“Jennifer Lawrence playing me? They had to pick me up off the floor…” hmv.com talks to Joy Mangano
Imagine leading a life so momentous that Hollywood makes a movie about it. Now imagine yourself being played by superstar Jennifer Lawrence, who received an Oscar nod for her performance. Truth really is stranger than fiction… just ask Joy Mangano.
The American inventor and entrepreneur – who rose to fame on her nifty Miracle Mop, ushered into mass consciousness via the then-fledgling Home Shopping Network – is the basis for filmmaker David O. Russell’s acclaimed dramedy Joy, out now on DVD.
In the film, Mangano (played by Lawrence) has the deck stacked against her: hard-working single mom with her extended family dependent upon her, in a stifling workaday job but with dreams very much intact.
As the story goes, an accident leads Mangano – always imaginative and creative, and cheered on by her grandmother - to create a cutting-edge mop that doesn’t require its user to wring it out by hand. That invention propelled Mangano to fame and riches, but her never-give-up spirit is the movie’s heart.
Joy reunites Lawrence with her Silver Linings Playbook co-stars Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro (Russell also directed that film). Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Édgar Ramírez and Diane Ladd also feature. And while Joy isn’t a textbook Joy Mangano biopic, it borrows enough of her story that the real Mangano – today the president of Ingenious Designs, LLC - is happy to stand up and take a bow.
hmv.com spoke with Mangano ahead of Joy’s and, as might be expected, she is more-than-a-little thrilled about seeing Lawrence bring her story to life...
Joy isn’t a straight-up biopic – and it’s not based on a memoir – so how did your story get on the filmmaker’s radar?
“Many years ago I was a judge on an invention show in L.A. (Made in the USA which aired in 2005). The producer and I went out to dinner one night and we got to talking and he said, ‘Your story is amazing. One day there will be a motion picture about your life.’ Years later I got phone call – there was a couple of big Hollywood people on the line – and they said they wanted to make a movie about my life. Fast-forward a bit and David O. Russell is calling my office. So I knew it was real. One day he asked me about Jennifer Lawrence playing me. I wish they had taped me. They had to pick me up off the floor. It’s such an honour…. I can’t tell you. And they’ve made this amazing, amazing movie.”
Did you have any hesitation about opening yourself up like that?
“Unequivocally no. After I met with and talked to David O. Russell and 20th Century Fox, the movie studio, I didn’t even blink. I had complete trust and faith in the integrity of everybody. And everything rings true in this beautiful movie.”
Who did you think would be the hardest person from your real life to cast?
“The process David goes through… it’s like he nailed it every time. I mean, Robert De Niro as my father is exactly right. And truthfully, the only person at the top of my list to play me was Jennifer Lawrence. Virginia Madsen (as Joy’s mother Terry) is also exactly right and she is just such an amazing actress.”
You attended the Oscars… who were you most excited to meet?
“Well, the whole thing was kind of surreal. Kind of like watching the movie. But push comes to shove, I have to say I was thrilled to meet Leonardo DiCaprio. I wouldn’t be a living and breathing woman if there wasn’t something intriguing about meeting him.”
Has there been an uptick in sales at your company because of the movie?
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years. Everything is a gift and I am thankful for everything. But I am actually busier now than I have ever been because this affords me the ability to bring to the forefront the charitable aspects of the business. The ability to educate and empower entrepreneurs and teach them the lessons I’ve learned is an amazing thing. That’s very important to me. It is incumbent upon the successful to give back.”
If you could nominate anyone for a biopic treatment, who would it be?
“My grandmother, who is played by Diane Ladd in the movie. She lived through the Depression and was my inspiration. She gave me the wings to fly in life.”