Jennifer Lawrence will continue to make movies with David O. Russell until the day the director dies, she said in a Q&A following a screening of “Joy” on Saturday night. The relationship between the director and the actress, she added with a grin, warranted a pair of adjectives: “sweet” and “fucked up.”
Lawrence plays the title role in “Joy,” the third collaboration between her and Russell, after “Silver Linings Playbook” (for which she won an Oscar) and “American Hustle.” The new movie is one of the last big 2015 awards hopefuls to be unveiled for the press and for guild voters, and its first significant Los Angeles and New York screenings took place simultaneously on Saturday. A Q&A from New York was broadcast to the theater on the Fox lot in L.A.
In the Q&A, Lawrence was asked what her first reaction was when Russell approached her about the movie, which is based on the story of inventor Joy Mangano, a divorced mother of three (reduced to two in the movie) who designed the Miracle Mop and faced numerous obstacles on the way to becoming a hugely successful businesswoman.
Her first two questions to Russell, she said with a grin, were “Who’s producing and how much money?” Then she shook her head. “No, I’m kidding. If it’s David, my only questions are ‘When?’ and ‘Where?'”
She turned to Russell, who was sitting next to her for the Q&A. “I’ll do anything with you until you die. It’s sweet, and it’s fucked up.”
Reviews of “Joy” are embargoed until Dec. 14, but it’s safe to say that the film has many of the qualities that drew viewers to the previous Russell/Lawrence collaborations: a blend of humor and drama and a gallery of offbeat characters delivered with energy and verve.
In addition to Lawrence, the film features her “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle” co-star Bradley Cooper in a smaller role as the head of the QVC shopping network, and “Silver Linings” star Robert De Niro as Mangano’s father.
Others cast members who participated in the Q&A were Isabella Rossellini, who plays De Niro’s girlfriend; Edgar Ramirez, who plays Lawrence’s ex-husband; and Dascha Polanco, who plays her best friend.
Post-screening tweets about the film were largely positive, with most but not all of the pundits in attendance predicting that “Joy” will be a factor in the Oscar race for Best Picture, and everyone acknowledging Lawrence as a near-lock for a Best Actress nomination.
“‘Joy’ doesn’t quite sing dazzling arias or ascend to stratospheric heights but it’s real and direct and very touching and nicely inventive,” wrote Jeff Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere on Twitter, while Sasha Stone from Awards Daily wrote that she loved the film and added, “Please Hollywood keep making movies around women like this. They are so worth it.”
In the Q&A, Russell pointed out that it was the first movie he’d ever made “with a woman protagonist at the center of it,” and said that the role of a young woman achieving and learning to cope with success had ties to Lawrence’s own experience since she first worked with him.
“I watched Jennifer become a success from being a kid of 20 years old, and learning how to handle success is not simple or pretty,” he said, and then added, “I think it was the first character we’ve done together that was not crazy.”
Lawrence laughed about the scene in which she and Ramirez sing a duet of the Frank and Nancy Sinatra hit “Something Stupid,” which Russell pushed her to do despite the fact that she hates to sing and never does it in public. Asked why he did that, she laughed.
“He’s a dick,” she said. “But David’s so unafraid … he’ll just sing throughout the day on the set, and he’s so open that my fear seemed silly.”
Of the resulting scene, she admitted to Russell, “It was a sweet moment. I fought you over it, but I’m glad we did it.”
And now that she, Russell and Cooper have made three movies together, Lawrence was asked what the two actors might play on their next collaboration.
“For the continuation of our boxed set?” she said. “He’ll be a dog walker and I’ll be a barista.”