Jennifer Lawrence Isn't Afraid To Fail & That's Why She'll Keep Succeeding
Jennifer Lawrence is entering a new phase in her career. The 25-year-old actress is saying bye, bye to those franchises — The Hunger Games, X-Men — which made her the highest paid actress in the world, and hello to smaller, indie films that will give her a chance to show that Oscar-winning range of hers. She's ready to take on the unexpected, and even prepared to fail while doing it. In her recent Vogue cover story, Lawrence opens up about the direction her career will take after this year, which will see her starring in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 and her third David O. Russell film Joy, saying, “It’s scary because it will go away. I will have a flop.”
Flop could mean different things to different people. To a studio, it could be that the box office numbers aren't what one would expect for a Jennifer Lawrence movie, which, outside of her franchise,s are still in the $100 million range. For a director, it could be that it doesn't lead to Oscar nominations. For Lawrence though, the criteria seems more personal: that a film she chooses on her own accord won't live up to what she hoped for in her mind. She mentions that, for the first time in a long time, she said yes to a movie — the sci-fi love story Passengers starring another franchise winner Chris Pratt — that she wasn't by contract forced to do. But with that yes came a lot of extra weight. "Now it’s a lot harder," she said about choosing films. "I’ve got to fill up my year with things that are all 100 percent my decisions.”
Her decisions seem to highlight what kind of career she'd like to have as she gets closer to 30, a landmark for anyone, but even more so when you're an actress in Hollywood. Besides her ferocious turn as a female entrepreneur in Joy, and that upcoming sci-fi romance, she's signed on to play a war photographer in Steven Spielberg's It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War — based on Lynsey Addario’s memoir of the same name — and to star in an untitled Darren Aronofsky film, that, as she told Vogue, he pitched over a bottle of wine. She said yes right on the spot. These choices may not seem like difficult ones for an actress, being that both of these directors have history with the Oscars — specifically Aronofsky directing his Black Swan star Natalie Portman to her first Oscar. But they are her decisions. “It doesn’t feel like I’m being towed behind something anymore,” she told Vogue. “It feels like I’m towing it.”
With that newfound control Lawrence has comes a lot of pressure, which she may be touching on with her "flop" comment. There is a reason why so many actors and actresses become typecast: if something works, why would you stop doing it? Lawrence has opened herself up for judgment or ridicule by taking on roles that push her, including the "funny, dirty, real" comedy (her first) about two sisters that she's writing with Amy Schumer. In it, Lawrence says, she'll play the "mess," which hopefully means we get to see Lawrence at her craziest. But, with all of the roles she's signed up for, she's opened herself up to criticism of every decision she makes. Especially if any of these films aren't well-received at the box office or by critics. Currently, four of her films are rated over 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but it's easy for people to forget your highs if you're experiencing a low.
There will be failures, and that's normal of anyone. But it shouldn't keep Lawrence from taking chances. "She’s got a big soul and a big life ahead of her, and she can do really whatever she wants," David O. Russell told Vogue. And he's right. She does have Hollywood in the palm of her hand, but this doesn't mean she isn't allowed to fail. Especially if it's while trying something new. Like theater, for instance, which Lawrence says scares her. But wouldn't you pay to see her do something live? Of course you would. She says she wants to try her hand at directing, and why shouldn't she? Fear of failure shouldn't hold anyone back, because failure doesn't mean the end. It definitely won't be the end of Lawrence.