David O. Russell, who directed Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook, and the upcoming Joy, has weighed in on the actress’ sharply worded essay calling out sexism and pay inequality in Hollywood.
“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 at a fundraiser Wednesday. “I don’t really talk about the minutiae 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.”
Lawrence’s essay, published last week, expressed her frustration in the wake of the Sony hack revealing that she earned less money than her male costars in American Hustle.
“When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with d‑‑‑s, I didn’t get mad at Sony,” she wrote. “I got mad at myself. … I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.'”
In a measured response, Russell continued to THR, “I understand what she’s saying, and I think people in the business do too, and I also understand people saying, ‘Well, let’s talk about the minutiae of the deal.’ It’s hard to make a movie come together with a lot of big stars. American Hustle had a lot of big stars in it. We all contributed to help make it happen.”
Russell is the latest American Hustle alum asked about Lawrence’s essay and its implications. Bradley Cooper recently told Reuters he’s begun working with his female costars to negotiate equitable salaries for new projects, while Jeremy Renner told Business Insider he supports equal pay, but that negotiating salaries is “not my job.”