Jennifer Lawrence. Cover of December Vogue timed with the release of Mockingjay Part 2 and the upcoming Joy, for which many believe she’ll receive her fourth Oscar nomination. Most of the interview takes place at her home in LA. She bought the house from Jessica Simpson and while she’s started to furnish it, there’s still a lot of work to be done to make it liveable for a grownup. And that’s not a criticism of her maturity. Rather it’s an acknowledgement of her maturity. She’s 25. Just 25. She is, as she tells the writer, “new money”. New money and new adult, still figuring it out. What makes Jennifer Lawrence so compelling is that she’s showing us how she’s figuring it out. This is typical, unfiltered Jennifer Lawrence. That’s her image, of course, and it’s worked really, really, really well for her. Which is why there are some who believe that all of that charming candour is just an act. Even if you think it’s an act though, the act isn’t easy to resist. Especially not when she’s sharing what she’s learned:
- That while it sucked that her cloud got hacked and the internet saw her naked, she’s not going to be bothered by it anymore because being bothered by it means it continues to be a weapon used against her.
- That she’s not going to pretend she’s “just like us” because she isn’t. She can call up a private plane any time. And does. So that she doesn’t have to be around “300 perfectly lovely people at the gate and one crazy person who ruins it for everyone”. I’d much prefer to hear that than have to listen to the top paid actress in Hollywood telling me that she rolls on my level.
- That she wants to speak. About Kim Davis. About Donald Trump. About women’s rights. About gay rights. About politics. “I don’t want to stay quiet about that stuff,” she says.
Jennifer Lawrence is young and extremely successful. That’s power. The kind of power that makes speaking and speaking up and out easier than, say, an actress in her 40s, in the part of her life when Hollywood is ready to discard you. She’s only started to access that power recently though. You get the sense that it’s the result of the new(ish) influences in her life – Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, women of her generation who are even more bawdy, even more confrontational. And so, having found more of her own people, she’s flexing that power more and more.
It wasn’t just the essay in Lenny and it’s not just the opinions she has on politics and feminism, but also in how she confirmed to Vogue that she did indeed get into a scrap with David O Russell on the set of Joy:
In February, word leaked out that Russell and Lawrence had “a screaming match” on set, and she quickly took to Facebook to quell the gossip. Today Lawrence seems eager to talk about it, mostly to clarify that, yes, they did have an ugly fight, but it was Lawrence, not Russell, who behaved like a monster. She was sick with the flu, throwing up between takes, and at one point exploded at Russell, who said to her, “Genuinely, from the bottom of my heart, I am scared of you.”
“I was f-cking mean on set,” says Lawrence. “I wasn’t mean to anybody but David. I would never be mean to somebody who couldn’t be mean back. But when you really love somebody, you fight with them. There have been times where I’ve said, ‘We should go to couples therapy.’ ”
The reason I like this story is because she’s not only not afraid to admit that she was an asshole, she’s also not afraid to meet whatever might come of her admission that she was an asshole. Tom Hardy is often a challenging asshole on the set of his films, directly questioning his directors, sometimes even, um, forcefully. Christian Bale? Temperamental and demanding. Both have been praised for their commitment to their jobs, for their intensity, for their drive. That kind of behaviour then hasn’t damaged their ability to attract work and acclaim.
How many actresses however have the freedom – and the power – to acknowledge that, “Yeah, I’m a f-cking bitch sometimes”?
Well, right now, probably just Jennifer Lawrence. And still she says her “hymen’s growing back” because she hasn’t had sex in a long time and no guys want to ask her out. And when they do they’re “trying to establish dominance”. How’s that for the price of power?
Reminds me of a book I read recently called Unfinished Business by Anne-Marie Slaughter. Anne-Marie was the first female director of policy planning at the US State Department in 2009. She worked closely with Hillary Clinton. She is a BOSS. When she resigned from her position, choosing to spend more time with her teenage son, she write an article for The Atlantic – you might remember it because it made headlines everywhere – Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.
Anne-Marie addresses the reasons behind why Jennifer Lawrence meets guys who “try to establish dominance”. She explores the challenges women face in balancing family, work, and life. And she proposes an action plan for how true equality between women and men can be achieved. Click here for more information about the book.
And click here to read the full Jennifer Lawrence piece in Vogue and to see more photos.