The world fell in love with Jennifer Lawrence several years ago not only because of her immense talent in front of the camera, but also for her realness. She says it like it is, sans filter. And that's so refreshing to see in Hollywood today.
For her lead role in Red Sparrow, we see Jennifer take on a kind of character we've never seen her play before. She's an ex-ballerina-turned-spy, and she's positively badass. But shooting this movie meant she had to get in shape and present herself as a woman who previously did ballet for years. That meant she had to do a lot of ballet, and the work she did to get there shouldn't be overlooked.
"I've always wondered what it would take to get me to really diet, to be really hungry, because I've never done it for a movie," she told Vanity Fair. "For Hunger Games, they told me to lose weight, and then I discovered Jack in the Box."
This was the first time ever that Jennifer dieted, and she admits it was an immense challenge. "Red Sparrow was the first time that I was really hungry, and disciplined," she shared. "I can't be in character as an ex-ballerina and not feel like an ex-ballerina."
In addition to eating a lower-calorie diet, Jennifer trained for four months, five days a week, with Kurt Froman, a ballet expert who also worked with Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis on Black Swan. Their training was rigorous, time-consuming, and definitely out of Jennifer's comfort zone.
She also worked with Kit Rich, Pilates extraordinaire who knows a thing or two about creating a lean, long body. Jennifer and Kit would work together for 90 minutes every day after her four-hour time slot with Kurt came to an end. Phew!
"She really trained a tremendous amount," Francis Lawrence, director of Red Sparrow, told Vanity Fair. She worked with a ballet coach and did a lot of exercise."
Because Francis knew that Jennifer wasn't a fan of dieting, he arranged all the ballet scenes of the film to be shot in the beginning, so she could get them out of the way and go back to her normal way of life for the rest of the movie. It couldn't have been any other way.
"I can't work on a diet. I'm hungry. I'm standing on my feet. I need more energy," Jennifer said. "I remember having a meltdown, freaking out that I had eaten five banana chips." We can't help but giggle at her candour.
After the hard part was over, Jennifer found a way to treat herself. "I discovered this Viennese kielbasa sausage in an uncircumcised French-bread roll, with pickle relish," she admitted. "I had that almost every day in Budapest — which you can see, because I continue to grow in the movie. Dieting is just not in the cards for me."
Red Sparrow is out in theatres now if you want to see Jennifer in action.