Is Jennifer Lawrence's 'Serena' A True Story?

by Anna Klassen

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper made magic together with David O'Russell's Silver Linings Playbook in 2012, and the duo seeks to find success again with 2015's Serena, directed by Susanne Bier. Set in Depression-era North Carolina, the story surrounds the future of George Pemberton's timber empire (Bradley Cooper) and new challenges that arise when he marries Serena (Jennifer Lawrence). With any period piece, fans will wonder: Is Serena based on a true story?

The short answer: No. While elements of the film may be historically accurate, the story itself is not based off real life happenings. It is however, based off a 2008 novel of the same name by Ron Rash. The New York Times best seller describes Serena as "greedy, manipulative, and cunning." The character is also seen as "being the equal of a man" (we'll try not to take offense at that truly offensive statement), and utilizes surivial skills like hunting rattlesnakes. The role is akin to Lawrence's Winter's Bone performance (remember those squirrels?) but we have a feeling she'll be wearing more furs than eating them in this luxurious role.

The extended synopsis of the book reveals both leads to be seemingly unlikable, arrogant characters. Though we don't know for certain if the film adaptation will follow the book precisely, here's what we can expect to see, in rough terms. According to the book's synopsis, the story begins with George and Serena as newlyweds traveling from Boston to North Carolina in the hopes of creating a timber empire. George has an illegitimate child from a past relationship with Rachel Harmon, and when Rachel's father demands George offer the child financial security, Serena steps in and says they will not offer any money. (What a witch, amiright?) This is as far as the plot takes us without giving away any major spoilers. But it's no surprise to say that a lot of people end up dead.

Sound like your cup of tea? If so, catch Serena, in theatres March 26. Watch the trailer below:

Images: 2929 Productions