Director David O. Russell Says Jennifer Lawrence’s ‘Hunger Games’ Contract is Like “Slavery”
Comparing anything that isn’t actual slavery to slavery is pretty tasteless and generally a really bad idea. Comparing a rich and successful actor’s career to slavery is, well, a really bad idea. But, that’s exactly what director David O. Russell did, saying Jennifer Lawrence‘s ‘Hunger Games’ contract is just like “slavery.”
Russell, who directed Lawrence in both ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and ‘American Hustle,’ told the NY Daily News that he thinks Lionsgate should give the actress a “little bit of breathing room” when it comes to her ‘Hunger Games’ schedule. Not an entirely crazy notion and probably a good idea. But, then he went and said this:
Talk about 12 years of slavery, that’s what the [‘Hunger Games’] franchise is. And I’m going to get in so much trouble for saying that.
Uhh, yeah you are.
Before we get to the obvious, Russell will come under fire during the Oscar season for comparing Jennifer Lawrence’s career as an Oscar-winning actress to the life of Solomon Northup, the real-life character at the center of ‘12 Years a Slave‘ (and one of ‘American Hustle’s’ biggest Oscar competitors), who was beaten, whipped, abused and nearly lynched. The comment could wind up hurting the film, Lawrence’s performance and Russell’s work when it comes to Oscar success.
Beyond any potential Oscar implications, Russell’s comments were both stupid and offensive. While none would argue that Lawrence is overworked (she’s contracted to two big franchises in ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘X-Men’), she’s working in a career that she chose and is being compensated handsomely for it. That’s pretty much the opposite of slavery.
We’ll guess it won’t take long for Russell to issue a public apology [UPDATE: Russell has issued an apology saying, “Clearly, I used a stupid analogy in a poor attempt at humor. I realized it the minute I said it and I am truly sorry.”] and for Lawrence to publicly denounce that notion that she’s Lionsgate has her on indentured servitude. We’ll save her the effort with this GIF reaction to Russell’s comments: