The film's director, David O. Russell, says his former Silver Linings Playbook cast is taking even "bigger risks" in Joy
Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

No sense in breaking up an all-star cast.

David O. Russell directs the upcoming dramedy Joy, which reunites Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro on the big screen – all of whom starred in Russell’s Oscar-nominated film Silver Linings Playbook.

“I have a shorthand with these actors,” Russell tells PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly of his recurring cast. “We share an enormous amount of trust and affection, and it allows us to take risks and we have taken bigger risks in this one.”

Russell’s latest project, Joy, was inspired by the lives of several business pioneers, including billionaire inventor Joy Mangano. The movie tells the story of a family over four generations, and the woman (Lawrence), who emerged as the matriarch of her family at age 27 to create a dynasty.

“It’s all from her perspective,” Russell says of Lawrence’s character. “It’s very interesting to see that woman become that godmother or boss.”

Lawrence’s participation in the movie marks her third collaboration with Russell, who also directed American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook – the film that won the actress her first Oscar. Unlike his previous films, Joy will feature a woman as the main character.

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“What appealed to me was to sort of do my biggest film in scope and kind of epic story, of an unexpected story about a woman’s soul,” Russell says.

“Relationships are always complex and nobody gets to success without breaking some of their own bones and some of other people’s bones,” he adds. “It’s a very unexpected journey that is intense, funny and also very emotional.”

Joy opens in theaters Dec. 25. Watch the teaser trailer below: