The story of a poor girl in the Ozarks tracking down her convict father who put up the family home to make bail might be a tough sell on paper… That is, had the necessary ingredients of good directiion, script and a real tour de force for a lead been absent. Thankfully for “Winter’s Bone,” which also happened to win the prize for best film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, no less, all the stars alligned to create a film that should take its place as a prime contender this awards season.
The film stars 19 year-old Jennifer Lawrence who won resounding praise at Sundance for her role as Ree Dolly, who deftly creates a lovable character who pursues information about her father and in the process, penetrating the strict veneer of secrecy in her rural, speed-ravaged town. If there is any justice within the politics and agendas surrounding the awards labyrinth, Lawrence should certainly beocme a serious contender.
“I got involved by auditioning and being a psycho and following [director Debra Granik] all the way to New York City, and I thought it was the best role ever,” Lawrence said with laughs to indieWIRE. “It looked like such an amazing role for a woman. It’s funny because before any of this happened, my mom had read the book [by Daniel Woodrell] and she said to me, ‘if they ever do a movie on this, you should do it.'”
Lawrence said that she’s always wanted to act, ever since childhood, though she said that that is something probably most children probably consider. “But, there was something that I knew was there,” she said shyly, clearly hoping that her words wouldn’t backfire somehow. “But I never thought it was a possibility for me, but later when I moved to New York and started to try acting, it was sort of something I realized I could do. And it was something I could only do…”
And by all appearances, Lawrence was right.
After doing some commercial and guest spot work in the Big Apple, she won an outstanding performance nod at the 2008 Los Angeles Film Festival for “The Poker House” by Lori Petty and later that Summer took the Marcello Mastroianni Award (acting prize) for Guillermo Arriaga’s “The Burning Plain.” She then landed the lead in “Winter’s Bone,” which Roadside Attractions will release theatrically starting on June 11th. She is also set to co-star with Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson in the upcoming feature, “The Beaver,” which Foster is directing.
She said that, so far, “The Beaver” has been the biggest challenge for her in terms of getting to know and understand the character she is playing. “Every role where I’m just a normal teenage girl in high school is the hardest [for me],” she said. “I didn’t go to a [regular] high school. I started working early, so it’s hard for me to get back to my inner child.”