Much to my surprise as a living organism, not everyone on the planet has always been in Jennifer Lawrence's camp. Namely, Harvey Weinstein. Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell revealed on Friday that Weinstein had originally been "very skeptical" of the actress, but that her Skype audition won the producer over. In an interview at Loyola Marymount University, Russell describes the audition to the audience. When she cried in the audition, he says, "she made me cry." It was what happened in the following moments, however, that sealed the deal for him. Jennifer Lawrence was cast in Silver Linings Playbook for killing a spider.
Lawrence went to the bathroom to wipe the mascara off her face, and came back having killed a spider. Russell says, "She imitated how the spider went when she tried to attack [it]. That fascinated me as much as anything else. She was unlike anybody I’d ever seen." As the interviewer presses him for an explanation of this distinction, Russell says, "She's just very special, I don't want to overstate it," and follows up with, "She is a very real, down-to-earth person who has a sense of humor about herself, does not think she's important, take the piss out of herself at any moment, and has a very deep and instinctive way of doing things that she can't explain and doesn't need to explain." Up until the "deep and instinctive way of doing things" part of his explanation, I was struck by how much Jennifer Lawrence has in common with, well, any number of people.
Clearly, Lawrence is a talented actor. Russell states,"Everything she does is extremely alive, and from her soul. Her soul merges with the soul of the character and becomes a third thing that does unexpected things." In the way she sees and interacts with things, Lawrence breaks the mold. He continues,"These are my favorite people… They are fearless and they have no preconceived conformist notions about anything."
Before we all go traipsing off into the world of Jennifer Lawrence gifs, we need to pull something applicable out of this interview. Sure, it makes me happy to know that someone like Lawrence is in the world, saying irreverent things and making jokes about her mistakes, but that's not enough. Men and women need to be able to dissect what she does, not to kill it, but to emulate it. The key here is that we're not creating a fan base of people who are trying to look and act like Lawrence, because there's already a Bieber 2.0. Instead, here is a short Lawrence-inspired guide to facing the world with less insecurity and more honesty.
1. Kill your own spiders
If you're going to do it, do it and own up to it. If you're going to save the spider, I would recommend using an inverted cup and a piece of paper. The point is that, when faced with a fear, deal with it so that you can move on to the important Skype auditions of life. For me, that fear is filing for my own taxes for the first time. I don't even know if that syntax is correct, but something will be filed and it will be taxes.
2. Take an improv class
Some people are not naturally funny, and that's fine. What I love about improv, though, is that it allows me to be anything and anyone on a daily basis. As Tina Fey writes in Bossypants, "Maybe we women gravitate toward comedy because it is a socially acceptable way to break rules and release from our daily life" (Fey, 138). Yes. I called Lawrence's depiction of her spider-battle "improv," because every moment you experience can impact you and the way you see people around you, and you can play with that on a daily basis. It's terrifying. It's why there are vomit bags provided for your first improv class. Just kidding. They let you use the bathroom, though.
3. Read this poem by e. e. cummings
I know, another one? You can't expect me to write about celebrities and not bring up e. e. cummings. Read this one as a way to see the world. I immediately thought of it when Russell was describing Lawrence.
the little horse is newlY Born) he knows nothing,and feels everything; all around whom is perfectly a strangeness (Of sun light and of fragrance and of Singing) is everywhere (a welcoming dream:is amazing) a worlD.and in this world lies:smoothbeautifuLly folded; a(breathing a groWing)silence,who; is:somE oNe.
4. Read more
Another one of Russell's Lawrence anecdotes (Jennecdotes?) has to do with her reading Anna Karenina on set. He "Snape kills Dumbledore"s her by giving away a plot twist, and she begins to sob. Russell describes her as,"This twenty-year-old person who is living every ounce of Anna Karenina." Clearly, not everyone is hydrated or emotionally tuned enough to cry when a book gets good, and that's not the point. The point is that, when there is a moment that touches you, whether in life or in print, you need to be able to be with yourself and breathe with yourself in that moment.
And that, my friends, is the secret to Jennifer Lawrence. I have already chopped my hair off to match hers (and although I technically did it first, I concede that she incepted me with the idea). I will also be booking my plastic surgery next week, if you want to see how it works out before joining me in our ultimate fandom. I know, some people are afraid of the knife, but still. It's Jennifer Lawrence.