Of course Jennifer Lawrence has talent to spare, and of course anyone who meets with success in Hollywood must have a superhuman work ethic, and of course she deserves the fabulous whirlwind of fame that’s swept her up in recent years. Having said all that, Lawrence owes approximately half of her career to David O. Russell. (She owes the other half to Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games trilogy of novels and inadvertent financier of Lawrence’s real-estate holdings.)

Just as Martin Scorsese launched a young Robert De Niro to artistic legitimacy in the ’70s and then did the same for a young Leonardo DiCaprio in the early ’00s, Russell has taken quite a shine to Lawrence and seemingly made it his mission in life to continually supply her with rich, brassy roles in his mid-level art films. First tapping her for an unstable widow in Silver Linings Playbook in 2012 and then reteaming for American Hustle a year later, Russell has found something of a muse in the young superstar. They are the best thing to happen to one another, making up two halves of a winning formula that’s created a handful of engaging and distinctive films popular with Oscar voters and neighborhood moviegoers alike.

With the pair’s third collaboration Joy quickly approaching its Christmas Day release date, Lawrence took the time to sit for a Q&A over the weekend following the first advance screenings in New York and Los Angeles. (Credit to the folks at Variety for their reporting on the event.) She spoke about the vital feminist component of the upcoming film, describing it as a tribute to “women who are the unsung heroes of their household” — and indeed, there are not nearly enough films about the quiet dignity and unheard trials of making the home. But the focus was mostly kept on Lawrence’s effusive respect for Russell as a creative collaborator and friend. The starlet confessed that at this point, she’d pretty much give an instant ‘yes’ to anything the director might want from her.

David and I will never, ever, ever, ever not do movies together. I love him so much that sometimes I can’t talk about him without tearing up. Look! I’m tearing up. I understand every look, every eyeball move, every word he says or doesn’t say. We were made for each other.

Lawrence reminisced on how the safe, experimental atmosphere on set assuaged her fears over a scene in which her character sings, but saved the most moving quote for last. As the Q&A concluded, all parties present on the panel answered a query about the people who have always believed in them. Lawrence’s answer was simple and assured: “My mother, and David.”

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