Tribeca: David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence on Collaborations, Future Project
The duo discussed their creative relationship during a talk at the film festival, where the director revealed he is currently "writing something" new for the actress who's appeared in several of his films.
David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence took part in the Tribeca Film Festival's Tribeca Talks Directors Series on Saturday at New York's Borough of Manhattan Community College. It was there that the director and his frequent collaborator Lawrence took a walk down memory lane, sharing recollections of working together on multiple films.
During their chat, Russell said that Lawrence was the last person to be cast in their first joint project, 2012's Silver Linings Playbook, as well as their second movie, 2013's American Hustle. According to Russell, Lawrence didn’t immediately book the part of Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook because of her age. At the time, she was just 20.
"We thought you were too young and there were other actresses in the front of the line who were close to getting the role," Russell told the now-28-year-old actress. As for American Hustle, the holdup was because of Lawrence herself. She was committed to a string of other films and was "technically not available."
But, after witnessing Lawrence's talent on the set of Silver Linings Playbook — for which the star won best actress at the 2012 Oscars — Russell was intent on having her be a part of American Hustle as feisty housewife Rosalyn Rosenfeld. "I called her up on her vacation and I said, 'I feel like I would be remiss as your friend if I did not give you one last chance to say no to this role," he recounted. "You said, ‘Will I get to have big hair and long nails and be crazy?' And I said yes, and you said, 'OK, I’ll do it.'"
Steering the conversation back to Silver Linings Playbook, Tribeca co-founder and co-star of the film Robert De Niro came out to join Russell and Lawrence. The trio discussed the scene in Silver Linings Playbook in which Lawrence's character is introduced with no warning — and then immediately launches into a heated argument with De Niro's Pat Sr., the gambling addicted father of Bradley Cooper's character, Pat.
After playing the scene for the audience, Lawrence admitted that she wasn't well prepared. "There’s something about wrapping where I think I’m never going back to work again. I’m just like, 'I’m gonna go home and watch TV!'" she said. "So I didn’t read my lines and it was that scene. I remember I went in and did it and then I couldn’t do it anymore after that."
Still, De Niro said he was impressed with Lawrence's performance and gave an affirming nod to Russell's assessment of the actress' "raw" acting abilities. "I would put it this way: She showed up and she was, like, a raw talent that had no neuroses and no self-consciousness," Russell said. "She was completely fearless. She would come into the scene like a weather system and leave me and Bob [De Niro] and Bradley [Cooper] and Jacki Weaver and Chris Tucker just kind of like, wow."
Moments after De Niro left the stage, Russell and Lawrence — who also worked together on 2015's Joy — talked more about American Hustle. During this section of their talk, Russell revealed that Lawrence's character, Rosalyn, was originally supposed to hang herself in the '70s-set film. However, after seeing Lawrence's vibrant interpretation of the character, he decided that instead of committing suicide, she would divorce her husband, Christian Bale's Irving Rosenfeld.
"She's too alive! She's too much fun," Russell said of Lawrence's portrayal," adding that a divorce was "the only way to get rid of Rosalyn."
Before they wrapped up their conversation, Russell confirmed that he and Lawrence will soon work together on another project. Although he didn't share any details, he looked to Lawrence and said, "I'm writing something for you now."