Robert De Niro/Martin Scorsese. Paul Thomas Anderson/Philip Seymour Hoffman. David O. Russell/Jennifer Lawrence?
Are we looking at the first steps towards a legendary Hollywood pairing, or the inevitable trail to a creative dead end? Granted, every collaboration so far has brought critical distinguishment for both actor and director: Russell was praised for the emotional warmth lighting up Silver Linings Playbook, Lawrence was hailed as the whirlwind stirring at the centre of American Hustle. And Joy, their third collaboration released 1 January, is already riding a wave of positive buzz.
And, as Lawrence hopes, Joy won't mark their last together; not by a long shot. At a Q&A accompanying the first screening of the film, the actress exuded admiration for the director. "I'll do anything with you until you die. It's sweet and f—ed up."
She had previously marked her continuing desire to work with Russell in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, adding: "I love him so much that sometimes I can't talk about him without tearing up. Look! I'm tearing up. I understand every look, every eyeball move, every word he says or doesn't say. We were made for each other."
Joy also features returning appearances from both Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper, Lawrence's co-stars in Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle; yet this marks the first time she takes centre stage, as Russell's first female protagonist and, as he notes, the first time the actress is playing someone "who's not crazy" in one of his films.
The movie is inspired by Joy Mangano, the inventor of the "Miracle Mop" and single mother to three children, who created a business empire with her company Ingenious Designs, LLC. As Lawrence describes her, she was a woman who "had a fire and gift that she had buried for 17 years."
And having already garnered significant Oscar buzz for Lawrence, who previously won for Silver Linings Playbook and grabbed a nomination for American Hustle; well, let's just hope she keeps her word and two indeed have a long, and profitable, history ahead of them.