“Joy” Director David O. Russell Praises Daytime Soap Actors: “I Was Blown Away!”

Susan Lucci, Maurice Benard, Donna Mills, and Laura Wright
Susan Lucci, Maurice Benard, Donna Mills, and Laura Wright

In a recent “Directors Roundtable” on The Hollywood Reporter, David O. Russell spoke about working with daytime soap opera actors in the film, “Joy,” starring Jennifer Lawrence. In the film, Joy’s mother, played by Virginia Madsen, is a huge soap opera fan. Instead of using clips from actual soap opera scenes, Russell had four well known daytime vets come in and film original sequences.

Susan Lucci (ex-Erica Kane, “All My Children”), Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos, “General Hospital”), Laura Wright (Carly Corinthos, “General Hospital”), and Donna Mills (ex-Abby Ewing, “Knots Landing,” ex-Madeline, “General Hospital”) taped new, original scenes of a soap opera specifically for the movie, and Russell spoke very highly of these actors in the discussion.

“Jennifer Lawrence’s mother [in the film] is into soap operas. So we shot a soap opera from the ’60s to the 2000s, with Susan Lucci and Maurice Benard, who is like the Brando of soap operas. And those guys are like professional athletes. I’d go, ‘Donna Mills! Susan Lucci! Let’s have a catfight.’ They don’t go, ‘Oh wait, what’s my motivation?’ They just go, bang! I was blown away by the power of these women actors.”

Daytime soap opera actors are some of the hardest working people in the field. Filming 50-80 pages a day, sometimes even taping more than one episode per day, and they do it with professionalism and ease. We are very proud to see these actors getting the praise and recognition they so richly deserve.

“Joy” premieres in theaters on Christmas Day.

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