The event was held at AGO restaurant in support of the Ghetto Film School, an org that Russell has supported for 12 years.
“It’s a wonderful public high school that the city of New York has embraced, where kids from every borough can go to high school and have a cinema-based curriculum,” Russell said. “It’s come a long a way from a little gleam in (founder) Joe Hall’s eyes.”
Russell has brought friends like Amy Adams and Spike Jonze to the school to help educate and develop the next generation of American storytellers.
Robert De Niro, who had a small role in “Hustle,” graced the ’70s-themed party by having dinner at the restaurant he part owns, and he gave Russell a kiss on the cheek before heading to Variety’s Unite:4Humanity event.
The film’s co-writer Eric Singer said he usually is not nervous, but with Sunday’s Oscars just days away, this year for some reason — he is. Producer Richard Suckle said he’s more anxious than anything.
“It’s like being in the playoffs and this is kind of like the World Series, so I’m really fortunate to be here,” Suckle said.
“These are characters with a tremendous amount of heart and soul, and that was something both David and I worked on really hard for that to come through,” Singer said. “We all lead complicated lives, and that these people are just trying to get through it and come out the other side with some heart and soul.”
The big hit of the night was the “American Hustle”-themed photo booth. Bradley Cooper’s tight curled ‘do, Adams’ perm and Christian Bale’s sunglasses were available for guests to wear in the photos.
Other guests included Eli Roth, Florence Henderson, Adrian Grenier, Nia Vardalos, Adam Shankman, Helena Christensen and Megan Ellison.