Melissa Rivers has opened up about what it was like to portray her late mother, Joan Rivers, in David O. Russell’s upcoming drama, Joy, alongside Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.
Speaking with Vanity Fair, Melissa explained that the Fashion Police star, who passed away unexpectedly last year at 81 years of age, would’ve liked someone like Cate Blanchett or Helen Mirren to play her on film.
“I think she would be a little miffed that they didn’t have Cate Blanchett playing her,” Melissa explained to the publication. “I think she would have wanted Cate or Helen Mirren, had it been in the later years, because, of course, when you think of my mother you think of willowy and English.”
While Melissa was feeling conflicted when she was first pitched the role only four months after her mother’s passing, remembering Joan’s fondness of both Bradley and Jennifer made the decision a little easier.
“I could hear my mom’s voice in my head going, ‘You get to work with David O. Russell, Jennifer Lawrence, and Bradley Cooper. What are you doing even questioning this?” For the record, we’re so glad Melissa took on the role of her late mother.
Although she clearly already embodies many of Joan’s qualities, Melissa also made sure the character’s accessories, clothes and hair were spot-on, and even combed through archives to find the right jewellery for the right year.
It was the personality, speech, tone and overall characterisation that really scared Melissa, though, as she really wanted to give the scene, which goes behind the scenes of a home-shopping network in the 90s, the respect it deserved.
“I did work very hard on the speech pattern, and the tone, because I didn’t want it to become an impersonation. That’s what I was most frightened of. This was at the beginning of QVC [home-shopping network] and our [fashion] company is still going. It was such a big part of her life.”
You can catch a glimpse of Melissa’s Joy cameo in the clip below, with the full movie released in the US on Christmas day and in Australia on January 7. Can we just say, the resemblance is uncanny.
[Via Vanity Fair]