Jennifer Lawrence and David O. Russell took a walk down memory lane with Tribeca Film Festival attendees to discuss their trio of pics together —Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and Joy, with the five-time Oscar nominated filmmaker telling the actress at the end of tonight’s talk, “I’m writing something for you now.” No further details were revealed.
The majority of the discussion zeroed in on Lawrence’s range as an actress, and how Russell saw a “rawness and humanity” in her from the minute she Skype auditioned for the part of the no-nonsense girlfriend Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook, a role that earned Lawrence a Lead Actress Oscar.
Flattered, Lawrence responded to Russell, “You wrote it, I would do it, you told me how to do it better.”
Also, fellow Silver Linings star Robert De Niro popped in to great cheers to break down a scene in the movie (which Russell showed), where Lawrence’s Tiffany tells the gambling patriarch off, after he accuses her of spoiling the Philadelphia Eagles’ winning streak because she’s romantically involved with his son, Pat (Bradley Cooper).
Russell’s amazement with Lawrence stems from her ability to segue from one emotion to the next. She instinctively knows how to pull it off in a way where other actors might find it challenging.
“You’re young, wise, old, loose powerful and focused,” Russell complimented Lawrence about her turn in both Silver Linings Playboook and American Hustle, “your character shows up 20 minutes into the movie, your name hasn’t been mentioned and you take over the movie, it’s a fantastic thing.”
“You had no nervousness or self-consciousness, you come into a scene like a weather system,” Russell told Lawrence.
De Niro agreed with Russell on the scene where Lawrence confronts him: “I understand his anxiety about blocking a seven-page scene.” Russell remembered De Niro being all prepped to shoot. Lawrence said she “didn’t memorize my lines” the night before the shoot.
“In one take, Bob threw Anupam Kher out of the scene,” said Russell about the actor’s raging on screen persona. Kher approached Russell, not knowing what to do. “We defer to Bob,” said Russell. “She’s great in the scene,” said De Niro about Lawrence, “She hits all the right notes, all the right moves.”
After De Niro left the stage, Russell continued expounding on Lawrence’s ability to play a fierce housewife in American Hustle.
“Jennifer was the last person I cast,” said the director who added “in the first case, you were too young and there were other actresses in front of the line.” However, Russell had a hunch she could pull off the part, and Lawrence jumped at the chance to play Rosalyn, the wife to Christian Bale’s con-man Irving because the part called for “big hair and long nails.”
Lawrence asked Russell how he balances comedy and drama, and he responded “It’s about the characters.”
“If someone’s authentic and they’re real, then they’re very riveting and they don’t intend to be funny. But they’re going to be funny, because their logic is funny, and their messiness and humanity is funny, and then it’s very serious and emotional at the same time. That’s the trifecta I go for,” said the New York-based filmmaker.
“When we did Joy, it was an opportunity to do a story about a woman who covered a whole, it was about the simplicity of what it means to be successful, which is not what people think it is,” said the filmmaker. In Joy, Lawrence plays Joy Mangano, the creator of the self-wringing Miracle mop. A young woman who never had the chance to realize her full potential because she constantly sacrificed herself to her family, Joy invents a household cleaning tool which takes off, and in her financial ascent battles with her family, thieves, and sexism.
“That movie had a maturity about it that was about what success really is, and I actually felt it was about what I had watched you go through,” Russell told Lawrence.
“You call yourself an open vessel, but you’re a very intuitive open vessel. You intuitively knew how to give yourself to a scene, and you did it from your true self. That’s a gift and it’s also a skill. And so I thought I had watched you go through that, from being a relatively anonymous girl from Kentucky, to becoming a young woman, and a young woman of power, and a young woman in public and Joy covered that,” explained the director.
Russell and Lawrence’s work together on Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and Joy has yielded a very notable $588.7M at the global box office.
Tomorrow, is a big Tribeca Talks: Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese, with the two Hollywood veterans taking the stage to talk about their career together.