See Melissa Rivers play mom Joan in the film 'Joy'

Story highlights

  • Melissa Rivers says director David O. Russell asked her to take the role
  • She said she stopped looking in the mirror when made up as her mother

(CNN)Melissa Rivers looks so much like her mother, Joan, that even she couldn't believe it.

The younger Rivers is playing her late mom in the new film "Joy." People magazine shared some exclusive photos of the younger Rivers made up to look like the comedy legend, and the resemblance is striking.
Joan Rivers, 81, died in September 2014, a week after an appointment at Manhattan's Yorkville Endoscopy Clinic. An investigation found that the cause of death was "anoxic encephalopathy due to hypoxic arrest," a medical description of brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen.
    "Joy" stars Jennifer Lawrence as a character inspired by real-life entrepreneur Joy Mangano, who became a millionaire thanks to inventions including the Miracle Mop and Huggable Hangers. The film co-stars Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro and is directed by David O. Russell.
    Rivers said it was the director's idea to cast her as her mother in scenes showing Joan Rivers on the shopping network QVC. The younger Rivers told People that even she was taken aback by how much she resembled her mother once she was made up.
    "I think I was more freaked out in the hair and makeup tests than I was once I got on set," Rivers said. "It was bizarre. I stopped looking in a mirror."
    It's not the first time Rivers has subbed for her mother. In August, she took over Joan Rivers' gig as a host on the E! show "Fashion Police."
    "Joy" arrives in theaters on December 25.