Director David O Russell on the women who inspired Joy and the truth about Jennifer Lawrence
DAVID O Russell’s Joy bagged Jennifer Lawrence her third Best Actress award at the Golden Globes recently. The hat-trick was all the more special as her earlier wins were for Russell’s movies too. Based on the real life character of entrepreneur Joy Mangano, Joy is the story of struggle and success of a woman inventor. The Oscar-nominated director gives us an insight into his actors and talks about what Joy means to him.
What was it about this story that intrigued and excited you?
This is a very unlikely success story about a woman making it happen in business on her own. For me, it changes everything to have men in the film who are real, generous and humble enough to be there as part of Joy’s story. As Joy says at the beginning when she is a little girl, she does not need a prince.
Can you discuss your working relationship with Jennifer Lawrence?
She was 20 years old when we met and worked together (on Silver Linings Playbook). I watched how that girl who liked to be true to her spirit, who was completely unpredictable and free and alive, channeled all that into acting in a true way, without over-thinking anything. This time, I saw her become a leader in a way on the set and it’s just been very beautiful watching her.
Who were your inspirations for Joy?
There’s my mother. There is also Lillian Vernon, the entrepreneur who created the first mail order catalogue in the ’50s and ’60s. But I would say about roughly half the film, give or take, is based on true incidents from Joy Mangano’s life.
Can you discuss Robert De Niro’s role? He is hilarious in this film. There is a great scene in which he’s telling his daughter she should not marry Tony — on her actual wedding day!
Yes, it happened to Joy (Mangano). She said as they walked down the aisle, her father said that. De Niro plays someone who loves his daughter and would do anything for her, yet makes blunders that get in his own way, which is exactly what Joy’s own father has been like in her life.
You were shooting in the middle of winter in Boston. Did it create difficulties?
They had the biggest snowfall in 80 years in Boston and we used it. We had to manufacture snow, but there was also real snow everywhere. It was great for us…but everybody else couldn’t get to work!
Joy is scheduled to release today.
— Team Indulge