'It Came From the Inside': New Mother Jennifer Lawrence Returns with 'Causeway'

‘It Came From the Inside’: New Mother Jennifer Lawrence Returns with ‘Causeway’

Jennifer Lawrence drew screaming fans onto the red carpet in the indie drama Causeway, in which she plays a war veteran. Copyright AFP Geoff Robins.

Andrew MARSHAL

When Jennifer Lawrence was approached to write a script about a wounded US Army engineer who returns from Afghanistan due to a strained relationship with her mother, she was on a sabbatical from acting and had not yet become a parent.

The 32-year-old Oscar-winning “Silver Linings Directory” star, whose fame has skyrocketed since the incredibly popular “Hunger Games” movies, was a near-ubiquitous personality with more films before announcing a hiatus because “everything got to me.” “.

But when she read the script for “The Road” – then it was called “Red, White and Water” – something changed.

“It was really something that came from the gut, like this urgency,” she told AFP at the Toronto Film Festival.

“I made it clear that I didn’t want to work, and then somehow it fell on my desk and I had a sense of urgency, like, ‘let’s do this, let’s do this’.”

The subtle, character-driven indie film, which was also the first project for Lawrence’s fledgling production company, follows military engineer Lynsey’s return to her mother’s home in New Orleans.

A debilitating head injury from an IED blast in Afghanistan is not the only trauma she has to overcome as problems from her childhood and family life resurface.

Lawrence chose this film in part to showcase “what these heroes go through to protect us.”

“It was great to be able to talk to the wonderful men and women who served and try to get more information and backstory,” she said on the red carpet of the film’s world premiere on Saturday.

– motherhood –

But she also leaned in part on her own childhood for her role in The Road, in which Lynsey has a rocky relationship with her unreliable mother.

“I, like everyone else, had complications as a child, so it was sort of a decision,” she said of the film, which began filming in 2019 before being interrupted by the pandemic and eventually resumed in 2021. year.

During this delay, Lawrence was also filming and promoting the doomsday comedy Don’t Look Up.

And since then, she herself became a mother, having given birth to her son Sai earlier this year.

“Oh God, everything changes after you become a mom!” she told AFP.

“How am I making life difficult for him? I don’t know yet,” she joked.

In the film, Lynsey strikes up an unlikely friendship with James, played by Brian Tyree Henry, a car repairman who fixes her truck when it breaks down.

Although both grew up in New Orleans, their backgrounds are very different.

But he, too, has a family trauma buried deep in his past, which they tie into a relationship that soon becomes the film’s emotional anchor.

– “Invisible Trauma” –

“This film is an excavation of how we start to process, how we manage, how we actually change, how we start to connect again,” said director Lila Neugebauer, who made her film debut after her Broadway success.

“Both Jen and Brian are so deeply connected to their characters in this film, as actors and as people.”

For Lawrence, there was “something about this woman who’s been through so much, suffering from this invisible trauma and trying to reclaim her home and what belongs to her.”

“There was something that deeply connected me,” she said.

Causeway releases November 4 in select theaters and on Apple TV+. The Toronto International Film Festival runs through September 18.

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