Golden Globe-winning director David O. Russell has hastily apologized for comparing Jennifer Lawrence’s schedule on the Hunger Games films to that of slavery.
O. Russell, who directed Lawrence in American Hustle, had previously told the New York Daily News: “I personally think they should give her a bit of breathing room over there because they’re printing money. But she’s a very alive person. I’ll tell you what it is about that girl — talk about 12 years of slavery, that’s what the franchise is. And I’m going to get in so much trouble for saying that.”
He was clearly referring to the fact that Lawrence has been busy filming the second, third and fourth Hunger Games films, while still finding time to shoot American Hustle and X Men: Days of Future Past amongst other projects. He went on to compare the Hunger Games to a “hamster wheel” and claimed Lawrence takes on more artistic roles as a “vacation” of sorts. The franchise has produced two films over the past two years with another pair on the way.
At a time when Steve McQueen’s poignant film 12 Years a Slave, which tells the harrowing tale of a man sold into a horrific life of slavery, his comments felt particularly galling. Twitter followers flew into a rage, slamming the Oscar-nominated director for his insensitive comments, including the charity Anti-Slavery International that tweeted: “Jennifer Lawrence held in #slavery by Hunger Games franchise? Probably not the best comparison…”
Russell has now issued a statement in which he apologized for the above remarks about the 23-year-old: “Clearly, I used a stupid analogy in a poor attempt at humor,” he said. “I realized it the minute I said it and I’m truly sorry.
What I find most bizarre is that had it not been for Lawrence’s star turn in the Hunger Games, would she have secured her female lead in O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook? Surely movie-goers, who’ve been supportive of Lawrence’s brilliant portrayal as Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games films, will follow their heroine and support the next movies she stars in? Also, to compare the pampered life of an A-list Hollywood star to the life of a violently abused, starved, imprisoned slave is incomprehensible.
What he no doubt meant as a quip about the politics of the film industry, has had a deeper impact.
Both American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave are expected to be among the nominees for the 2014 Oscars, which will be announced tomorrow.
Russell directing Lawrence on the set of American Hustle: