JEN­NIFER LAWRENCE ON HER RACY NEW SPY THRILLER

Hol­ly­wood star Jen­nifer Lawrence went well and truly out­side her com­fort zone for new spy thriller Red Spar­row but she’s glad she did

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - MICHELE MANELIS Red Spar­row opens in cin­e­mas today

When Jen­nifer Lawrence’s pri­vate nude pho­tos were hacked and re­leased on­line in 2014, the Oscar-win­ning ac­tress was shaken to her core.

She was so trau­ma­tised she even de­cided she would no longer play roles of a sex­ual na­ture. But her new film Red Spar­row is all the proof we need that she is ready to tackle those fears head-on. Play­ing a bal­le­rina-turned-spy, Lawrence is both nude and seen in sex scenes in the film.

“There was a long pe­riod in my life when I didn’t want to be seen sex­u­ally and I didn’t want any­body to see my flesh,” she con­fesses, “so I was def­i­nitely scared.”

She does not make clear if these were her feel­ings in the af­ter­math of the hack or when she was younger. “But for us to tell the story ( Red Spar­row) in a cor­rect way and push the en­ve­lope, to make it as true to form, that was more im­por­tant than my fears that I have car­ried around for years,’’ she says.

“It was def­i­nitely go­ing out of my com­fort zone, but it was nec­es­sary in or­der to tell the story and I’m happy that I did it.”

Red Spar­row is di­rected by Fran­cis Lawrence, who helmed three of the four Hunger Games films in which she starred.

“Well, doing those (nude) scenes and see­ing Fran­cis, who I feel like I’ve known since I was five, I thought that would make it worse, but in the end I was sur­rounded by an amaz­ing group of peo­ple and that made me more com­fort­able,” she says. “Walk­ing away from it, I ac­tu­ally felt em­pow­ered by it.”

Play­ing Red Spar­row marked her first role re­quir­ing a for­eign ac­cent, in this case Rus­sian. “Oh, that was re­ally daunt­ing. You just cross your fin­gers and hope for the best,” she smiles.

“But I had a brilliant di­alect coach and I would lis­ten to tapes of women from dif­fer­ent parts of Rus­sia, to the lyri­cal pat­tern in the way they spoke.”

Based on the book of the same name, Red Spar­row is a thriller set in the shady worlds of Amer­i­can and Rus­sian es­pi­onage. The film sees Lawrence as prima bal­le­rina Do­minika Egorova, aka an as­sas­sin called Red Spar­row, who was forced to train at the Spar­row School, where young men and women are taught how to se­duce the en­emy.

“What shocked me the most was that it was a very real pro­gram,” Lawrence says.

“The Spar­row pro­gram ex­isted in the KGB and even in Amer­ica.”

Lawrence’s most re­cent movie, Mother!, mean­while, elicited an un­usu­ally di­vi­sive re­ac­tion from au­di­ences, many of whom had a vi­o­lent re­ac­tion to it.

Crit­ics were also di­vided and Lawrence was even awarded a Razzie nom­i­na­tion for Worst Ac­tress. She sighs. It’s clearly not the first time she’s been asked about the du­bi­ous hon­our.

“My feel­ings are that I re­ally don’t care,” she says. “That was the most I had ever given to a role and I think that that was my great­est per­for­mance, in my opinion, and that is re­ally the only opinion that I re­ally care about.”

She adds with a laugh: “And Jack Ni­chol­son was nom­i­nated for a Razzie for The Shin­ing, so I’m good.”

Lawrence is talk­ing on an un­sea­son­ably warm win­ter day at West Hol­ly­wood’s Lon­don Hotel, and her mood is just as sunny. Her hair is very blonde in beachy waves and she’s wear­ing a long-sleeved flo­ral Pub­lic School top, sharp pin­striped Stella McCart­ney pants and Jimmy Choos.

No longer in a ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship with Mother! direc­tor Dar­ren Aronof­sky, she is cur­rently sin­gle and ap­par­ently con­tent that way.

“There’s ac­tu­ally way more ad­van­tages to be­ing sin­gle, I am re­al­is­ing,” she says.

“I am like, ‘Cool. I can do what­ever I want and I can be alone and watch ter­ri­ble TV and what­ever I want’.”

In times of tur­moil, though, Lawrence turns to her mother.

“I have lived on my own since I was 14 and I am 27 years old but I still need my mom,” she says. “She is a huge sup­port sys­tem for me and I still want her opinion on pretty much ev­ery­thing ... ex­cept boys.

“That’s what girl­friends are for and my girl­friends are very wise.”

Lawrence is known for speak­ing her mind at almost ev­ery op­por­tu­nity, and in­sists she can handle occasionally neg­a­tive re­ac­tions. “I have a cer­tain re­silience. I don’t know what else to call it and I am pre­pared for the lash­ing that comes with speak­ing my mind,” she re­veals.

“And when I’m afraid to speak up, I feel pow­er­less and small. It’s OK if the sit­u­a­tion is go­ing to make me un­com­fort­able, I am go­ing to say what I mean, but when I feel that I can’t, it makes me feel weak.”

It’s dif­fi­cult to imag­ine Lawrence ever be­ing in a place where she felt un­able to es­pouse her views, es­pe­cially given her 2015 es­say on pay dis­par­ity, which proved a water­shed mo­ment for Hol­ly­wood’s gen­derequal­ity move­ment.

“The es­say that I wrote about pay equal­ity was re­ally just about my own men­tal per­spec­tive on the whole thing about why didn’t I feel like I de­served to be paid equally? I have been nom­i­nated for and have won an Academy Award and I have led movies to be No.1 at the box of­fice,” she says. “I don’t know what part of me felt like I de­served to not be paid equally, and that’s what I was more in­ter­ested in.”

With Hol­ly­wood’s gaze now fo­cused on sex­ual mis­con­duct, she says of the Time’s Up move­ment “the hope is to re­shape the way that we look at women and the way we treat women”.

“The things that have been nor­malised, that make us feel a bit un­com­fort­able, are all chang­ing, and that’s a good thing,” she says.

DEF­I­NITELY GO­ING OUT OF MY COM­FORT ZONE, BUT IT WAS NEC­ES­SARY IN OR­DER TO TELL THE STORY AND I’M HAPPY THAT I DID IT

Jen­nifer Lawrence stars in Red Spar­row, a thriller set in the shady worlds of Amer­i­can and Rus­sian es­pi­onage.

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