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

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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.

WATCH: Bradley
Cooper Says He'll ‘Never’ Sleep With Jennifer Lawrence 

"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

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!'"

WATCH: Jennifer
Lawrence Slams Donald Trump for President: ‘That Will Be the End of the World’

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

support comes after Bradley Cooper, who shared the screen with Lawrence in American
, 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."

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: