'It came from the gut': New mum Jennifer Lawrence interrupts acting hiatus for Causeway
TORONTO – When American actress Jennifer Lawrence was offered a script about a wounded United States Army engineer who returns from Afghanistan to a strained relationship with her mother, she was on a sabbatical from acting and not yet a parent.
The Oscar-winning star, 32, whose fame had rocketed ever since the wildly popular The Hunger Games movies (2012 to 2015), had been a near-ubiquitous presence with a prolific run of movies before announcing a pause in 2019, because “everybody had gotten sick of me”.
But when she read a script for the psychological drama Causeway – then titled Red, White, And Water – something changed.
“It was really just something that came from the gut, just like this urgency,” she said at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival, which runs through Sept 18.
“I was very clear that I didn’t want to work, and then somehow it landed on my desk, and I just had this sense of urgency, like ‘let’s make it, let’s do this’.“
The subtle, character-driven indie movie – which also became the first project for Lawrence’s fledgling production company and premieres on Apple TV+ on Nov 4 – follows military engineer Lynsey’s return to her mother’s home in New Orleans.
A debilitating brain injury following an IED (improvised explosive device) explosion in Afghanistan is not the only trauma she must overcome, as issues from her childhood and family life flood to the surface.
Lawrence chose the film – directed by Lila Neugebauer, in her film debut after success on Broadway – in part to showcase “what these heroes go through to keep us safe”.
“It was wonderful to be able to talk to the amazing men and women who have served, to try to get some more information and background,” she said on the red carpet of its world premiere last Saturday.
But she also partly drew on her own childhood for the role in Causeway, in which Lynsey has a fractious relationship with her unreliable mother (played by Linda Emond).
“I have complications in my childhood just like everybody else does – so it was more kind of working that out.”
For Lawrence, there was “something about this woman who has been through so much, and is suffering from this invisible injury, and trying to rebuild her home and where she belongs”.
“There was something that deeply connected with me,” she said.
Causeway began shooting in 2019, before it was interrupted by the pandemic and eventually resumed in 2021.
During that delay, Lawrence also filmed and promoted doomsday comedy Don’t Look Up (2021).
And she has since become a mother herself, giving birth earlier this year to her son Cy, whom she shares with her art gallery director husband Cooke Maroney.
“Oh god, everything changes after you become a mum,” she said.
“How am I complicating his life? I don’t know yet,” she joked. - AFP