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Mother! Jennifer Lawrence

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There is just something about Mother! that is intriguing audiences before it is even released in cinemas. The fact that it is from Oscar-nominated director Darren Aronofsky has cinema-goers excited. After all, this is the man that has brought sensational films such as The Wrestler and Black Swan. Then there is the fact that the trailer has us wondering whether it is a thriller or drama.

Perhaps the biggest reason that people want to see this film though is the air of suspense that is around the film. Limited critic’s screenings means that very little is known about the film, while the fact that it stars actors such as Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, Silver Linings Playbook), Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men, Skyfall), Ed Harris (A Beautiful Mind, The Abyss) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Scarface, Batman Returns) is another big tick for most cinema lovers.

It’s obvious hearing Jennifer Lawrence talk about the film that there was an air of suspense there for her as well when she first started on the film. “The first time I heard that Darren Aronofsky had something, I had been a fan for a long time, so I was immediately interested, and I wanted to meet with him,” she says. “And then it was the first time where I’ve just had a conversation with a director, and he just had ideas that were so interesting and unique, and he didn’t have a script it was just these brilliant, explosive ideas, so I immediately wanted to be a part of it.”

She also admits that this is one of the most interesting characters that she has played during her career so far. “My character is very maternal, she is very giving emotionally, and she is kind of in awe of this artist that she is married to and that she loves, and she does want to nurture,” she explains. “She wants to nurture their home, she wants to nurture his art, she wants to nurture him, and there is a small element of insecurity in her that makes them the perfect match. When you first meet my character you realise just how much love and passion she is putting into this home, and she had re-built Javier’s house that burned down before she knew him, as much as she can because she loves him and she wants to make this perfect environment for them, and she puts her entire heart into it because this is a real passion project for her.”

The use of the term ‘nurturing the house’ almost makes it sound like her character has a relationship with the house, and Lawrence says that is very much the case. “I started building my relationship with the house in a warehouse where there was just chalk drawings of the outline of the house because that’s where we are doing our rehearsals. When I was starting to find who Grace was, so my imagination was already starting to see how she would walk down the stairs, hold the banister and feel the home and how she would feel the intensity her close emotions that are tied to the house. So then when we got to Montreal, and we were on that set, that all happened so effortlessly. I was always barefoot, so I could feel the house and being able to work with the house after only being able to use my imagination in the warehouse was incredibly helpful.”

So is the film centring around relationships? “There is something to be said about the type of relationship that Darren wrote about – there’s an unevenness about it. I think that she is happy, that she is in love and that she is attracted to this man, but she is always a little bit scared of something changing, she is always a little bit scared of seeing something shift behind his eyes, or that there is a hidden meaning behind something or that perhaps he doesn’t love her the same way he did yesterday. That was interesting for me to play because that is something that I haven’t had to play before and I think it is something that we have all felt in a relationship at some point or another. And it’s deep, it’s not obvious, it’s not loud, and so I think certain circumstances start happening throughout the movies that make her realise that this relationship is really off balance and that something is wrong. And I think that with that she gets a little bit of her power back.”

Lawrence goes on to say that the films’ change again when the ‘other’ characters come into play. “When Ed Harris knocks on our door, that is the first time there is another character that isn’t Javier or me, and he is a complete stranger. That is exciting for Javier’s character and invigorating for Grace because she has her little nest, she’s comfortable, and it is confusing for her when they hit off. That’s also intimidating for her because if you aren’t secure in a relationship, which we all know, any time that your partner seems to be having a good time with someone else, or being stimulated by someone else, is threatening and that only continues to grow throughout the movie. Then when Michelle Pfeiffer comes in, which, as an audience member, Michelle Pfeiffer’s character just blows in and is just a whole new energy. And I loved it when I watched it, it felt like Michelle Pfeiffer came in and it was like watching a football game for my character. Her character is incredibly intimidating because she is this woman who is everything that my character isn’t. She is very forward with her energy, and my character is just a little more reserved and a little bit more cautious of these people, whereas these people are houseguests and my character is still a little taken back by how quickly my husband has taken to this man who, for me, is still a complete stranger. My scenes with Michelle are just phenomenal. She is just so effortless with it. She just easily goes through and into this place, and it felt like she was making me better – she was so easy to build off of.”

The one thing that Lawrence is certain of is that Mother! is a film that is going to captivate its audience and have them talking about it afterwards. “There are a million different facets to this movie that certain people are going to relate to, that they will be scared of, be intrigued by,” she says in a way that you know means she is proud of the film. “You know, loving is scary, falling in love is scary, being vulnerable is terrifying, but also not allowing yourself to be vulnerable is terrifying. One of the best things you can be part of as a part is to be part of a movie that is going to start a conversation because it is an original idea and unique. I’ve never seen certain stories and certain ideas woven together in this way. I’m still thinking about it and Darren and I are still having conversations about it, and I think that is a gift as a filmmaker to give to an audience. It is a gift that Darren has created. He is just brilliant; I don’t know any other way to word it, he is just brilliant. He has a natural talent, but he also went to film school, so he has this really weird way of combining a very instinctual vision and describing it in a lense size which is very impressive. He’s also a great communicator, who, for an actor, is a huge relief.”

Mother! Is released in Australian cinemas on the 14th September.

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