rolling along for several months.”
The fight was almost comic in its melodrama, starting with Tomlin griping to Russell about his direction, saying, “We’re not all as brilliant as you.” Russell soon erupts, sweeping papers off Tomlin’s desk, then stomps around, kicks a trash can, tosses a hat stand, storms out screaming, then stomps back in, still yelling. One crew member is seen ducking in the background to avoid flying objects.
Producer Greg Goodman, a longtime friend and producer on “Huckabees” and Russell’s earlier film “Three Kings,” said the clip was taken out of context.
“He’s a very responsible filmmaker who wants to make sure we’re coming in on budget,” said Goodman. (And indeed, “Huckabees” came in on time and on budget.) “He is an individual. You embrace that.”