Jennifer Lawrence on the horror of filming Mother!: 'I tore my diaphragm'
Acting in Mother! was difficult for Lawrence and led her to the 'darkest place'
She threw the script across her hotel room in New York and thought the man who penned it was "crazy".
That was Jennifer Lawrence's initial reaction to US film-maker Darren Aronofsky, who wrote, directed and produced their latest film Mother!, which opens here tomorrow.
Still, the Oscar-winning actress ended up accepting the role, one that caused her to tear her diaphragm and led her to the "darkest place" she will ever go in her career.
Her pregnant character undergoes major trauma in the head-trippy psychological horror movie.
On how difficult it was to play the part, Lawrence said: "On the day of the scene, you tell your body and your adrenaline to summon all of it, and then you are like, 'Oh no, it is just fake, it is not real.' But your body doesn't know that, so it wakes up like, 'We have to run!'
"So I summoned all of that adrenaline and sadness, and then could not really come back.
"I think one time I kind of blacked out and needed oxygen, and another time I could not stop crying. And then I just had a pain in my chest and it turned out that I popped something and tore my diaphragm."
She added: "I have never gone that dark or that far before... I will never forget what that felt like. I do not want to do that again."
We are at the Fairmont Royal York hotel in Toronto, where Mother! is screening at the Toronto International Film Festival after its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, where it was greeted with both boos and cheers.
In it, she plays the titular Mother, the young expectant wife of Javier Bardem's character, Him, a poet with writer's block.
The couple are in a house in the middle of nowhere that she is restoring in the hopes that it will restore their distant relationship.
Along come creepy uninvited guests Man (Ed Harris) and Woman (Michelle Pfeiffer), who make themselves comfortable at Him's invitation, to Mother's dismay.
Then the nightmares and hallucinations begin, tied to biblical and allegorical references.
The house starts bleeding and palpitating, and she is put through the wringer as the movie brings up the question of whether art is worth more than life.
Lawrence confirmed that she is completely aware of the polarising nature of Mother!.
"All of Darren's films have been booed at festivals," she said with a laugh.
"We didn't make this film to be a darling. It is loud, it is aggressive and it is an assault.
"I love it and I am proud of it, but it is not for everyone. So no, I do not take it personally at all. I actually kind of find it exciting."
Lawrence, 27, and Aronofsky, 48, began dating last year after Mother! wrapped.
She told the September issue of Vogue magazine that they "had energy", adding: "I have been in relationships before where I am just confused. And I am never confused with him."
How do you think audiences will receive this film?
I think it is important to understand the allegory that we intended, because otherwise you do not really know what you are looking at.
Audiences should know that I represent Mother Earth and Javier represents a form of God - a creator, a writer, an artist. Michelle would be Eve to Ed's Adam.
Once you start knowing that stuff, you can watch these universal and biblical themes all condensed into one household, the creation of religion told in one house.
But if you do not understand the allegory, then it is a really powerful and loud movie, a beautiful movie.
Everybody has a different opinion. Some people figure it out on their own. I wouldn't have (laughs).
How did you come up with the character?
She is completely different from anything I have ever done before and totally outside of my comfort zone.
When I got the script, I tried to say some of the words out loud and nothing sounded right in my voice.
I wrestled with feeling like I had been miscast, and somebody more vulnerable and with a softer voice, less burly than me, should do it.
But then the rehearsal process was important. Michelle, Ed and Javier talked about our relationship and also the house and the choreography with the cameras.
I did not really find the character until we were in Montreal and I tried on the clothes, and for some reason, the clothes really got me there and then she just kind of arrived.
What is it like working with Aronofsky, who helmed award-winning films such as Requiem For A Dream, The Wrestler and Black Swan?
I think he is brilliant, creative and artistic, and he has a way of making you completely trust him on set, because he is just genius.
He is good at explaining why, what and how. So you feel safer going to different places.
You have said before that you did not have a house, you slept on the couch, you did not cook and just watched reality TV. Has anything changed?
I have a breadmaker now (laughs).
I have a house in New York. I do not have a house yet in Los Angeles because it got destroyed on my birthday, while I was away filming.
(There was) a flood, a water heater cracked, and it was like a volcano, I was told. But it is almost ready.
I love having a house, but I am still not cooking that much, and I am still watching a lot of reality TV.
So, baby steps (laughs).
What are you scared of?
I am dealing with a fear of flying. I had a bad flight experience and I am trying to get past that.
I am scared of public scandals, and I am scared any time I leave town without my dog.
Would you like to be a mother?
I love children but probably like any person who does not have them, where I love them until I don't (laughs). Yeah, I would like to have children one day, but I do not really know the layout of my future. But I definitely have maternal stirrings.
I see myself being a mother one day, but everything might change.