Chuck Russell, director of films such as Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), The Mask (1994), and Junglee (2019), spoke to Katch University interns about his career as a film director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. During his time in Hollywood, he has worked with seasoned professionals like Jim Carrey, as well as today's prominent actors such as Chris Hemsworth.
Russell decided to move to Los Angeles during college and his interest in improv and comedy has a lasting impact on his career. He cites improv as a key tool in all of his films when it comes to rehearsing with actors and improving performances. He emphasized the need for a director to create a meaningful connection with everyone working on a film. "You have to create a family," he said, "Lead all of them, learn their names... It's not so much a memory test as showing respect."
Respect was a ket theme that he continued to touch upon throughout the hour he spent with Katch University interns. His considerate nature was shown through his actions, whether it be understanding an actor's vulnerabilities, supporting the screenwriters, or working with Indian writers and translators to ensure the accuracy of his Bollywood film, Junglee. Since his work in Hollywood started at a young age, he encouraged interns to "be the new generation that does some great, great work [because] we're all really lucky that there's something we're this passionate about."
Russell has always supported strong female leads and is encouraged to see that Hollywood is also heading in that direction. He is also hopeful about the industry's ability to adapt to COVID-19 and feels equipped to follow and enforce safety protocols as a confident director. "One of the things that is certain in film is the same thing that's certain in life," he said, "and that's change."