HitFix

Jennifer Lawrence: David O. Russell respects me so much he calls me a man

Jennifer Lawrence is busy doing press for her latest collaboration with director David O. Russell, “Joy.”

The pair previously successfully teamed on both “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle.” That latter caused a bit of a stir when the unfortunate Sony Pictures leak revealed that Lawrence was paid less than her male counterparts in the ensemble piece.

Earlier this year, the actress wrote about the incident in Lena Dunham”s newsletter Lenny Letters. At the time, she spoke about the need to advocate for herself and become a better negotiator, particularly as a female in entertainment.

“Joy” is loosely based on the inventor of the Miracle Mop, Joy Mangano, and tells the story of a woman who — in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds – builds a successful mini empire. 

So when I sat down with Lawrence at the press day for “Joy,” I asked if that was the sort of relentless self-advocacy she was referring to.

“Yes,” she enthused. “But not even for women especially. Everybody has dreams. And no one is going to initially believe in your dreams when you say, ‘I want to be an actor” or ‘I have an invention!” Everybody is going to be like, ‘Yeah, so does everybody else.” It takes a certain vigilance and belief in yourself when nobody else does. And also seeing your own value, which I think women in negotiating need to understand. It”s okay to recognize your value. It doesn”t mean you”re a brat. It doesn”t mean that you”re any of these words that we have for women that we don”t have for men. To just recognize your value.”

After she wrote the Lenny Letters piece, Alicia Malone, Miri Jedeikin, and I made Jennifer Lawrence our Woman Crush in our show Girls on Film for being relentlessly and fearlessly herself, but also for talking about things that are complex and taking responsibility for her own life. It”s an incredible combination of qualities. And admirable.

One thing that did strike many of us in thinking about how Jennifer Lawrence would negotiate for herself vs. women in other fields is that Lawrence has a team of agents, managers, and lawyers doing the negotiating for her. So, we were curious about how that altered the process for her. Could she have done more? 

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