Since then, she’s generally avoided taking roles that require sex or nude scenes. As she told W magazine, “I’ve always been like, ‘Absolutely no way’ — especially after what happened — ‘no way am I ever going to do anything sexual.’”
But then she read the script for “Red Sparrow,” a movie that hits theaters Friday. It features Lawrence as a Russian ballerina attending a sort of spy school, where she trains to become an intelligence agent who often uses her sexuality to achieve her goals.
The role required a good bit of nudity, something Lawrence had to come to terms with, as she discussed with Bill Whitaker on “60 Minutes” on Sunday.
Lawrence’s discomfort around scenes featuring sex and nudity is well documented. Before filming her first real sex scene with Chris Pratt in the 2016 film “Passengers,” Lawrence got “really, really drunk” to calm her nerves, she has said. She was uncomfortable because Pratt was married in real life. It wasn’t a great decision.
The drinking “led to more anxiety when I got home because I was like, ‘What have I done? I don’t know,’” she said at a roundtable discussion hosted by the Hollywood Reporter in 2015. “I knew it was my job, but I couldn’t tell my stomach that.”
Being drunk for the entirety of “Red Sparrow” wasn’t an option. So she focused on what bothered her about appearing naked on screen: the fact that the choice to be seen nude had previously been taken from her when her private photos leaked.
“I read this script that I’m dying to do, and the one thing that’s getting in my way is nudity,” Lawrence told Whitaker. “And I realized there’s a difference between consent and not.”
That isn’t to say it was easy.
“The night before, I didn’t sleep at all and I was obviously really nervous because it is the actual nightmare of standing in front of a classroom naked,” she told Today Australia.
It didn’t help that in one scene, freezing water is poured on her bare skin.
“I was terrified. I don’t think I have ever been so scared of doing a movie before in my life. It was a lot of firsts for me,” she said. “Cool, so I’m really naked getting freezing cold water poured on me.”
Regardless of her fear, as she told Whitaker, “I showed up for the first day, and I did it.”
She said that she “felt empowered” by filming the nude scenes, as if she’d regained part of herself.
“I feel like something that was taken from me I got back and am using in my art,” Lawrence said. “But I did feel like I took the power out of having my body taken from me. I felt like I took it back, and I could almost own it again.”
“Nudity by choice is a completely different thing from being violated,” she told Total Film. “This was my choice, and it was for my craft. It’s important to remember that there is a difference.”
And last week, the actress had to defend her choice to wear a Versace dress with a plunging neckline and thigh-high slit for a photo shoot in chilly London. She eventually decided she just didn’t care.
“It’s my body, and it’s my art, and it’s my choice,” Lawrence told Whitaker, adding, “And if you don’t like boobs, you should not go see ‘Red Sparrow.’”
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