Jennifer Lawrence on Saturday said her film “Joy” is a tribute to “women who are the unsung heroes of their households.” She also paid tribute to writer-director David O. Russell, saying she would do “anything with David until the day I die.”
Russell in turn said that in their third film collaboration, “She’s the first character we’ve done together who’s not crazy.”
The remarks came after simultaneous screenings in New York and L.A. of the film, which is the last big Oscar hopeful of 2015 to be unveiled. The Q&A session in N.Y. was satellite-fed to the Zanuck Theatre on the Fox lot. “Joy” opens on December 25.
Lawrence said the character, inspired by the real-life inventor Joy Mangano, “had a fire and gift that she had buried for 17 years.” The film is loosely based on Mangano’s life as a single mother of three who invented a revolutionary mop to great success.
Russell pointed out that it’s his first film with a woman protagonist and that the characters he wrote for Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper were inspired by “our growth together in the last five years.”
Cooper said when Russell calls with a new film, it’s an automatic yes, but addressed the filmmaker when he added, “I tried to convince you all three times that I’m not right for the role.” Cooper plays an executive with the Home Shopping Network, which became key to Mangano’s success.
De Niro, who plays Lawrence’s father, said it’s like being part of a troupe to work with the director and those actors again. When moderator Dave Karger of Fandango asked De Niro about the changing dynamics between Lawrence and him in their films, De Niro said it’s always been interesting and added, “She might play my mother.” When the audience giggled, Lawrence pointed to Russell and said, “We’re not kidding,” but didn’t elaborate.
The film features a brief scene of Lawrence and Edgar Ramirez singing. When Karger reminded Lawrence of her fear of singing in “Hunger Games” and said he was surprised at the “Joy” singing, the actress looked at Russell and said, “I know. He’s a d-ck.” But then she seriously added that she was scared to sing again, “But David’s so open that the fear seemed silly.”
When asking Ramirez about vocalizing, Karger added “You sounded good,” causing Lawrence to deadpan interject, “He didn’t say that to me, so just enjoy it.”
The session ended with each of the seven panelists — also including Dasche Polanco and Isabella Rossellini — being asked who was the person who always believed in them, Cooper said De Niro; Lawrence said “My mother and David.”