Cover Story: Jennifer Lawrence, Star Without A Script

The bar of the Plaza Athénée, an elegant Upper East Side hotel, is empty save for an elderly French couple sipping Bordeaux at two P.M. when in bursts a tall blonde crackling with energy. It is Jennifer Lawrence, wearing a black cashmere sweater, jeans ripped at the knee, and black boots, her platinum hair chopped into a chic bob. Delicate gold jewelry circles her wrists, neck, and fingers, and her most pronounced accessory, a security team, looms nearby.

She orders tea and explains, “I am playing a ballerina in my next movie, so my first step is not drinking alcohol for every meal of the day. Obviously I’m still drinking every day,” she adds, in the same engaging, infectious manner America has come to love.

While most millennials are navigating student debt and entry-level employment, Lawrence, who turned 26 in August, hasn’t so much achieved the Hollywood dream as crushed and re-invented it by blazing an unprecedented career trajectory. In the past five years, she has won an Oscar (in 2013, for Silver Linings Playbook), earned three additional nominations (for Winter’s Bone, American Hustle, and Joy), collected three Golden Globes, gone full superhero in the $4-billion-grossing X-Men series, and fronted the nearly $3-billion-grossing Hunger Games franchise. With her next film, Passengers, Sony’s science-fiction romance, opening December 21, Lawrence has joined Julia Roberts in an elite league of actresses who have commanded $20 million for a movie. (Lawrence will also reportedly receive 30 percent of the film’s profits after it breaks even.) While Roberts reached this paycheck peak when she was 32 (for Erin Brockovich), Lawrence has already done so, a mere six years after skyrocketing out of obscurity. (For additional perspective, Passengers marks Lawrence’s 20th film, while Meryl Streep did not appear on-screen in a feature film until she was 28.)

With her franchises behind her, Lawrence has lined up a flurry of roles to fill the next chapter of her career: the aforementioned Russian ballerina (turned spy) in Red Sparrow, directed by The Hunger Games filmmaker Francis Lawrence; war photographer Lynsey Addario in It’s What I Do, directed by Steven Spielberg; and Elizabeth Holmes, the controversial founder of the scandal-plagued Silicon Valley health-technology company Theranos, in Bad Blood, written and directed by Adam McKay. She also has a role in Mother, a home-invasion horror movie directed by Darren Aronofsky, which was shot last summer in Montreal. “I don’t like waking up with nothing to do or going to sleep without accomplishing anything,” Lawrence says. “That really depresses me.”

VIDEO: 128 Seconds with Jennifer Lawrence

She had her big breakout role at the age of nine, when she played a prostitute from Nineveh in a church play in her native Louisville, Kentucky. Lawrence was so unexpectedly convincing—“swinging her booty and strutting her stuff,” her mother has said—that family friends told her parents, “We don’t know if we should congratulate you or not, because your kid’s a great prostitute.” Five years later, Lawrence was discovered by a modeling scout and was so eager to embark on her career that she left high school early with a G.E.D. and moved to New York.

Having reportedly banked $46 million last year—making her the highest-paid actress two years in a row—Lawrence is a long way from the horse farm where she was raised by her mother (the owner of a children’s-camp) and father (the owner of a contracting business), along with two older brothers. She is still a typical twentysomething in some ways, but with some extraordinary caveats. She is obsessed with Beyoncé’s Lemonade, for example, but receives texts referencing the lyric “Becky with the good hair” from David O. Russell, her three-time director (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, Joy). “I mentioned the album and he just wanted me to know that he listened and cares.”

She also met Beyoncé herself and verifies that, in person, the superstar “looks like she was sent directly from heaven.” She watches Real Housewives but texts executive producer Andy Cohen with feedback. (She produces her phone from a black purse to recite her last mobile missive to him: “Please somehow get this to the Real Housewives of O.C.: Shannon, your mother-in-law is a dirty bastard and you are completely right. Meghan, you have got to stop apologizing—these women are better at arguing than you. Sincerely, Jennifer’s period.”) She is occasionally struck by insecurity and calls Paris Fashion Week “the most intimidating time to be alive. You get ready in your hotel and you’re like, ‘I look awesome.’ Then you walk outside, see the outfits and people who are like seven feet tall, and are like, I am a piece of garbage. I’m not going out anymore.’ ” But, having worked with Dior since 2012, she manages to get through it.

She worships the usual icons, but, more and more, they approach her, as Paul McCartney did to compliment her dancing to “Live and Let Die” in American Hustle. “I don’t think I spoke back,” she says. “I just dropped my jaw and cried.”

Source : http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/11/jennifer-lawrence-cover-story

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