Starring Jennifer Lawrence in the title role, the relatable incredible success story in “Joy,” helmed by director David O. Russell explores of how one person, confronted with madcap circumstances, endless obstacles and a long road of self-searching, forges a meaningful, joyful life, loosely based on the life of Joy Mangano (home TV shopping magnate).
The film stars Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook, The Hunger Games series) as Joy, in a multi-hued portrait that spans from youth to her 40s, from dreams deferred to fighting for her honor to striving for self-fulfillment.
Says Lawrence: “This is a story about so many things. It’s not just the story of Joy. It’s about family, imagination, faith in yourself, about the ruthlessness of success and what it means when you find it. I love most of all how much Joy changes. I loved taking her from vulnerable and self-deprecating to cold and strong, and I loved that she turns into a real matriarch of her family.”
Joining Jennifer Lawrence on the journey of “Joy” is a wide-ranging, hugely accomplished ensemble cast typical of David O. Russell’s films including Robert De Niro as Joy’s hot-tempered yet hopelessly romantic father. De Niro embraced Rudy’s massive contradictions – his fiery temper and romantic charm, his blue-collar work ethic and love of style, his paternal regrets and love for his children.
If Rudy is a thorn in Joy’s life, Golden Globe nominee Edgar Ramirez takes on the role of Joy’s ex-husband, and is literally the man beneath her feet – still living in her basement (with her father) even though they are irrevocably divorced. Russell was intrigued immediately when he learned Joy Mangano was still close friends with her ex. “It’s a story not often seen on screen, where a couple gets divorced, yet remain best friends,” says the writer-director.
Joy’s bedrock supporter is her insightful and influential grandmother, Mimi, her role model as she tries to lead the family forward as a matriarch. Portraying Joy’s biggest champion is Diane Ladd, who has appeared in more than 120 film and television roles since she started her career on a 1970s soap opera and garnered three Academy Award nominations: for Martin Scorsese’ ode to female independence, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, David Lynch’s Wild At Heart and Martha Coolidge’s Rambling Rose. Ladd says she was flat-out moved by the story. “We’re not living in the easiest of times, but I think this story reminds us that we all have a right to try to fulfill a dream. A lot of times you have to pick yourself up and dust yourself off but this film says ‘Get out there and don’t give up.’”
Lawrence was fascinated by how Joy stays so focused on her family’s constant needs– and then, suddenly, takes a dauntless leap for herself. “I think Joy always felt she had to be the rock of her family, the foundation holding everyone up,” she observes. “She forfeited her dreams to support everyone else and put them on hold for almost her entire life. She put other people in front for so long that I think it took time for her to realize there was something else inside her that had to be expressed, that had to breathe. And I think that’s why the story of Joy had to span four generations, because it often takes that long to create a full life. Joy kept burying that inventive part of herself but when she finally finds the faith in herself to move forward, it’s unstoppable when that happens. It’s addicting when you find that inner strength.”
A true-to-life rags-to-riches story stars when “Joy” opens in cinemas February 17 nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.