*I caught up with Jennifer Lawrence (“Hunger Games,” “X-Men,” “American Hustle”) and Joel Edgerton (“Loving,” “It Comes at Night,” “Midnight Special”) recently at the New York Ritz Carlton. In that intimate setting they talked about “Red Sparrow” opening this week.
What was the draw for the two of you?
JENNIFER LAWRENCE: There were so many things, for one, the unique perspective on the life of a spy. I’ve never seen a spy movie done this way where it’s not glamorizing anything. It’s actually about the brutality of such a life style, the anxieties, the lies, the deceit and seeing this world of abuse, especially sexual abuse through the lens of a woman who comes out and gets her power back by using her intellect. All of it was just very inspiring to me.
JOEL EDGERTON: I was very curious about the day-to-day life and constant anxiety an operative experienced; the loneliness and human aspect of the character. It’s easy to forget this when you’re talking about thinking about spies in the James Bond and Mission Impossible context. They bleed red blood and they still have to cook breakfast. I love finding those things about characters because it grounds them.
The Red Sparrow program is real?
JL: Yeah. It was a program that I think was used by the KGB. We have no way of really knowing. America actually tried to use this program in the fifties and sixties, but it didn’t work because of the cultural difference between Russia and America. They would try to blackmail somebody and say, we’re gonna show photos to your wife and they (Russians) would be like, ‘Do it.’ And the Americans were like, ‘Oh! Damn.’
When this was shot two years ago, did you have any idea the global connotation it would have today?
JL: No. The relevancy really kind of landed in our laps. So many of the themes that are in this movie have been consistently relevant such as the abuse and manipulation of women, their bodies, the harassment, and unsafe workplaces. A lot of these things have always been relevant.
JE: It’s funny sometimes that you’re just making something and it grows into something [else]. The movie hits home with a number of issues. This movie is definitely not about election meddling or that sort of collusion, but there’s definitely a deep curiosity that still exists. So yeah, I mean it’s good for us in that regard and as far as the subject of women taking back power, anything that supports that or reflects that in a story form is also awesome.
In “Red Sparrow,” Ballerina Dominika Egorova (Lawrence) is recruited to attend “Sparrow School,” a Russian intelligence service where she is forced to use her body as a weapon. Her first mission, targeting a C.I.A. agent, threatens to unravel the security of both nations.
Directed by Francis Lawrence, the film also stars Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling, and Ghanaian born actor Hugh Quarshie, one of Edgerton’s bosses.
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