The 71-year-old actor and 24-year-old actress previously worked with the director on Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and American Hustle (2013). De Niro's involvement is dependent on Lawrence being confirmed for the project.
Joy tells the story of real-life entrepreneur Joy Mangano (Lawrence). Mangano was a single mother with three children when she catapulted to QVC fame after inventing the Miracle Mop. De Niro would portray the character's father.
Russell is rewriting the script by Annie Mumolo (Bridesmaids), with John Davis, John Fox and Ken Mok as producers. Filming is expected to begin in February, and the movie is scheduled for release in December 2015.
De Niro last appeared alongside John Cusack in The Bag Man, and is scheduled for a number of upcoming projects, including Bus 657 with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Hands of Stone with Edgar Ramirez and The Intern with Anne Hathaway.