Hollywood actress Jennifer Lawrence said after the success of The Hunger Games and her Oscar win she “lost a sense of control” but her new film Causeway finally “feels personal” to her again.
The 32-year-old has returned to her independent film roots playing a soldier struggling to adjust to life after returning home to New Orleans in Lila Neugebauer’s directorial debut.
The Apple TV+ film is the first from Lawrence’s production company Excellent Cadaver and sees her perform alongside Brian Tyree Henry.
Speaking at the BFI London Film Festival special presentation on Saturday, Lawrence said: “It felt serendipitous the first film of my production company be an independent, that’s where I got my roots and that’s what I attribute my entire career too.
“Lila is so clearly perfect. We went to dinner that ended up being five hours long, she was brilliant. She has very sharp instincts and I felt my only job was to protect them.
“It’s a movie about PTSD told completely in the present. The first thing I fell in love with from the script was the melody, slow melodic rhythm that just brings forward performance.
“I love making those kinds of movie. I also love superhero movies as much as the next person but it had been so long since I had read something with a melody like that.”
She described her best actress Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook in 2012 as “extremely overwhelming”, adding: “I think eventually I lost a sense of control… between Hunger Games and winning the Oscar I think that I became such a commodity that I felt like every decision was a big, big group decision because I had no idea what a huge move star does next.
“I reflect now and I think of those following years, a loss of control and a reaction to trying to get that back.
“I’m so happy that stopped… I made some big changes and finally got the voice in my head back and now it feels personal to me again for the first time in a long time.”
Lawrence likened the shock of winning an Academy Award to her experience in Causeway.
She said: “I am experiencing a similar shock with Causeway… three-and-a-half years of one challenge after the other. It was so personal that it feels impossible that people will understand and get it or care or connect to it.
“It almost feels like diary pages.”
Lawrence said so much of her acting education came during the filming of Silver Linings Playbook with director David O Russell.
“I was so young, I was so perfect to be moulded in this way. I didn’t ever really know what I was doing and I think that served me.
“I didn’t really understand what I was doing at any point of time and when I finished I was convinced that was the worst performance of my life.
“I think now in retrospect it was because I had tried to intellectualise it and meet David, but it wouldn’t have gone anyway.
“Instead, I was this open ball of clay that I didn’t really need to understand why my character was doing this in these scenes.”
In 2012, Lawrence starred as 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen in the first of The Hunger Games film series.
She said: “I read them (the books) and obviously loved them, auditioned, got the part and then took a minute to think about it.
“The Twilight movies had already been released so I could see there was this new fandom that was really intense, it was like fame on an entirely different level.
“That just wasn’t how I pictured my life. I was fortunate to have the Twilight movies to base it off of and to prepare, and I knew I would regret it forever if I didn’t do it.
“I do recall when I was doing the “I volunteer’ scene, I remember that being a moment thinking there’s no escaping, thinking ‘will I drive a car, will I always be driven>’ And then I realised I’m a homebody and all I ever do is seek excuses to not do something and to just stay at home and this is the best excuse ever – I’m just too famous,” she joked.
Lawrence’s breakthrough performance came in 2010 with independent film Winter’s Bone.
Speaking about her role as Ree Dolly, she said: “There is a lot that I identify with now that I’m older looking back at the movies that I connected too.
“I think leaving home at such a young age I felt forced to grow up quickly and was my own parent for a while… and just kind of grappling with that.”
In 2011, she landed the role of Mystique in the Marvel franchise X-Men: First Class.
“I just never thought I would be offered a superhero movie, I thought that was huge opportunity, I love superhero movies and loved the X-Men movies so that was a thrill,” she said.
“I think it is totally understand I love them too, I think this generation understandably likes a world to escape to and I relate to that.”
Causeway will be released on Apple TV+ on November 4.