A smattering of quotes from American Hustle director-writer David O. Russell, as to Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn during a Nantucket Film Festival chat: “American Hustle [will be] like visiting another country, where the women and the men dress and behave in certain ways. That in itself is riveting. They sweat life and death through stakes that are terrifying. What they go through is almost like being in a boxing ring. You’re either going to get knocked out or knock the other guy out.

Christian “combover” Bale between takes of American Hustle shoot.

“It’s also my first film that has had a woman narrator. [Female] points of view are getting stronger in my films. Amy Adams has a very strong voice in this film — as does Jennifer Lawrence. And Christian [Bale], you’ve never seen him like this before. That’s exciting for me as a director and for actors as well: to become a very specific person, and you can smell and feel them. You can have some love for that person. I think the characters ended up being loved by the actors who played them. That’s what excites me.

“Specific struggles — whether it’s financial struggles by people trying to make their name, like this con artist couple in American Hustle, or as the mayor played by Jeremy Renner is, or an agent of the government, as Bradley Cooper‘s character is — they’re all struggling to survive and keep their identities and themselves. It gets blown up in their faces. Then what are you going to do? What are you going to do in the sixth round when you’re getting your ass handed to you? That’s what’s interesting to me. You gave it your all and now it looks really bad. What’s interesting to me is what happens next. That’s what makes it a great story.

“As I said the other day to Chris Matthews, someone else can make Argo. It’s a great movie, but it’s not the kind of movie I’m ever going to make. I’m not interested in making a movie that’s about events in such a pure way. I’m much more interested in looking at the people in their homes, with their emotions, their sex lives, their romances, their clothes, their dinners, their social lives. That, to me, becomes really intense.

“Then the events are like a blowtorch under their asses that keeps the movie moving at a pretty good clip, that keeps the kettle on the boil for all those emotions and all those interactions. I’m interested in watching what they’re doing in their homes during all these events. Those are two different kinds of movies.”