The director compared her work ethic on the successful films to slavery, saying, "I personally think they should give her a bit of breathing room over there because they're printing money."
"But she's a very alive person. I'll tell you what it is about that girl—talk about 12 years of slavery, that's what the franchise is," he told The New York Daily News' Confidenti@l on Friday, Jan. 10. "I'm going to get in so much trouble for saying that."
And that he did. E! News has learned that the director and screenwriter "feels terrible about this" and "realizes it was wrong."
In fact, Russell released the following statement in the wake of his remark:
"Clearly, I used a stupid analogy in a poor attempt at humor. I realized it the minute I said it and I'm truly sorry."
Russell directed Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, which earned the 23-year-old actress multiple awards including last year's Oscar for Best Actress.
With Academy Award nominations being announced later this week, there's only a short wait before we see if Lawrence earns her third Academy Award nomination. Both Lawrence and her costar Amy Adams took home Golden Globes for their work on the dark comedy.