David O. Russell Says JOY Will Be a “Departure” and an “Unexpected Movie” for Jennifer Lawrence

     November 13, 2014

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After director David O. Russell’s romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook nearly took the Oscars by storm a couple years ago, the filmmaker doubled down with the incredibly awards friendly American Hustle.  While the 2013 ensemble comedy was certainly colorful and fun, it ultimately felt a bit hollow, and it ended up nabbing zero awards despite a hefty 10 nominations.  So what does the director do next?  Well a movie about the inventor of the Miracle Mop, of course.  Russell is firming up Joy as his next picture with a February production start-date planned, as he’s assembling his cast around star Jennifer Lawrence that could include Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle co-stars Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper in supporting roles.

As filming looks to get underway in a few months, Russell recently spoke a bit about his plans for the picture, which he describes as a “departure” and an “unexpected movie” both for himself and for Lawrence.  More after the jump.

david-o-russell-jennifer-lawrence-joySpeaking with The Playlist, Russell talked a bit about his approach to Joy, which tells the story of Joy Mangano (Lawrence), a Long Island native and single mother just trying to get by until her mop hit it big on QVC during her on-air appearance, selling 18,000 mops in just 20 minutes:

“It’s set in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but I’m going to take a different approach musically than I’ve ever taken before. I aspire to make an unexpected movie, both for myself and for Jennifer. It’s about a woman… what’s inside her.”

When pressed as to how the story of the Miracle Mop lady is a movie, Russell teased his take a bit further:

“If you go inside someone, it’s another story. If you go inside her and the people around her, and if you go into a different key of storytelling that feels… It’s a departure,” he said hesitantly. “It’s taking risks that we haven’t taken before. This is going to be a very intense emotional and existential look at a woman’s heart and soul as she becomes powerful.”

I think with The Fighter, Russell got his first brush with awards attention and liked it very much.  Consciously or not, Silver Linings Playbook moved much closer towards that conventional realm than his previous films like Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees, and then American Hustle felt even more calculated.  I think Russell’s a talented filmmaker, so I’m excited by the prospect of seeing him change things up again—especially if that means embracing more of his offbeat sensibilities.  Joy is slated to open in theaters on December 25, 2015.

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