Jennifer Lawrence on ‘No Hard Feelings,’ the R-rated comedy made with the Oscar winner in mind

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jennifer Lawrence has wanted to do great comedy for years. She has always been funny and dynamic in her television appearances. And while she’s brought humor and physical comedy to many of her roles for David O. Russell and others, she also doesn’t exactly have the big, wide “Dumb and Dumber” background or “Anchorman”, to name some of his favorites. (or at least the ones she has memorized).

That Changes Friday With ‘No Hard Feelings’, A Steamy Classic R-rated comedy tailor-made for the Oscar-winning actor.

“I’ve always wanted to do a comedy. And I’ve read a lot of it,” Lawrence told The Associated Press during an interview about the highly anticipated summer movie season.. “I just haven’t read anything funny enough.”

“No strong emotions” was inspired by a real Craigslist ad posted by parents who were looking for a woman to “date” their son to bring him out of his shell the summer before he goes to college. There are debates about the reality of “real publicity,” but thinking about the woman who might respond to such publicity was a premise amusing enough to catch the attention of several producers and writer-director Gene Stupnitsky.

Stupnitsky, an Emmy-nominated “The Office” alum who also directed and co-wrote 2019’s hit “Good Boys,” knew who to bring it to. He talked to Lawrence about the idea of ​​a night out at a dinner party with friends at which, he estimated, they had about “eight or nine martinis between us”.

The two met over a decade ago, through a mutual friend, at Medieval Times of all places. Lawrence, he remembered, was dressed in full wizarding garb. And they quickly became real friends. He even introduced Lawrence to her husband.

“I owed him one,” Lawrence said. “That’s why I made this movie.”

Stupnitsky, seated next to Lawrence, added: “There’s probably some truth to that.”

With Lawrence attached to star and produce, the film became a blockbuster, with streaming services and studios vying for the rights to make it. In the end, they went with Sony and a traditional theatrical release.

“The reason I wrote this movie for her is because I knew how funny she was and I wanted everyone to know that. I mean, people know she’s funny but they wanted her in a comedy. I thought, yeah I know how to do that. I know how to write her voice,” Stupnitsky said. “I remember I was like, ‘I really want you to have the like sitting in a theater with hundreds of people laughing.’ She had many, many experiences in film, but she didn’t quite have this one.

In “No Hard Feelings”, Lawrence’s character Maddie struggles with money. As an Uber driver without a car, she’s in a bind. So when she comes across this ad with the promise of a Buick Regal as payment, she bites the bait. In a clip that Sony debuted for theater owners at CinemaCon last week, Maddie first meets 19-year-old Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman), wearing a hot pink mini dress and high heels and acting openly flirty and available.

“She is dressed as what she thinks is the idea of ​​a 19 year old sexual fantasy. And she’s wrong,” Stupnitsky said. “He’s like the only child she can’t seduce.”

The situation escalates from there as she tries to take him home. He thinks he’s being kidnapped, and as anyone who’s watched the red tape trailer knows, it ends in a pepper spray. But there is also a soft core to the film.

“He yearns for a connection, which she also needs but doesn’t know it yet,” Stupnitsky said. “She wants to take the car and get on with her life. But he forces her to slow things down and get to know him and be intimate, in a way, with him in a platonic way.

The experience, Lawrence said, was a blast, helped by her connection with her young co-star.

“We just laughed all day,” she said. “Sometimes I would get into bed after work and giggle right before I fell asleep, just thinking about the day. I was also sad that I did it because I was like, ‘God, I’m just not going to have one anymore. It’s so unique.’”

As producer of the film, Lawrence has already been able to watch it with an audience and experience that great community laugh promised by Stupnitsky.

“I went for a drug test and sat in the back,” she said. “It was quite extraordinary.”

Every movie, she knows, is a gamble, but she’s pretty confident about “No Hard Feelings.”

“You really never know. You might think the audience wants this and they don’t. And I’ve definitely had my experiences with that,” she said. ‘instinct and examining the information you have. I knew what we had was the funniest movie anyone had ever seen – I have no doubt about it – and I knew Gene was the one who could do it.

It’s also Lawrence’s first major theatrical release in a few years since the 2019 X-Men movie “Dark Phoenix.” His recent movies have mostly been streaming releases with Netflix’s “Don’t Look Up” and the “pavement” of Apple, which she also produced.

“I think audiences are really going to remember why they love her,” Stupnitsky said.

Lawrence laughed, “I look much better 12 feet tall.”

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