The M Interview: Jennifer Lawrence stands up for herself
The star of Joy masters the fine art of housekeeping and takes a stand on real issues
She is arguably the biggest actress in Hollywood at the moment, certainly the best paid.
Jennifer Lawrence single-handedly furthered the conversation about gender wage inequality in Hollywood, with a much-praised essay in which she blamed herself for not valuing her worth and accepting less money.
For the 25-year-old's upcoming sci-fi romance Passengers, opposite Jurassic World leading man Chris Pratt, she is not making the same mistake - reportedly getting US$20 million for that role, more than her co-star.
Lawrence joins M by Skype from the Passengers set in Atlanta.
It is her lunch break and she is not eating because "we just shot a scene in a restaurant so I just had like 30 dumplings".
We are here to talk about Joy, her latest movie and third collaboration with director David O. Russell (after 2012's Silver Linings Playbook and 2013's American Hustle), for which she received her fourth Golden Globe nomination.
In the dramedy which opens here tomorrow, Lawrence plays the title role of the inventor of the Miracle Mop, 59-year-old Joy Mangano.
The film spans four decades of Mangano's life as an inventor, mother, and businesswoman.
The cast includes Robert De Niro as her dad, Virginia Madsen as her mum and Bradley Cooper as the executive she has to convince to let her sell her mop on his network.
Lawrence was not familiar with televised home shopping and does not even shop online.
"I'm so bad at phones and computers and I live like I am in the 18th century."
She started watching home shopping network QVC as research and has never used the Miracle Mop.
The Kentucky native says: "My mum had OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), so I had to clean my room and I had to do laundry and clean my dishes, but I don't think she would ever let a morsel of food get on the floor without Clorox-ing the whole thing. So I never really mopped.
"Bradley taught me ways. He watched me mop and he was like 'dude, no'. And he showed me a better way of mopping. So mopping and QVC I had to kind of get to know."
Lawrence's mum has done more for her than imparting the fine art of housekeeping.
"I wouldn't be here without her", she says. "She believed in me when I was 14 and nobody else did.
"Maybe it cost her her life in Kentucky and money and almost her marriage, but she stuck with me because she saw how happy acting made me and she didn't want to take me away from it. So I owe her everything."
She's also indebted to Russell, whose films have won her a slew of awards, including the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Silver Linings Playbook.
What is it about him that makes Lawrence keep working with him?
"He is so unique and fiercely just himself. Now that I have got to know him, there's nowhere his mind doesn't go. On Joy, he kept surprising me. I have loved every single movie he ever made. I love his style, I love his voice, I love his courage and his sense of humour, it's always laced in everything."
The one thing she hated doing for Joy was singing the standard Somethin' Stupid with co-star Edgar Ramirez, who plays her ex-husband.
"My reaction is always the same when I find out I have to sing. I am scared and I try to get out of it."
Jennifer Lawrence and director David O Russell. PHOTO: DAVE J HOGAN
And she was not happy when Russell wanted to include it in the film's soundtrack.
"I texted him, 'David, no!!! Oh, I mean yes, I can't say no to you, but ugh! Gross! I can't listen to it, I have to go to bed'."
She adds: "It was a groaning, reluctant yes. I just can't say no to David."
What she is saying a resounding yes to, is going behind the camera.
She will make her directorial debut with Project Delirium, based on a magazine piece about chemical weapon experiments on US soldiers, and is also writing a script with good friend, US actress-comedian Amy Schumer.
She is also finally comfortable taking a stand on real issues, and "feels great" opening up about gender wage inequality.
"I always wanted to stay out of politics and not really bare my opinions because my job means everyone buying box office tickets, not just liberals buying box office tickets.
"Also, I completely understand when people say I shouldn't talk about politics and I used to agree with that, but that was before my gender was at stake and was being threatened with unfairness.
"And I thought, what is the point of having this voice if it's not to speak out for myself and for everyone else who can't?
"So I realise that I am going to piss a lot of people off and that's not going to be very good for my night sweats, but that's okay."
There is just one topic Lawrence is shutting up on.
When asked about dating and relationships, she laughs and says: "Next question... When I talk about boys, the world implodes. If I just like casually say something to a reporter, that quote haunts me for the rest of my life. So I am never, ever, ever talking about boys again."
By the numbers
Costume changes Jennifer Lawrence went through in Joy to depict her evolution from struggling mum to mogul
Times Lawrence and Bradley Cooper starred together in a movie since 2012's Silver Linings Playbook
Oscar nominations between regular collaborators David O. Russell, Lawrence, Cooper and Robert De Niro
months Edgar Ramirez spent as a singer to prepare for his role as Joy's singer ex-husband
The year Joy Mangano first developed the Miracle Mop, the same year Lawrence was born
(S$21m) Jennifer Lawrence's paycheck for Joy
Box office for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), Lawrence's highest grossing movie
Box office for Winter's Bone (2010), Lawrence's lowest grossing movie