•• Sometimes a particular bit of casting in a movie is so on-target it’s hard to believe no one thought of it before. Take for example the actress Virginia Madsen playing mother to the title character played by Jennifer Lawrence in the new film “Joy.”
Madsen and Lawrence have the same spirited, spiky air about them, part kooky, part soulful, part dangerous. They seem made for each other. “I was waiting for someone to figure that out,” Madsen said recently in Los Angeles. “From when I first saw her I had thought, ‘I should be her mother.’ It was just a really perfect fit.”
Directed by David O. Russell, the film (which opens Dec. 25) is based partly on the real story of Joy Mangano, who created an entrepreneurial empire, transformed into a multi-generational family tale that touches on the quintessential modern American values of aspiration, ambition and self-invention. The cast includes Robert De Niro as Madsen’s ex-husband/Lawrence’s father, Isabella Rossellini as De Niro’s girlfriend, Édgar Ramírez as Lawrence’s husband/ex and Bradley Cooper as an executive who gives Joy’s products an early push. In another nice piece of cross-generation savvy, Diane Ladd plays Madsen’s character’s mother.
As Lawrence’s Joy struggles to hold the family together while also building her business, Madsen’s character is meek and beleaguered, many of the things Joy fights hard not to be. At one point in the film, Madsen lies in bed watching a soap opera while bemoaning her daughter’s striving as “Joy the do-er.” As prelude to a heated argument, De Niro says Madsen’s character is “like a gas leak; we don’t see you, we don’t smell you, but you’re slowly killing us all.”
A longtime admirer of Russell, now a five-time Oscar nominee off his recent films “American Hustle,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “The Fighter,” Madsen remained convinced they would one day work together. She finally received the call in a most unusual way. She was on a film festival jury in Dubai when she received an urgent message that Russell wanted to meet with her via Skype.
“He said, ‘Do you have any problem with playing the mother of Jennifer Lawrence?'” Madsen recalled. “I said, ‘I’ve never had a problem with aging.’ And I went on to tell him how much I liked her and how without knowing her I felt motherly toward her and I felt proud of her for what she’s done at such a young age. Well, I didn’t realize that Jennifer was sitting there.”
Even so, Madsen went through a series of auditions in which Russell began to shape the character for her until she was finally officially cast. She soon found that she had a lot to discover.
“Most of the roles I tend to do now are very much like my personality, and this was not my personality at all; this was a complete character role for me,” she said. “David could see that he was going to sculpt me into something I’ve never been before.”
She had to get used to the director’s unique on-set style too. Madsen recalled how in one scene he sat under a table, another under a bed, all to be closer to the actors. Lawrence, De Niro and Cooper had all worked with Russell before, and so as Madsen said, “I thought, ‘They’re going with it, I should go with it.'”
Still, it was hard for the veteran actress not to get a little rattled by her situation. “There’s still a part of me that was going, ‘Oh, my God, Robert De Niro is throwing things at me. This is so cool!'” she said. “I grew up admiring him as one of the greatest living actors ever. And there he is and such a dream come true to not just meet him but work with him. The fact I got to scream and yell and have an on-screen fight, I was so high at the end of that day — I could do it, I could fight Robert De Niro. That’s a pretty cool thing to find out.”
•• Stills & HD screencaptures from this week’s episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit “Maternal Instincts” have been added to the photo gallery. Virginia Madsen guest starred in the episode as Beth Anne Rollins.
Internationally renowned flautist Anton Krasnikov meets up after a concert with a prostitute who drugs and robs him in a hotel room. While under the influence, Anton rapes a violinist who performed with him, but doesn’t remember committing the crime. Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) soon discovers that the prostitute is her fugitive sister, Kim (Lindsay Pulsipher), who framed her sister for murder and insurance fraud, before cleaning out Rollins’ apartment and skipping town in Season 14’s “Deadly Ambition.” Rollins tries to defuse the situation without alerting SVU of her sister’s involvement. However, it becomes increasingly difficult as their mother, Beth Anne (Virginia Madsen), tries to protect Kim and maintain her own delusional picture of family harmony. Rollins’ SVU colleagues eventually learn of Kim’s identity and arrest her, while Anton is charged with rape and remanded without bail.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief William Dodds (Peter Gallagher) has assigned his son Mike (Andy Karl) to take over as sergeant, now that Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) has been promoted to lieutenant. On his first day, Sgt. Dodds clashes with the other detectives, frequently overstepping his bounds.
Though Rollins begs Kim to plead guilty, Kim works her charms on her lawyer, Lorenzo DeSappio (Jason Cerbone), who agrees to let her plead not guilty and go to trial. Beth Anne is furious with Rollins for choosing work over family and leaves town. Rollins visits Kim in prison, where Kim reveals that since her relationship with DeSappio has escalated, she’s agreed to plead out on her prior offenses in exchange for a short prison sentence. After that, she says, she hopes DeSappio will ask her to marry him – confirming what Rollins already knows about her sister’s dangerous patterns of instability.
