Director David O. Russell Respects Jennifer Lawrence for Speaking Out About Gender Gap

by Elizabeth VanMetre 2:40 PM PDT, October 23, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

David O. Russell is backing up Jennifer Lawrence as she speaks against the pay gap between male and female actors in Hollywood.

The director, who worked with the actress on American Hustle and Joy, said he was proud of the star after he read her candid essay about learning that she made less than her male American Hustle co-stars.

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"I always support all my actors and all their opinions, and I want them all to get what they need," Russell told The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday. "I don’t really talk about the minutia of what goes on in my movies, but I believe the spirit of what Jennifer is saying is truthful to her heart. I support her and all women in that." 

"But I also respect that Jennifer is finding her voice, and I think it’s in service of something very important," he continued. "Jennifer’s character in Joy is about the same thing: maturity, learning what it is to have your own space and express your own voice and to have power. And that’s what she’s learning." 

The Hunger Games star made headlines after her critical essay appeared in Lena Dunahm and Jenni Konner’s Lenny newsletter, where she blamed herself as a negotiator for her lack of pay in the film. 

"When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn't get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself," she wrote. "I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn't want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don't need." 

"I didn’t want to seem 'difficult' or 'spoiled.' At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being 'difficult' or 'spoiled,'" she continues. "This is an element of my personality that I’ve been working against for years, and based on the statistics, I don’t think I’m the only woman with this issue," she adds.  

Russell admits he had no idea the piece was going to come out before it was published, but he didn’t expect to. "Jennifer does what Jennifer feels like doing," he jokingly told publication, "and we say, 'There you go, girl!'"

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Russell isn’t the only one backing the actress. To see what Gwyneth Paltrow said about the star’s essay watch the video below. 

Russell’s support comes after Bradley Cooper, who shared the screen with Lawrence in American Hustle, rallied behind her. "There's a double standard in the whole world, yeah, for sure. This is just one aspect," he told ET. "Anytime there's a place where a voice can come out and be outspoken -- something Sienna did, or Jennifer -- that's great. ... I think it is making a difference."

Unfortunately, Lawrence’s other co-star, Jeremy Renner, didn’t quite agree. When asked about lending support to his female co-stars in helping them secure equal pay, he said “it wasn’t [his] job.”

"I don’t know contracts and money and all that sort of stuff," he added in an interview with Business Insider.

Get the full story on the gender pay gap debate below: