Jennifer Lawrence pushed aside her fears to do nude scenes in Red Sparrow
US actress Jennifer Lawrence on pushing herself to perform nude scenes in new film Red Sparrow
"I feel like I lease out my body willingly and consensually for my art. And I am happy to do it. There are many things that you have to sacrifice when you are shooting a movie."
That was Jennifer Lawrence, talking about her decision to do nudity in her new film Red Sparrow, even though she found the prospect daunting.
"There was a lot of stuff that made me nervous before I said yes to this movie," she said at our interview at the London Hotel in West Hollywood.
"I knew, going in, that I was either going to go all the way and do these scenes, or somebody else was going to do the movie.
"There was no version of doing a softer way of telling this story. So I was scared going in."
That included doing the nude scenes in front of her Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence.
"Doing the scenes, and seeing Francis, who I feel like I have known since I was five, I thought that that was going to make it worse. Walking away from it, I actually felt and feel empowered by it."
The 27-year-old Oscar winner explained why she agreed to push herself in this way.
"I think it's important as an actor. I can't play a character that is being asked to go further than I myself am not willing to go.
"For us to tell the story in a correct and dangerous way, and push the envelope to make it as true to form, was more important to us than my fears that I have had for a lot of years."
In the thriller opening here tomorrow, she plays Dominika Egorova, a prima ballerina whose career-ending injury creates a set of circumstances that forces her into the sadistic Sparrow School, which is a real programme of the Russian secret service.
Dominika is assigned to find a mole within the operation, and seeks out a CIA operative (Joel Edgerton) to do so, but matters get complicated when she falls for him.
The audience is in store for a surprise ending and graphic brutality, a lot of it endured by Lawrence.
Lawrence worked with a speech coach to master the Russian accent.
"We found certain women who would have a dialect that we felt was right, because every country and every city has different dialects for a different region.
"So we would find these women and we would interview them and I would listen to the lyrical pattern of the way that they spoke.
"And then you just cross your fingers and you hope for the best."
TRAINED IN BALLET
The physical prep was another challenge.
"For about four months, for three hours a day, I trained in ballet because I wasn't going to just turn into a prima ballerina. It was more just about me learning to use my body differently and also get into the mind of the discipline that these dancers have to go through.
"And then during filming for over 12 hours a day, I didn't have much time for training. So we had to get all of that training in before, and then as soon as we wrapped all of the ballet stuff, I threw myself a party," she said, laughing.
With fame, her life has changed in terms of who she can trust. "Even just for my really close friends who aren't famous, it's changed for them too because their secrets that I will keep, nobody knows who they are or cares.
"But the difference with my secrets is that a lot of people care. And I am really lucky to have friends who are famous and we can talk about it.
"Your world, all of a sudden - and it's something that I have struggled with - gets a lot smaller, the amount of people that you really can trust."
As a lot of her character's choices in the movie are based on her relationship with her mother, played by Joely Richardson, we talked about Lawrence's own mother.
"I live on my own and I have lived away from home since I was 14.
"But I am 27 years old and still need my mum. She is a huge support system for me and I wouldn't be here if it weren't for her.
"She has sacrificed so much so that I could have this career. And I still want her opinion on pretty much everything, except boys."
After breaking up with her Mother! director Darren Arononfsky recently, Lawrence is single and likes it that way.
"There's actually way more advantages to being single, I am realising. I am in the single mode where I am like, cool, I can do whatever I want and I can be alone and watch terrible TV and whatever I want.
"And then of course in a few months I will be devastatingly lonely and feel like I am on some long waiting list, because that is what comes with single life. But I am not there yet."
Asked for her reaction to being nominated for a Razzie for Mother!, she said: "I really don't care. That was the most I had ever given to a role and I think that that was my greatest performance in my opinion, and that is really the only opinion that I really care about.
"Jack Nicholson was nominated for a Razzie for The Shining, so I'm good."
What keeps her up at night?
"Interviews. Sit down, one-on-one magazine interviews, because I am just hanging out with somebody and then it gets printed.
"My Vanity Fair cover comes out soon, and I will go to sleep with a pit in my stomach every single night until it comes out. Like, come out! If it's going to be terrible, just let it be terrible.
"But it's scary. Being misunderstood, I think, is probably my biggest fear, like accidentally offending somebody, just accidentally being a jerk."