If you judge only by her Oscar-winning performance in The Silver Linings Playbook, you might think that Jennifer Lawrence is well into her 30s. Her performance in David O. Russell's dramedy was so mature and compelling that it's hard to believe she's a mere 23. Yes, the Hunger Games star turns 23 today, Aug. 15, and we're pleased to celebrate what promises to be a long and varied future in the cinema. But what exactly do the coming years have in store for JLaw? After Catching Fire and the Mockingjay movies, and Russell's next picture American Hustle, where will Lawrence take her career? We have some suggestions — or wishes — for Lawrence's career.
23 Roles We'd Love to See Jennifer Lawrence Take
1) Kat Stratford in a 10 Things I Hate About You remake. If she can play 30-year-olds now, she can play high schoolers. And yes, she can manage a bitchface.
2) Jaina Solo, daughter of Leia and Han, in Star Wars VII. Imagine Lawrence levitating X-Wings, cutting up Tauntauns, and stopping by Tosche Station for power converters.
3) Ophelia in a Hamlet adaptation. She can do crazy, we've seen it.
4) At the center of her own Showtime series, a la The United States of Tara or Weeds — a loony young mom with a plot-defining secret.
5) Headlining a Victorian era period piece. Imagine the costumes.
6) Playing Elaine in a Seinfeld movie. Obviously, no one is ever going to make a Seinfeld movie. And if they did, they'd probably cast the actors who were actually on Seinfeld. But imagine it... just imagine it...
7) In a Wes Anderson movie, playing (as per Wes Anderson tradition) a dead-eyed, monotone, nihilistic femme fatale. We buy it.
8) Molly Ringwald's role in a Sixteen Candles remake. Sixteen might be pushing it... how about Twenty-One Candles? Not quite the same ring, but that gives us an idea!
9) Taking Sean Penn's role in a gender-swapping 21 Grams remake!
10) Playing Paul Rudd's daughter in a movie that stars Steve Martin as his dad and Dick Van Dyke as his dad. This is actually an idea that we've been working on for quite some time...
11) Remember My Boys on TBS? That show was pretty good, right? Well, if she was in it, it would have been awesome. Do that.
12) Cher's role in a Mermaids remake.
13) Julia Roberts' role in a Pretty Woman remake.
14) Faye Dunaway's role in a Chinatown remake.
15) Playing herself in a Charlie Kaufman movie about how, in "reality," she's a horrible Machiavellian sociopath.
16) Taking on a Ripley-like role in the follow-up to Prometheus.
17) Becky Sharp in a Vanity Fair adaptation.
18) Samus Aran in a Metroid adaptation.
19) Princess Zelda in a film adaptation of Ocarina of Time, which is incredibly necessary.
20) Janis Joplin in a biographical picture about her life and work.
21) Playing all five sisters in a black comedy about strikingly different quintuplets.
22) The verbose, death-obsessed heroine in a Woody Allen movie.
23) The 13th Doctor.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter | Follow hollywood.com on Twitter @hollywood_com
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As with seemingly every other tentpole release to hit the multiplex this summer the action thriller Cowboys & Aliens is based on a comic book – albeit a lesser-known one. It’s directed by Jon Favreau whose previous comic-book adaptations Iron Man and Iron Man 2 proved how much better those films can be when they’re grounded in character. Unfortunately his latest effort is grounded not in character but a hook an alt-history scenario best expressed in the language of the average twelve-year-old: “Like wouldn’t it be awesome if like a bunch of 1870s cowboys had to fight a bunch of crazy aliens with exoskeletons and spaceships and super-advanced weapons?”
Like perhaps. The hook was compelling enough to get someone to pony up a reported $160 million to find out and the result is a film in which the western and science-fiction genres don’t so much blend as violently collide. After the wreckage is cleared both emerge worse for wear.
Daniel Craig stars as Jake Lonergan a stranger who awakens in the New Mexico Territory with a case of amnesia a wound in his side and a strange contraption strapped to his wrist. After dispatching a trio of bandits with Bourne-like efficiency he rides to the nearby town of Absolution where he stumbles on what appears to be an elaborate Western Iconography exhibit presented by the local historical preservation society. There’s the well-meaning town Sheriff Taggart (Keith Carradine) struggling to enforce order amidst lawlessness; the greedy rancher Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) who really runs things; his debaucherous cowardly son Percy (Paul Dano); the timid saloonkeeper Doc (Sam Rockwell) who’s going to stand up for himself one of these days; the humble preacher Meacham (Clancy Brown) dispensing homespun spiritual advice; et al.
Jake of course has his own part to play – the fugitive train-robber – as we discover when his face shows up on a wanted poster and a sneering Dolarhyde fingers him for the theft of his gold. The only character who doesn’t quite conform to type is Ella (Olivia Wilde) who as neither a prostitute nor some man’s wife – the traditional female occupations in westerns – immediately arouses suspicion.
Jake is arrested and ordered to stand trial in Federal court but before he can be shipped off a squadron of alien planes appears in the sky besieging Absolution and making off with several of its terrified citizenry. In the course of the melee Jake’s wrist contraption wherever it came from reveals itself to be quite useful in defense against the alien invaders. Thrown by circumstances into an uneasy alliance with Dolarhyde he helps organize a posse to counter the otherworldly threat – and bring back the abductees if possible.
Cowboys & Aliens has many of the ingredients of a solid summer blockbuster but none in sufficient amounts to rate in a summer season crowded with bigger-budget (and better-crafted) spectacle. For a film with five credited screenwriters Cowboys & Aliens’ script is sorely lacking for verve or imagination. And what happened to the Favreau of Iron Man? The playful cheekiness that made those films so much fun is all but absent in this film which takes itself much more seriously than any film called Cowboys & Aliens has a right to. Dude you’ve got men on horses with six-shooters battling laser-powered alien crab people. Lighten up.
Craig certainly looks the part of the western anti-hero – his only rival in the area of rugged handsomeness is Viggo Mortensen – but his character is reduced to little more than an angry glare. And Wilde the poor girl is burdened with loads of clunky exposition. The two show promising glimpses of a romantic spark but their relationship remains woefully underdeveloped. Faring far better is Ford who gets not only the bulk of the film’s choicest lines but also its only touching subplot in which his character’s adopted Indian son played by Adam Beach quietly coaxes the humanity out of the grizzled old man.