The working relationship between Jennifer Lawrence and director David O. Russell has been a fruitful one for both parties. The actress earned an Oscar for her role in Silver Linings Playbook and another nomination for her part in American Hustle. The team has another collaboration coming soon with Joy, where Lawrence plays a woman who is supposed to be in her 40s. This has caused some ripples among those critical of Hollywood casting practices, specifically the industry’s habit of casting young actresses as older character instead of giving them to more age appropriate performers. This isn’t the first time the Lawrence/Russell team up has been the focus of such attention, and it appears that the writer/director has a response, and it may involve Lawrence playing Robert De Niro’s mother.
Hot off of the final installment of The Hunger Games saga, Lawrence is making the press rounds for Joy, where she plays De Niro’s daughter. During an appearance on Live! With Kelly and Michael (via Contact Music), she revealed that the next time they all work together, the roles may very well be quite different. She said:
David is making something right now and the plan, so far, is for me to play Bob De Niro’s mother ... I think that the more people give him crap about me being too young for his parts, he’s like, ‘Oh yeah, watch this’—so we’ll see.
That sounds…like a definite reversal, especially considering the substantial age difference. Lawrence is currently 25-years-old, while De Niro is 72, so any aging, or un-aging as the case may be, will be a challenge to say the least. That isn’t to say it can’t be done, and between practical make up and ever-improving digital special effects, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Russell and company could Benjamin Button the hell out of both actors.
I haven’t seen Joy yet, but Russell apparently toys with this some in his latest movie, as there is reportedly a scene where he uses special effects to make De Niro appear younger. Maybe this scene will serve as a kind of test run. However, even outside of the practical challenges of making actors look much younger or older than they actually are, playing either that much older or younger presents a unique task for the performers.
Jennifer Lawrence didn’t share any more details on this potential project, so it remains to be seen if this will actually materialize or not, though it is certainly an interesting proposition to consider.
For now, we’ll have to satisfy ourselves by watching Lawrence and Robert De Niro share the screen again in Joy, which follows the story of Joy Mangano, the woman who invented the Miracle Mop, and opens on Christmas Day.