Jennifer Lawrence took home an Oscar for her first collaboration with filmmaker David O. Russell on Silver Linings Playbook, then picked up another nomination for her supporting role in Russell's 2013 film, American Hustle. Suffice it to say, there's interest in the duo's new project together: Joy, a biographical feature film about the life and times of Joy Mangano, the highly-successful entrepreneur and inventor of the Miracle Mop and Huggable Hangers, among other common household items.
Russell's directorial efforts tend to focus on the plights of working class Americans, and that is no less true for his Joy biopic. The teaser trailer for the film introduces Joy as a child, being told by (it appears) her grandmother that she's destined for great things, with regard to her personal life and professional ambitions alike. That is, of course, before reality sets in and Joy learns that the climb to the top is not as easy (nowhere near, in fact) to what she was led to believe. You can watch the Joy teaser, above.
Russell both directed Joy and penned the script, based on an earlier script draft by Oscar-nominee Annie Mumolo (Bridesmaids), who is receiving screen story credit. Here is the official synopsis for the film:
Joy is the wild story of a family across four generations centered on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right. Betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love, pave the road in this intense emotional and human comedy about becoming a true boss of family and enterprise facing a world of unforgiving commerce. Allies become adversaries and adversaries become allies, both inside and outside the family, as Joy’s inner life and fierce imagination carry her through the storm she faces.
The Joy synopsis indicates that, much like American Hustle plays fast and loose with the true story behind the Abscam scandal from the 1970s (or his Three Kings puts a mostly-fictional spin on the Iraq-Kuwait war), Russell's new film will incorporate certain facts about Joy Mangano's life with its director's own observations about the pursuit of the American Dream. As a change of pace, though, Joy will not just be Lawrence's first collaboration with Russell where she's the main attraction, it may also provide a more decidedly female perspective on history (unlike Russell films past).
Aesthetically, the Joy trailer footage brings to mind past Russell movies and features a number of striking visuals by American Hustle cinematographer Linus Sandgren. The film's narrative will no doubt be character-driven (as most Russell movies tend to be), though there appears to be some real meat on the story's bones too (something American Hustle was criticized for lacking) - a quality that may allow for a sharp mix of satire and social commentary. Couple all that with what should be yet another strong performance by Lawrence and it appears Russell's latest project has (awards season) promise.
Frequent Russell collaborators Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper are part of the Joy cast but, as indicated by the film's teaser, they are very much supporting players this time around. The remainder of the Joy cast includes such names as Dascha Polanco (Orange is the New Black), Virginia Madsen (Sideways, Witches of East End), Édgar Ramírez (Point Break (2015)), and Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet, Enemy).
Joy opens in U.S. theaters on December 25th, 2015.
Source: 20th Century Fox