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Golden Globes 2014: David O. Russell notes 'Hustle' not improvised

Golden Globes 2014: David O. Russell notes 'Hustle' not improvised
Director David O. Russell poses backstage at the Golden Globe Awards with Amy Adams. The two each came away with awards for "American Hustle." (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

How does David O. Russell manage to so consistently write strong female leads?

He's got his mother to thank for that, the director said backstage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel after his film "American Hustle" won the Golden Globe for motion picture comedy on Sunday.

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"My mother was a very powerful person. She was an Italian woman from Brooklyn. I realized that with 'The Fighter,' I based some of that on experiences with my mother," he said, adding, "strong women characters are the gateway to a very powerful movie."

Asked whether there was a lot of improvisation on the set of "American Hustle," Russell said that even though it may have come across that way, there was not.

"I want to correct the notion of improvisation," the co-writer/director said. "You can't make a film that complicated and improvise it."

The only improvisation, if you could call it that, came in the editing room when Russell found he had an embarrassment of riches and struggled to decide which scenes he had to cut.

"Some things that came out [of the film] broke our hearts," he said, adding that the actors were invited into the cutting room.  "Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner had some wonderful scenes together that were very difficult to cut out."

Did “American Hustle” really belong in the comedy category?

"Sometimes the most heartbreaking stuff is the funniest," the director said noncomitally.

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