With an Oscar on her shelf, a major franchise under her belt, and regarded as one of the finest actresses of her generation, Jennifer Lawrence is ready to stretch her creative wings. She’s currently writing a comedy with Amy Schumer, and now she’s planning to direct a feature film, and her choice of subject matter for the first time out is intriguingly ambitious.
“I’ve signed on to direct something called ‘Project Delirium‘ — it’s based on this article about mental warfare in the ’60s, like an acid experiment gone terribly wrong,” she told EW. “It’s funny, I’ve wanted to direct since I was 16 and always thought I should start making steps towards that. If I had tried to do it earlier, I wouldn’t have been ready. Now I actually feel ready.”
It’s probably safe to assume that Lawrence is referring to the December 17, 2012 The New Yorker article “Operation Delirium” (she might’ve mixed up the title) by Raffi Khatchadourian. It details the rather shocking chemical weapons experiments the government carried out with 5,000 U.S. soldiers. And around the same time the article arrived, the author chatted with NPR in a lengthy conversation about the details of these Cold War tests.
“People who were getting sarin, people who were getting other nerve agents that the Nazis had developed, they would … experience giddiness, lassitude, depression, and at some point, someone said, ‘Can we just focus on these side effects? Can we make a weapon that will incapacitate people mentally and not kill them?’ ” Khatchadourian said of the goal of the tests.
Needless to say, it put the lives of soldiers at risk, and a few years ago, the surviving military personnel launched a class action lawsuit against the government.
Listen to the full report below. It’s definitely some great material, and it’ll be interesting to see the team Lawrence pulls together to tell this story.