The partnership between Jennifer Lawrence and director David O. Russell has been a successful one. Romantic drama-comedy Silver Linings Playbook and darkly comic crime film American Hustle collectively earned 18 Academy Award nominations, including a Best Actress Oscar win for Lawrence after their first collaboration. The relatively low-budget movies also brought in over $282 million in domestic box office alone.
The two are back together again for new movie Joy, with Lawrence starring as an ambitious-but-struggling single mom, based on real-life entrepreneur Joy Mangano. The real Joy went on to be president of Ingenious Designs, LLC, selling millions of her household product inventions like the Miracle Mop. The film follows the character from her early aspirations as a child, which included trying to create a more stable family than the dysfunctional one she grew up in.
In a Q&A that followed the New York screening of Joy, Lawrence described the film as celebrating “women who are the unsung heroes of their households.” She was also her usual straightforward self when she told Russell exactly how she felt about working with him again.
“I’ll do anything with you until you die. It’s sweet and f—ed up.”
In a previous interview with EW, the actress elaborated even more on her tearful “love” of Russell, and how their deep understanding of one another makes it a perfect working relationship that will last forever. The director responded with praise of his own for Lawrence.
“Jen’s the same person, this girl from Kentucky who is becoming a woman. I’ve gotten the privilege of watching that. That’s also the story of this movie (Joy). It’s a lot for a 25-year-old. But it’s happening. Jennifer is really finding her own voice.”
After the screening, the duo also discussed Lawrence singing in the new film. She’ll be dueting with costar Edgar Ramirez on “Somethin’ Stupid”, a song made famous by Frank and Nancy Sinatra and revived by Nicole Kidman and Robbie Williams in 2001. Considering that Lawrence has previously said she cried when she had to sing for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, it wasn’t surprising that she was equally traumatized by Russell’s insistence that she belt out vocals on screen once again.
“I know. He’s a d-ck. But David’s so open that the fear seemed silly.”
A good actor can make a role work even under difficult conditions, but many Oscar-winning performers have credited a lot to strong relationships with their directors. It’s clear that underneath the good-natured humor and confessions of love that Lawrence and Russell have formed a trusting bond that makes it a lot easier to create critically-acclaimed and successful films.
Joy also includes Russell film alums Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, along with Dascha Polanco (Orange is the New Black), Virginia Madsen (Sideways), and Isabella Rossellini (Enemy). Nothing in the movie business is ever a sure thing, but with a winning track record, a powerhouse cast, and a strong collaborative environment, it won’t be surprising if “made for each other” Russell and Lawrence have a third hit on their hands.
Joy opens in U.S. theaters on December 25th, 2015.
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