Direct response has earned a place in the culture, making stars out of salespeople and populating television with catchy ads, popular products, and opportunities to shop 24 hours a day. The industry’s personalities have even crossed over into entertainment with reality shows such as Pitchmen and Shark Tank. But only recently did the industry’s inventiveness, entrepreneurial spirit, and sheer pluck get the big-screen treatment.
Based on the life of inventor and HSN host Joy Mangano, David O. Russell’s Joy stars Jennifer Lawrence in the title role as the struggling single mom who invents a self-wringing Miracle Mop that catapults her to home-shopping stardom. “When David initially approached me and told me he was going to make a movie inspired by my life, I was in disbelief,” Mangano told ER. “I didn’t think my story was out-of-the-ordinary.”
Mangano consulted with Russell by phone for months, often staying up until the wee hours of the morning to discuss her experiences onscreen and off. “He would hone in on specific events,” Mangano says. “I could feel his brain working as he was taking my emotional journey and crafting it into this amazing film.”
As far as complete accuracy, the biopic got a dose of dramatic license. “When someone is creative like David, they take what appears to be the ordinary and make it extraordinary through their artistic ability,” Mangano says. “There are elements of my life threaded throughout the story, and elements of his creativity beautifully meshed with that.
“David and his incredibly talented cast are so gifted at what they do,” she adds. “Before filming started, I had the opportunity to meet with Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert DeNiro. It was amazing to meet them and talk about the film—I really felt like I connected with them, and that we’d known each other for years.”
Joy earned Golden Globe nominations for Russell and Lawrence, who took home the Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical or Comedy award and was nominated for an Academy Award. Mangano herself may soon have a seat at the Oscars as its inspiration. “The movie is exciting, impactful, and inspiring,” she says. “I think there are pieces of the story that anyone could relate to and that anyone could be inspired by. It was truly an honor to be part of such a wonderful film.”
The above blog post was adapted from the “Parting Shot” column published in the March-April 2016 issue of ER magazine.