Melissa Rivers Opens Up About Portraying Her Late Mother Joan Rivers in 'Joy'

The 47-year-old actress said she was "freaked out" during hair and makeup.

ByABC News
December 9, 2015, 11:13 AM

— -- Like mother, like daughter.

Melissa Rivers is the spitting image of her mother, the late Joan Rivers, in newly released photos from the upcoming movie "Joy," directed by David O. Russell and starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.

People Magazine released the first photos of Melissa in character as her late mother, and the similarities are uncanny. In the movie, Melissa portrays Joan in a scene set at a taping of Joan's QVC show.

The 47-year-old actress told People that she had to think really hard about accepting the role of Joan after it was first offered to her by Russell, but after talking it over with the director as well as producer John Davis, she said she eventually felt comfortable accepting the role of her mother.

"I thought, 'Seriously when am I ever going to get to work with Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and David O. Russell?'" Melissa said. "I was like, 'Okay, I'm in.'"

Melissa admitted that it was "bizarre" being transformed to look like her late mother by the wardrobe and makeup departments, and the final result was "quite something."

"I think I was more freaked out in the hair and makeup tests than I was once I got on set," Melissa said. "It was bizarre. I stopped looking in a mirror."

Melissa also revealed that even though the hair and makeup test had freaked her out, she didn't fully realize the "emotional risk" she'd taken in portraying her mother until she was done shooting.

"It didn't hit me until I got home what a huge emotional risk I took because I don't think any of them ever allowed me to go there," Melissa said. "I did not want it to be an impersonation and I don't think it came off that way."

"Joy" will be released in theaters on Dec. 25.