Entertainment Jennifer Lawrence saves planet in sci-fi comedy

Jennifer Lawrence saves planet in sci-fi comedy

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Once labelled Hollywood’s “cool girl”, Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence is back on the silver screen after a two-year hiatus with all-star end-of days comedy thriller Don’t Look Up.

After weathering the storm of a few box office bombs, then marriage and now pregnancy, the 31-year-old sat down for a 10-minute video review with Vanity Fair on November 16 to chat about Netflix’s next big flick just in time for Christmas.

Starring alongside a who’s who of the best in the business, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett and the comedic genius of Jonah Hill, Lawrence unpacks her latest role playing a low-level astronomer who goes on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy the planet.

No spoiler alert, but this is not a Bruce Willis Armageddon sequel.

This movie is “based on real events … that haven’t happened”.

But, this time around, no-one cares. Everyone’s got a “yeah, whatever” attitude.

The White House won’t listen, so they go on a talk show. Photo: Netflix 

In one scene, Lawrence, who plays Michigan State University astronomy grad student Kate Dibiasky, and her professor Dr Randall Mindy (DiCaprio), go on upbeat morning show The Daily Rip hosted by Brie (Blanchett) and Jack (Tyler Perry) to warn the world.

Jack asks: “So how big is this thing, like can it destroy my ex-wife’s house? Is that possible?” he bellows, and laughs.

Lawrence, who cleverly transforms into an earnest student with an unevenly-fringed auburn mullet-like wig and two nose rings, screams hysterically in reply in that husky voice of hers: “There is a 100 per cent chance that we’re all going to die”.

Going from Hunger Games survivor to Tupperware queen in Joy, Lawrence tells VF she did speak to a female astronomer as part of her research for the film.

“We kinda decided that Kate is the type to be fierce and ‘notice me, hear me roar, rat-tat-tat’ kind of lady. And the nose rings … one just kind of hangs in … one is a magnet.

“And many, many times I accidentally inhaled said magnet and had to spit it out in front of Leonardo DiCaprio.”

“We tried different hair shapes, different wigs, and this one—as hideous as it may be to some people—I was just like, ‘Oh, there she is’.”

There was a lot of fun on this film set. Photo: Netflix

Lawrence talks through a hilarious set of movie sequences, highlighting – tongue-in-cheek, of course – what it was like to work with three-time Oscar-winner Streep.

“Yeah, I mean, Meryl Streep was our last choice,” Lawrence quips. “Unfortunately, so many other actresses passed, and we ended up with Meryl Streep.”

In a car scene with DiCaprio and Timothée Chalamet (Dune) – and an Electric Light Orchestra masterpiece Don’t Bring Me Down playing on the radio – Lawrence says the cast were just having a blast, being towed along an empty freeway by a truck at the peak of COVID.

“Leo picked the song that’s playing … and this is him [in the car] explaining whatever the song is about … I don’t remember what it was,” she laughs.

With only six months until the comet makes impact, Netflix’s official film synopsis reads: “Managing the 24-hour news cycle and gaining the attention of the social media obsessed public before it’s too late proves shockingly comical — what will it take to get the world to just look up?!”

Lawrence admits it was “cool” when she realised it was the first time she’d been arrested in a film scene, and got distracted with Hill’s improvisation techniques – think key lines in Wolf of Wall Street with DiCaprio.

Hill, who plays the son of Streep’s commander-in-chief and her chief-of- staff, is “a comedic master”.

“It was really, really hard filming with Jonah and just not ruining take after take laughing,” she says. “One time we dedicated an entire day to him just improving insults at me. It was amazing. He’s a comedic master.”

On a serious note, yes there are a couple, but they’re behind the scenes.

Lawrence got injured: “It wasn’t that specific. We threw something out the window, and the window exploded on my eye. But I’m fine.”

Liam Hemsworth Jennifer Lawrence Mockingjay
Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence take the city in 2014’s Mockingjay: Part 1.

Lawrence, who married Cooke Maroney in 2019 and announced they were expecting their first child back in September, got her first big break in Winter’s Bone (2010) before playing mutant Mystique in the X-Men film series and then stardom with Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games film series.

While she won awards for Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle (for which she did little research), Lawrence “all but vanished from the public eye” after being “catapulted into stardom at an insanely quick pace as well as a staggeringly young age”.

Lawrence stumbles on stage during the Oscars in 2013. Photo: AAP

New York pop culture website Looper says several average films – Joy, X-Men Apocalypse, mother! and Passengers – off the back of backlash over an alleged “faked” tripping incident up the stairs to receive the Oscar for Playbook, left her career seemingly on the decline.

Not to mention Red Sparrow being seen as a critical failure.

“Sadly for Lawrence, her most recent film projects definitely didn’t go as planned … and left her with a string of flops in its wake,” wrote Looper.

Adding that “when you’re as famous as Jennifer Lawrence, it’s probably healthy to take a break every now and then – and thanks to this performer’s sheer talent, it’s safe to assume she’ll return to the big screen whenever she wants.”

DiCaprio and Lawrence use social media to spread the word. Photo: Netflix

And here she is. Back doing what she does best.

“I think it’s a really fun, hilarious way to laugh at ourselves. I guess the biggest thing I would want people to take away from it is for us to stop handling information the way that we do now.

“Where there’s like the truth and science, and then politics … personal feelings involved … we should all just be on the same page of taking care of our planet, and taking care of mankind … ”

Channelling Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, Lawrence says “world peace would be my hope”.

Don’t Look Up is in cinemas from December 9 and on Netflix from December 24.