Jennifer Lawrence won her Oscar for “Silver Linings Playbook,” while her co-star Bradley Cooper had to settle for his first nomination. They don’t share much screen time in “American Hustle.” But the comedy — about the real-life Abscam operation, in which the feds coerced con artists (played by Christian Bale and Amy Adams) into a botched attempt to take down the Jersey mob — reunites them not only with each other, but with director David O. Russell, who loves to collaborate with actors. Here’s some tidbits on their experience with him:
Russell wanted Lawrence to do her best Paul McCartney. Lawrence, who plays Bale’s neglected wife, talks about how he came to her one day with the idea of a scene that wasn’t in the script. “He had a vision of me wearing yellow cleaning gloves and running through the house singing ‘Live and Let Die,’” she recalls. It wasn’t just a fun idea, though. It was tied to her character. “She’s so angry at this point. She’s been lied to for so long. And she’s been left out of everything. At this point she’s been fighting [for the marriage] for so long that she’s finally ready to just let it die. I thought it was a really crazy moment. I threw my neck out, actually.”
Cooper got curls. For Cooper, he got to collaborate on his character, an FBI agent who, while working with Bale and Amy Adams’ characters, gets a little too into it. “I wanted to look different, maybe unrecognizable. David’s idea was he curls his own hair. It’s an odd thing to do and it’s probably stress related,” Cooper says.
There’s other tics. “He’s constantly making noise. Even when he’s silent or idle, he’s groaning in some way. He wants to be present. He wants to be recognized in this world." In Cooper's eyes, he barely qualifies as an adult. “He’s a child, really,” Cooper says. His character falls for Adams, but it’s not true love. “He really falls in love with her like a boy would fall in love with a girl in eighth grade.”
Lawrence really gets into the zone. Acting, she says, “is a study of people. It’s all these things I did since I was little that were useless in Kentucky. You just watch people and learn to mimic their body language, being able to figure out a person, how they move, how they walk.”
She says she really likes to get in a zone. “Between action and cut, it’s kind of like meditating, in a weird way. Anything you’re feeling — if I’m cold, in between action and cut I’m not. If I’m feeling pain, in between action and cut I’m not. I’m in a completely different frame of mind. It’s a high.”