By Hillary Busis
Updated January 14, 2014 at 03:59 PM EST
David O Russell
Credit: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Hoo boy. American Hustle director David O. Russell, it seems, does not approve of the modern Hollywood franchise machine — and he’s not afraid to express his opinions on the matter, even to gossip reporters.

At an awards ceremony last Friday, Russell told the New York Daily News that he believes Jennifer Lawrence’s Hunger Games commitment — a “hamster wheel” of filming and endless promotion — is running the star ragged.

“They should give her a bit of breathing room over there because they’re printing money,” he said, before giving the paper one hell of a kicker: “Talk about 12 years of slavery, that’s what the franchise is.” Oof. At least Russell had the good sense to follow that statement with this one: “I’m going to get in so much trouble for saying that.” Well, yeah; haven’t we learned yet that comparing things that aren’t slavery to slavery can only lead to tears?

The main difference between Lawrence and actual human chattel, of course, is everything. The main main difference, though, is obviously compensation: J. Law’s salary reportedly leapt from $500,000 for the first Hunger Games movie to $10 million for its sequel, which has made over $846 million worldwide since its November release.

The next film in the series, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 is set to be hit theaters this November, six months after Lawrence’s next big film, X-Men: Days of Future Past — meaning that soon after awards season is over, the probable Oscar nominee will begin another massive promotion cycle that will end shortly before the next begins.

Update: Russell has issued an apology for his “12 years” gaffe. “Clearly, I used a stupid analogy in a poor attempt at humor,” he said in a statement. “I realized it the minute I said it and I am truly sorry.”

12 Years a Slave

  • Movie
  • R
  • 134 minutes
  • Steve McQueen