Jennifer Lawrence, the talented and beautiful young actress who’s lauded turn in Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone landed her an Academy Award nomination, is reaping the benefits of the industry taking notice of her abilities. The former Bill Engvall Show star no longer has to think about television roles; since wowing audiences as a daughter searching for her drug-dealing dad in the Sundance 2010 hit, she’s joined the X-Men franchise as Mystique in this June’s First Class and now is set to work with Oscar winning filmmaker Oliver Stone on his new film Savages.
Deadline reports that Lawrence, who’s being courted by every studio for potential projects, has signed on to star in the adaptation of Don Winslow’s best-selling novel about two friends who grow and sell Grade-A pot and share a wild child girlfriend named O. The drug-pushing duo are Ben, described as a brainy botanist, and Chon, a take-no-prisoners ex-Navy SEAL who doesn’t think twice about offing anyone that gets in their way. However, when a Mexican drug cartel enforcer comes by their lofty Laguna Beach haven to muscle them out of business O gets kidnapped and the ransom is everything they’ve got. They hatch a complex plan to get her back and then disappear. Winslow and Shane Salerno adapted the novel.
The project sounds engaging; sort of like a mix between Alpha Dog and Traffic. Tying together the correlation between those films and Savages even further is Benicio Del Toro, who starred in the Oscar winning 2000 drama and is up for the role of the cartel enforcer. The source notes that Stone is meeting with every young A-lister in the business for the Ben and Chon parts, but since the only confirmed performer thus far is Lawrence, I’m going to point out the obvious here: is she taking career advice from Shia LaBeouf? Looking over her body of work, she seems to have adopted the young star’s method of role choice, jumping from solid indies (Winter’s Bone and this year’s Sundance top prize winner Like Crazy for her, A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints and The Greatest Game Ever Played for him) to big-budget blockbusters (the aforementioned X-Men: First Class for her, Transformers and Indiana Jones for him) to finally working with Mr. Stone (LaBeouf recently worked with him on Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and is said to have another project in development with him). These parallel but similar career paths could cross if Stone decides to cast LaBeouf as either Ben or Chon in Savages; though that’s a speculative statement, it’s not totally unfeasible. Time will tell as the film rolls toward its unknown start date.