As the Winter's Bone DVD and Blu-ray went out this week, rising star Jennifer Lawrence hit Los Angeles to accept a New Hollywood award at the Hollywood Film Fest, on a brief break from her role as Mystique (originated by Rebecca Romijn) in X-Men: First Class. While she does undergo a six-to-eight hour process each time she gets coated with blue paint and scales (which are hard to remove, she shows me in our flip cam interview), she confesses that 90% of the time, she's fully clothed.
Mostly, though, we talked about Winter's Bone, for which she is getting considerable Oscar buzz. (The Palm Springs Film Fest is giving her their rising star award.) Director Debra Granik (interview below) says she cast Lawrence because she had the country accent nailed, and seemed willing, through several grueling auditions, to go the extra mile. That included flying herself out to audition.
When I first saw the movie back in January at Sundance, Lawrence's performance hit me hard. She's tough yet vulnerable, frightened but determined to find the truth about her missing father, do what she has to do to protect and care for her family. She's just a hick 17-year-old: admirable and believable. She hikes miles across the cold countryside, chops wood, shoots, skins and cooks game, gets beat up as if she were a guy. In short, she's more hero than heroine. In the flesh, Lawrence is a slim 20-year-old in spike heels with some Kentucky grit behind her pretty features (and blue paint behind her ears). She's confident, determined, not too eager to smile or to please. Will the high school drop-out (she earned an at-home diploma) who was discovered in New York by a photographer ever slow down and get herself a college education? "Never say never," she says.
Part One: How she got the role in Winter's Bone, and worked with Debra Granik.
Part Two: X-Men's Mystique, The Burning Plain, Jodie Foster's The Beaver, not reading stacks of scripts.
Winter's Bone director Debra Granik talks finding and working with Lawrence: