American Hustle director David O. Russell has apologised for poking fun at his leading lady Jennifer Lawrence's The Hunger Games work schedule and suggesting franchise producers are slave drivers.

The director made his remarks at a pre-Golden Globe Awards event in New York last week (10Jan14) and is now back-pedalling after accepting his choice of words should have been better.

He said, "I personally think they should give her a bit of breathing room over there... Talk about 12 years of slavery, that's what the franchise is. And I'm going to get in so much trouble for saying that."

Apologising to The Hunger Games producers, Russell now says, "Clearly I used a stupid analogy in a poor attempt at humour. I realised it the minute I said it, and I am truly sorry."