David O. Russell Says Jennifer Lawrence is ‘Enslaved’ by ‘Hunger Games’ Franchise

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He’s had his share of controversy, both on the set of his films and in his personal life, and now American Hustle’s David O. Russell has put his foot in his big mouth again. The 55-year old hot-tempered director told the NY Daily News that Best Actress Golden Globe winner Jennifer Lawrence’s role in The Hunger Games films “[is]12 years of slavery, that’s what the franchise is. And I’m going to get in so much trouble for saying that.” 

Russell continued, “I personally think they should give her a bit of breathing room over there because they’re printing money,” he told the paper’s [email protected] section at Friday’s Australian Academy’s AACTA Awards. “But she’s a very alive person.”

To be fair, Jennifer did suffer a debilitating bout of pneumonia this time last year that may have been caused by her demanding Hunger filming schedule. The franchise has shot three of the four films in as many years. However, Lawrence has also done both The Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle with David O. Russell in that time period as well. Perhaps Jennifer, 23, needs to say “no” to a few projects once in awhile.

And yet, her schedule is not going to get any lighter in the next few years. JLaw reprises her role as Mystique in the next installment of the X-Men franchise, coming out in May of this year. After that, she’ll appear in a third David O. Russell film (!), and then she will star in The Glass Castle, based on the best-selling memoir by Jeannette Walls.

All that aside, Russell’s comparison of Jennifer’s work schedule to that of a slave may have been a bit misguided and insensitive. Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International had a few things to say about Russell’s comments. He told The Daily Mail, “I think David Russell was trying to raise some legitimate concerns about how young actors are treated by powerful movie executives. But I’m surprised that a director of David Russell’s calibre doesn’t appear to have taken the time to watch 12 Years a Slave or else he wouldn’t have been so glib with his comparisons.”

McQuade went on to say,”Indeed if he’s interested I would invite him to join me in visiting India or Nepal to see what real contemporary slavery looks like. Working up to 12 hours a day in a brick kiln for nearly nothing, living in squalid conditions and not being able to leave – that’s real slavery.”