The captures do contain spoiler so beware if you haven’t seen the episode yet. Enjoy!
•• 20th Century Fox has released the Joy trailer, which you can view below. Written and directed by David O. Russell, the dramedy stars Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Edgar Ramirez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Elisabeth Röhm and Bradley Cooper. It’s the third time Russell, Lawrence, Cooper and De Niro have worked together following Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle.
Joy is the wild story of a family across four generations centered on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right. Betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love, pave the road in this intense emotional and human comedy about becoming a true boss of family and enterprise facing a world of unforgiving commerce. Allies become adversaries and adversaries become allies, both inside and outside the family, as Joy’s inner life and fierce imagination carry her through the storm she faces. Like David O. Russell’s previous films, Joy defies genre to tell a story of family, loyalty and love.
*Connect with JOY Online:
-Visit JOY Official WEBSITE: http://fox.co/JoySite
-Like JOY on FACEBOOK: http://fox.co/JoyFB
-Follow JOY on TWITTER: http://fox.co/JoyTwitter
-Follow JOY on INSTAGRAM: http://fox.co/JoyInstagram
+1 JOY on GOOGLE +: http://fox.co/JoyGplus
•• Video Promotional and advance photos for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, “Maternal Instincts”. Virginia Madsen guest stars and it will air on Wednesday, October 21 at 9PM ET on NBC.
Rollins’ (Kelli Giddish) mother Beth Anne Rollins (Madsen) throws her a baby shower while the SVU reports to a four-star hotel where a famous violinist was raped by her colleague, Anton Krasnikov (guest star Zach McGowan). With no memory of the crime, Anton claims a hired escort drugged and robbed him, and evidence leads to the shocking return of Rollins’ fugitive sister Kim (guest star Lindsay Pulsipher). Meanwhile, Sgt. Mike Dodds (guest star Andy Karl) arrives for his first day at SVU. Also starring Mariska Hargitay (Lt. Olivia Benson), Ice T (Det. Odafin Tutuola) and Peter Scanavino (Det. Sonny Carisi). Also guest-starring Wass Stevens (Slice), Peter Gallagher (Deputy Chief Dodds) and Elizabeth A. Davis (Alessandra Bay).
•• Virginia Madsen will appear in the sixth episode of season 17. Rollins’ (Kelli Giddish) family is coming to town this season on Law & Order: SVU. The NBC drama has tapped Virginia Madsen to play her mother, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The Sideways actress will be joined by True Blood alum Lindsay Pulsipher, who returns as Rollins’ troublesome sister, Kim.
Virginia Madsen will play Beth Anne Rollins, whom showrunner Warren Leight describes as a “very protective” matriarch. “In theory, Amanda Rollins is her successful daughter. [She’s] college-educated, a detective, moved to New York, so of course the mother likes the daughter who has a warrant out for her arrest, has been involved with very sketchy men and has run her life into the ground,” Leight tells THR. “Beth Anne Rollins thinks that daughter can’t make mistake and Amanda has turned her back on the family.”
Virginia Madsen and Pulsipher will both appear in the sixth episode of season 17, which coincidentally also marks Leight’s 100th episode since taking over as showrunner.. Virginia Madsen’s other credits include Monk, Hell on Wheels and Witches of East End. She is repped by UTA and Untitled Entertainment. Law & Order: SVU returns on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 9 p.m. on NBC.
•• Thank you for those who have already sent me so many beautiful birthday wishes. It’s strange to have your birthday on 9-11. I always loved having a party and celebrating my birthday but that all changed in 2001. My little boy asked why and how and all the questions so many children asked on that day. I remember telling him that more people helped and more people prayed on that day than ever before in history. The good was far more powerful than hate could ever be.
The next year, my little Jack was starting 2nd. grade. He wanted me to celebrate my birthday cause I’d missed it the year before and I told him it wasn’t really a day to have fun for my own sake. When he came home from school, he had a backpack full of birthday greetings made by all the kids in his class for “Jacks Mom”. He said “Mama, that was only one day. Today is your birthday and it should be happy. I love you.” I read each card from these little children and wept. Their innocent love touched my heart and I felt it was ok to have a birthday, honor my Mother and Father and blow out the candles.
I will always honor this day and what happened to all of us all over the world because we changed. But this many years later, even when I feel somewhat frivolous, I will always be grateful for my family who’ve taught me and loved me so well and to my beautiful son who continues to remind me to celebrate my birthday. Today I remember.
Here’s to the best year ever. I’m pretty sure it will be a year full of Joy!