But when he read the script for Causewaythen titled Red, White, and Water), something changed.
“It was really something that came from my gut, like an emergency,” Lawrence told AFP at the Toronto Film Festival.
“I was very clear that I didn’t want to work, and then somehow (that script) landed on my desk, and I had this sense of urgency, like ‘let’s do it, let’s do this,'” the actress said at the Toronto Film Festival this week. Saturday.
This character-driven independent film, which also became 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 brain injury after an improvised bomb explosion in Afghanistan is not the only trauma she must overcome, as issues from her childhood and family life come to the fore.
Lawrence chose the film in part to show what these heroes go through to stay safe.
“It was wonderful to be able to talk to the incredible men and women who have served (in the military), to try to get more information and background,” he said on the red carpet of the film’s world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.
But Lawrence also drew in part on his own childhood for his performance in Causewayin which Lynsey has a troubled relationship with her unreliable mother.
“I had complications in my childhood like everyone else, so it was more like solving that,” he said of the film, whose shooting began in 2019 but had to be interrupted until 2021 due to the pandemic.
During that hiatus, Lawrence also filmed and promoted the apocalyptic comedy Don’t Look Up).
And since then she launched her motherhood, giving birth to her son Cy earlier this year.
“Oh God, everything changes after you become a mom!” she told AFP. “How am I making life difficult for him? I still don’t know,” she joked.
In the film, Lynsey strikes up an unlikely friendship with James, played by Brian Tyree Henry, an auto mechanic who fixes her truck when it breaks down.
Although they both grew up in New Orleans, their backgrounds are very different. But he also has a family trauma buried deep in his past, which brings the two together, in a bond that soon becomes the emotional anchor of the film.
“This film is an excavation of how we start to process, how we cope, how we really change, how we start connecting again,” director Lila Neugebauer said at the Toronto Film Festival, making her feature film debut after a successful run in Broadway.
“Both Jen and Brian connect deeply with their characters in this film, as actors and as human beings,” he added.
Lawrence said she can relate to this woman who has been through so much and is suffering from this invisible injury and is trying to rebuild her home and where she belongs. “There was something that connected me deeply,” she said.
Causeway It will be released on November 4 in some theaters and on the Apple TV + platform.
The Toronto International Film Festival closes on September 18.