The drama Joy marks the third collaboration between writer-director David O. Russell and his muse Jennifer Lawrence (who told EW in her Entertainer of the Year interview that she and Russell “will never ever ever ever not do movies together”). While their latest film was inspired by the life of entrepreneur Joy Mangano, the inventor of the Miracle Mop, it’s hardly a conventional biopic — it’s an account of an unstoppable woman conquering all manner of obstacles to come into her own.
“To me, it was never just about the making of a mop,” Russell recently told EW. “She had to become something she had never been, which was super badass. You don’t get to become a success unless you become a gangster, to some degree.
“We loved the notion that how success looks on the brochure, to most people, is like this cake,” Russell adds. “But when you really look at the inside of it, it’s got sadness, and it also has tremendous challenges that never end.”
Russell and Lawrence took on the challenge of Joy with the attitude that they had better go big or go home. “We said, ‘Well, how would we do this?’” he recalls. “And she said, ‘Well, let’s do it the most daring way we can,’ and so that was the sort of beacon we pointed ourselves at — to tell three different emotions of Joy.”
For more from Russell, watch the video above. Joy hits theaters on Dec. 25.