Our English Classes

A blog for Maribel's students at EOI and CEP Granada

Interview with David O. Russell

Posted by maribel on 19/04/2014



GALLOWAY: Jennifer Lawrence. When did you first meet her?

RUSSELL: I first met her the year of The Fighter, at the AFI lunch, the American Film Institute has a lunch for nominees, or the people they picked as the top ten films of that year. She was in a film called Winter’s Bone that year and she was talking to Darren Aronofsky and me, and he was there with a film called Black Swan. I didn’t really understand who she was. She looked kind of like… an Orange County girl. She was all dressed up in a white dress with big hair, with high heels. And I was like, who is that. And they’re like, that’s Jennifer Lawrence. And I’m like, that’s the girl from Winter’s Bone? And they’re like yeah  And I said, wow, she doesn’t look anything like that.  And I just said hi to her. I remember when I was driving out of that driveway, looking back at her talking, still talking to Darren. Then a year went by and I started to get to make Silver Linings. We had two or three actresses that were very close to getting the role, who had auditioned with me several times. And at the very last minute, we said, well why don’t you read Jennifer Lawrence? I said, well I don’t know if she’s too young for it. Can she come in and read. And they said, why don’t you just read her. She’s in Kentucky and she’ll do it via Skype. And I said OK. And then she did a Skype audition that blew me away.

GALLOWAY: What scene did she do?

RUSSELL: She did several scenes. She did one where she cried, and I’m trying to remember what scene that would be that made her cry.  Does she cry in the movie?  She cries at the end of the movie. I don’t know, I’d have to go back and get the audition thing, I still have it. She dressed up as the character, she put on black eyeliner, she did the running scenes together, so maybe during one of the running scenes, they have an argument. I asked her to cry and she made me cry. Then she went and killed a spider in the bathroom that was behind her. Which was just kind of amazing to me.

GALLOWAY: What do you mean she went and killed a spider?

RUSSELL: She had cried so she went to get a tissue. Then when she went in the bathroom, she went, ah there’s a gigantic spider in the bathroom. It was in her father’s house, in her parents’ house. Then she imitated how the spider went when she tried to attack the spider. That fascinated me as much as anything else. She was unlike anybody I’d ever seen, unlike anybody I’d ever met. And Harvey Weinstein, the producer of the picture, was very skeptical. I went there personally to his office in New York to show him the Skype. I didn’t trust him just looking at it casually himself. So I went up there from the Philadelphia location to show it to him personally. And I put it in front of him and within 30 seconds of looking at her I heard him say, oh my god. And I said, yeah there you go. And that was that.

GALLOWAY: So you cast her without meeting her?

RUSSELL: Right, except for that time with Darren, except for that time at the lunch. The first time I really met her is when she came running up on to the set to do the scene. I remember it like it was yesterday. It’s the running scene where she says to him in a black trench coat, I can’t do the thing. I can’t give the letter to your wife. I can’t do it. They made a deal for her to give the letter to his wife to break the restraining order. And she says, I can’t do it. And he says, what do you mean?  What do you mean you can’t do it?  You said you would do it.  You said, if I, you said you would do this. She says, yeah but what are you going to do for me?  I’m always doing things for other people, and I wake up and I’ve got nothing.  Nobody’s ever doing for me.  And he goes, I don’t understand.  She goes, I’m not my sister. Like her sister gets everything she wants. That makes me cry when I say it. Damn it.  It’s all very personal to me. So, she came running on to the set and did that scene with us and Bradley and I, our jaws were hanging were hanging open because we said, wow she’s so amazing. That was when I really met her.

GALLOWAY: What surprised you about her?

RUSSELL: Everything.  She’s just very special. I don’t want to overstate it. She is a real down to earth person, who has a sense of humor about herself. Does not think she is important, take the piss out of herself at any moment. And has a very deep, instinctive way of doing things that she can’t explain, that she doesn’t need to explain. She’s not very articulate about it, or articulate necessarily about anything, but that’s OK because she is who she is and what she does… I’ll give you one story about her that I think will explain just a little bit who she is. I think she’s just a very special actor, and everything she does is extremely alive and from her soul. Her soul merges with the soul of the character and becomes a third thing that does unexpected things, that does unexpected things that are somehow deeply moving and enchanting, and alive and unexpected. So here’s an example. So the night we shoot the diner scene from Silver Linings Playbook, we’re out in the dark on the street. Did I tell you this story? Did I tell it to you? Should I tell it or not?


RUSSELL: It’s very cold out and it’s dark. She’s walking around the set all the time reading the Tolstoy novel Anna Karenina. Which is like a phone book. I was just impressed that this 20-year-old girl is reading Anna Karenina, from Kentucky, who likes to eat junk food, and watch Real Housewives of Long Island.  She’s a down home girl and she’s reading this book. I love it.  These are my favorite people. Like Diane Von Furstenberg. They are fearless, and they have no preconceived conformist notions about anything. They will talk about anything or anybody and embrace anybody or anything. It all happens, has to be real to them. So, she’s reading this novel and has got this much of it left. Does anybody here know that book at all? Not everybody does because people are mostly reading text these days. So she, I go, oh wow, you’re down to almost the end, Jennifer. I watched her reading it to this point. I go, well have you gotten to the part where she throws herself under the train tracks?  And she goes, what? Oh, no, I was just joking around. I don’t know.  he goes, surely, surely Vronsky is coming back. Vronsky, surely he’s coming back and she starts crying, she’s sobbing.  And I go, no yeah, he’s going to come back. Just keep reading it.  And she walks away from me sobbing. I’ve never had experience like that in my life. This 20-year-old person who is living every ounce of Anna Karenina. And the fact the guy wasn’t going to come back for the girl, just destroyed her. She felt it from the bottom of her toes. I don’t know how to explain that. And that’s just…

Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/david-o-russell-jennifer-lawrence-682587


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