"I think it's in service of something very important," David O. Russell says

By Lindsay Kimble
October 22, 2015 05:15 PM
Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty

Director David O. Russell stands behind his leading lady Jennifer Lawrence‘s fight for gender wage equality, but contends that wrangling the desires of a cast of “big stars” – like that of American Hustle – is a challenge in and of itself.

Russell – who directed the star to an Oscar in Silver Linings Playbook before reteaming on Hustle and, now, Joy – told The Hollywood Reporter that he’s proud “Jennifer is finding her voice” with her critical essay earlier this month, despite allusions to salary negotiations on Hustle.

In the piece, which ran in Lena Dunham‘s Lenny newsletter, Lawrence never explicitly named American Hustle, but did mention the names of several of her costars.

“When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with d—-, I didn’t get mad at Sony,” Lawrence asserted. “I got mad at myself.”

Russell told The Hollywood Reporter he will “always support all my actors and all their opinions.”

“I understand what she’s saying, and I think people in the business do too, and I also understand people saying, ‘Well, let’s talk about the minutia of the deal.’ It’s hard to make a movie come together with a lot of big stars,” he divulged. “American Hustle had a lot of big stars in it, we all contributed to help make it happen.”

And that “minutia” is something Russell said he, in particular, doesn’t “really talk about.”

“I think it’s in service of something very important,” Russell said. “Jennifer’s character in Joy is about the same thing – maturity, learning what it is to have your own space and express your own voice, and to have power. And that’s what she’s learning.”

So did the director get any warning from Lawrence about the viral essay? Nope, definitely not.

“Jennifer does what Jennifer feels like doing,” he told The Hollywood Reporter, laughing, “And we say, ‘There you go, girl!’ ”