Melissa Rivers portrays her own mother, Joan Rivers, in the upcoming film Joy, which stars Jennifer Lawrence as Joy Mangano, creator of the Miracle Mop. Rivers appears in a scene that takes place at the QVC studios, where Joan first meets Joy and offers her advice on her outfit, naturally. The comedian had begun selling her jewelry, clothing and beauty products on the home shopping network in 1990, and had amassed over $1 billion in sales by the time of her death in 2014.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Melissa discussed her preparation for the uncanny role. “I worked hard on her speech pattern, but not so much the accent because I didn’t want it to be an imitation or a caricature,” she said. The actress subsequently teared up, which isn’t too surprising, since it must be super fucking weird to play your own late mom in a feature film.

“I can’t watch myself — especially like that,” Melissa continued. “I think I was so focused on the details and trying to do a good job that it never hit me that I took this crazy emotional risk until I got home and went, ‘What did I just do?’”

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The idea for Melissa to play her mother had belonged to director David O. Russell. “My agent received a phone call, saying, ‘David O. Russell wants to meet Melissa,’” she said. “It was all very hush hush and top secret, and I went, ‘OK.’ In our family when they offer a job, we always joke the answer is, ‘Yes, how much?’”

Joy, which also stars Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, is out in theaters on December 25.


Contact the author at marie.lodi@jezebel.com.

Image via ET/20th Century Fox.