Jennifer Lawrence became a household name after being cast as lead character Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games films.
She went on to become at one point the highest paid actress in the world, with an awards collection including an Oscar, BAFTA and multiple Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe trophies.
After focusing on dramas, Lawrence is now leading a comedy for the first time – and not a family friendly one.
In No Hard Feelings, she plays Maddie, a broke Uber driver who responds to an advert from two parents looking for a woman to date – and sleep with – their introverted teenage son.
While it’s rated a 15 in the UK, the film is an R in the US – which means anyone under the age of 17 would need to be accompanied by an adult to see it in the cinema – and is being billed as the return of R rated comedies to theatres.
Lawrence told Sky News she thinks the world needs comedy at the moment – and if audiences find some of the content offensive, then maybe that’s a good thing.
“I think it’s time for just a good old-fashioned laugh,” she said. “And it really is hard to make a comedy where you’re not offending people. Everybody in some sense will be offended by this film – you’re welcome.”
Lawrence’s co-star Andrew Barth Feldman – who plays Percy, the teenager Maddie is being paid to seduce – agrees.
“We need to be able to engage with being offended,” he said. “There was and is like a big overcorrect because we realised there were so many things that we were joking about that we shouldn’t be… and I think this movie does a really good job of continuing to push limits while still engaging with the conversation that the things that these people are doing are wrong, and not a good idea.”
“Something we learned from the old-time comedies is mean comedy is not really funny,” Lawrence added. “You know, making somebody feel bad about themselves – other than me making fun of me. But the way that we did it is fine, we figured it out.”
Lawrence had been looking for the chance to explore her funny side on screen for a while. “I was definitely always open to a comedy,” she said. “I wouldn’t say I was like: ‘I really want my character to try to have sex with a young person’, but I just read it and it was the funniest thing I’d ever read.”
No Hard Feelings was actually inspired by a real advert on US listings site Craigslist, which Lawrence and writer/director Gene Stupnitsky found themselves discussing over dinner one night.
“He showed me the Craigslist ad and we were just laughing about it,” she said. “Our whole dinner was just talking about the kind of people who would write the ad – and so that’s kind of in my mind where I thought he would go with the movie.”
But rather than the parents, the film focuses on Maddie and Percy – the teenage son of an overprotective mother and father, who seemingly has no interest in dating.
While Percy’s an extreme case, Barth Feldman found plenty to relate to in the character.
“My generation – and we see this so much with Percy – we’re the first generation that was born with iPhones in our hands,” he said. “And so there is just a sense of compulsion and fear and comparison that is so constant with us.
“[Percy] is stuck in this bubble – the world outside is all on his phone and his parents want to bubble-wrap him and he hates it, but it’s safe for him; but he needs to break out, he needs to learn that he can make his own decisions and truthfully, put the phone down for a little bit.”
No Hard Feelings isn’t the only film Lawrence has been promoting lately, having also appeared at the Cannes film festival in May for the documentary Bread And Roses, which she co-produced.
The film looks at the women living under Taliban rule in Afghanistan and is something of a passion project for Lawrence.
“You watch it on the news and you know that it’s just going to eventually fade out of the news and I didn’t want these women’s lives to just be a quick story that everybody forgets about,” she said. “So I spoke to my producing partner about how to get cameras in a Taliban-run Afghanistan, and we found Sahra Mani, who is an Afghan filmmaker, and we told her this is what we want to do.
“Obviously it was extremely dangerous for her and for the three women that participated… and thanks to Sahra and these amazing women’s courage, we have this footage that hopefully will explain and put more light on women’s suffrage in Afghanistan, which is just unbelievable.”
No Hard Feelings is out in cinemas in the UK from Wednesday 21 June