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A Spirited Q & A With “Winter’s Bone” Actress Jennifer Lawrence

A Spirited Q & A With “Winter’s Bone” Actress Jennifer Lawrence (photo)

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As a way of celebrating this year’s nominees for the Spirit Awards in the weeks leading up to the ceremony, we reached out to as many as we could in an effort to better understand what went into their films, what they’ve gotten out of the experience, and where they’ve found their inspiration, both in regards to their work and other works of art that might’ve inspired them from the past year. Their answers will be published on a daily basis throughout February.

One of the recurring oddities of awards season is reconciling the actors and actresses who walk the red carpet with the roles they so thoroughly inhabited that got them honored in the first place. For Jennifer Lawrence, the difference has been particularly stark, radiating old school Hollywood glamour as she’s strolled through one ceremony after another in recent months for her performance in “Winter’s Bone” where as the steely Ree Dolly, she couldn’t be further away in the Ozarks. However, what makes it easier to reconcile the two is knowing the other things Lawrence radiates – an intelligence and inner strength – that makes Ree no victim and the actress no ordinary thespian.

In both circumstances, it took someone to recognize this and put in the proper context. Just as Ree has John Hawkes’ enigmatic Teardrop aid her on her quest to find her father, Lawrence has Debra Granik to guide her after proving to be herself to be one of the most exciting actresses of her generation with searing, if underseen turns in “The Burning Plain” and “The Poker House.” Dressed in layer upon layer of baggy clothing, the weight of Ree’s attire in “Winter’s Bone” is no match for the burden she carries throughout the film, tending to her incapacitated mother and her young brother and sister while navigating the backwoods of Missouri, strewn with abandoned cars and farm equipment and knee deep in meth labs and in-laws she’d prefer not to see again.

Incidentally, it was Lawrence’s own mother who was the first to realize she’d make a fine Ree Dolly while reading Daniel Woodrell’s original novel long before she ever auditioned for Granik. (There might have been second thoughts if she knew it entailed an education in skinning squirrels and handling rifles, both of which Lawrence had to learn during preparation for the film.) Still, there’s no doubt that good instincts run in the family since with a script where every word counts, Granik and co-screenwriter Anne Rosellini don’t let Lawrence convey as much verbally as the actress does for herself with not much more than her piercing set of blue eyes and a world-weary hunch that few teenagers could (or should) ever shoulder. In the same spirit, Lawrence kept her answers to our questionnaire relatively short, but given that it’s one of the most talked-about performances of the year, it’s clearly an achievement that speaks for itself and the announcement of an actress with many superlatives in her future.

Why did you want to make this film?

Because I loved it and I would have done anything for it.

What was the best piece of advice you received that applied to the making of this film?

Do whatever it takes.

What was the toughest thing to overcome, whether it applies to a particular scene or the film as a whole?

The physical elements – the cold and the long hours.

What’s been the most memorable moment while you’ve traveled with the film, either at a festival or otherwise?

Being recognized by Steven Spielberg at DreamWorks – the fact that he had seen the movie. I just couldn’t get over how tiny the movie was compared to how big he is.

What’s your favorite thing about your film that’s been largely uncommented upon?

One of my favorite things about the movie is the folk music. It’s written and sung by people from the area where we shot the film. It’s stirring…I really love it.

What’s been the most gratifying thing to come out of this film for you personally?

The fact that people have seen it. Working so hard on something and knowing it’s been appreciated.

Your favorite film, book or album from the past year?

My favorite films were “Inception” and “The Social Network.” My favorite book was “Hunger Games.”

“Winter’s Bone” is still playing in limited release and is now available on DVD, Blu-ray and iTunes. The Spirit Awards will air on IFC on February 26th.


Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.


Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…


A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.