Jennifer Lawrence and Viola Davis sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Variety for the magazine’s “Actors on Actors” issue to talk about their craft, motherhood, and being two well-respected women in a male-dominated industry. But unfortunately, the pair’s discussion is getting overshadowed in the public discourse by an unfortunate soundbite from Lawrence that many are chalking up as hubris.
While discussing Davis’s groundbreaking role in 2022’s The Woman King, in which she portrays General Nanisca, who led a group of all-female warriors in West Africa from the 17th to 19th centuries, Lawrence reflected on her own experiences starring in an action film. And in doing so, sorta forgot about the women who came before her.
“I remember when I was doing Hunger Games, nobody had ever put a woman in the lead of an action movie because it wouldn’t work — because we were told girls and boys can both identify with a male lead, but boys cannot identify with a female lead. And it just makes me so happy every single time I see a movie come out that just blows through every one of those beliefs, and proves that it is just a lie to keep certain people out of the movies. To keep certain people in the same positions that they’ve always been in.”
Now, obviously, Jennifer Lawrence is not the first woman who has ever been put as the lead of an action movie. She’s not even the first woman who has starred in an action franchise. Sigourney Weaver in the Alien movies, Linda Hamilton in Terminator movies, and Uma Thurman in Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2 are just a few actresses who have blazed that particular trail before Lawrence.
And after Variety — which should have honestly seen this coming — tweeted out that particular quote from the interview, the publication was quickly forced to reverse course and delete it.
But even that couldn’t stop the powerful ratio from gaining steam, as plenty of others piled on to remind Lawrence of the contributions other actresses have made to the genre.
However, on that note, while Lawrence may not have put her point across as articulately as she may have intended, others pointed out that essentially, she does have one. Just because there have been other female action leads that have come before her, doesn’t mean that even now, it’s anywhere close to the Hollywood norm.
Yet, that didn’t stop a few people from gently ribbing Lawrence on what she might have to say about her role in her other 2012 film, Silver Linings Playbook, which won her an Oscar for best actress.
To be fair, after however many Rocky movies and the Marky Mark football movie, even now people can barely identify with Philadelphians. But to claim that would invoke a wrath far greater than even Twitter can muster!