Jennifer Lawrence has always had the gift of being candid.
On screen, she portrays genuine, believable characters, and off it, she’s willing to talk about the gritty aspects of fame that other actresses prefer to keep out of the eyes of their fans.
Already in her mid-20s, when Hollywood and its diaspora see her as the lifeline for the “movie star” label, she senses that she won’t hold that status for long. She did not believe that she belonged to the people of show business, who will pour praise on their projects regardless of their content.
And while promotions for The Hunger Games and X-Men franchises have only hinted at her penchant for unleashing the creative potential of her own films, the premiere of Passengers has convinced her that she can’t turn a blind eye to the low-end bands in which he participates.
“I was looking at the crowd of fans and I was thinking – you’re here for me and I’m here for you. But wait a minute, who thought this was a good movie. Adele told me not to. She felt like space movies were the new vampire movies. I had to listen to her,” Lawrence told The New York Times.
Six years after the release of the sci-fi tape with Chris Pratt, the actress can summarize the entire concept of “Passengers” in one line – “a scandalous sci-fi romance.”
From this insight, Lawrence’s impressions that her image as an actress was being fabricated into a more hollow and procedural version intensified.
She notices that mostly one-of-a-kind scripts fall into her hands, and projects by directors whom, as she herself says, she “admires a lot”, never reach her.
This makes her realize that after the frenzy surrounding the franchises with her, the decision about the roles she will take on has started to be taken by others. Before stepping into the shoes of Katniss Everdeen, Lawrence had been sticking to movies that triggered her instincts, but after “The Hunger Games” she began to give in to the habit.
In 2018, this trend became a warning light for her, which led her to terminate her contract with the agency CAA, which represented her for 10 years.
“I had let myself get carried away. I kept doing the X-Men movies because that was part of the deal, but deep down I felt like I was more of a celebrity than an actress. I was cutting myself off from my creativity, from my imagination. I know , that some movie stars become so isolated in their fame that after a while you can’t find anything genuine in their performances. I didn’t want that to happen to me,” says the actress.
To make a drastic turn from the already formed film comfort zone, Lawrence chooses to lead the drama Causeway. A title that her old managers of the second would reject because the story is aimed at a limited part of the viewers.
The film tells about the post-war post-traumatic stress of Lindsey – an American soldier who was mobilized in Afghanistan and returned to her native home in New Orleans.
Lawrence’s heroine tries to continue her life from where she left it, but the years in Kabul take their toll.
Causeway is a very personal, almost intimate drama that foregrounds risk to life, patriotism, and the ensuing anxiety and depression. Few people will recognize themselves in these storylines, but nevertheless, the strong emotion has encouraged Lawrence to realize the project not only as an actress in the lead role, but also as a producer.
In the summer of 2019, she is on set and for the first time in years, her character surprises her. Lindsay doesn’t wear a fake nose, a latex suit, extensions in her hair, or any of the studio highlights of superhero movies.
Lawrence is alone in front of the camera, proving to the whole team that she does not need high-budget props and sets to be an impressive actress.
“The tightrope between her inner emotions and the lens was tight. In no time she became the beating heart of Causeway. Her every line oozed honesty, she executed every scene effortlessly,” adds the film’s director, Laila Neugebauer.
However, the filming of the film has been difficult due to other reasons – the COVID-19 pandemic, evacuations due to Hurricane Barry, heat waves and flash floods. At the end of 2019, the production had to be postponed to a later date also because Jennifer Lawrence married her better half Cook Maroney.
But in retrospect, Lawrence doesn’t think the extended hiatus hurt the film. Causeway debuted at the Toronto Film Festival to warm critical reviews.
“I’ve only read one bad review that said ‘the movie looks too easy to shoot.’ That made me laugh. Really, of all the bad things that could have been said, I’m glad they chose ‘too easy,'” commented Lawrence.
If she were to write a review of Causeway, as she did with Passengers, she would point out that the psychological drama has come full circle.
Laila Neugebauer’s film takes her back to her roots, in the years when she was diving headfirst into projects like Winter’s Gift, her first major role.
And for now, Lawrence plans to stay in this phase – where she flies under the radar of fame, makes films for small audiences, pays attention to her family and lives a normal life.