Jennifer Lawrence has worked on such major blockbuster franchises as The Hunger Games and X-Men, but she’s proven time and time again that her talents to beyond the realm of the tentpoles. She first gained national attention in 2010 with an Oscar-nominated turn in Winter’s Bone, and has since become a fixture at the Academy Awards thanks to her collaborations with David O. Russell (winning Best Actress in 2012 for Silver Livings Playbook, then earning a third career nomination for American Hustle in 2013).
Lawrence may keep that success going this year, as she is re-teaming with Russell once again on the biopic Joy. But even if that doesn’t net her a second trophy, Lawrence seems to have her next awards contender already lined up, signing on to star in an upcoming wartime drama directed by Steven Spielberg.
Deadline is reporting that Warner Bros. has finalized a deal for the film rights of the memoir It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Love of Life and War by Lynsey Addario, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who went to Afghanistan shortly after the post-9/11 invasion. Spielberg is attached to direct with Lawrence on board to play Addario.
The development caps off an intense bidding war between several high profile studios looking to capitalize on the popularity of Addario’s book, following an excerpt that was published in The New York Times. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that WB would be interested in the subject material, as they are coming off of the phenomenal box office performance of American Sniper, another contemporary war drama – one that Spielberg almost directed, as it were.
The adaptation should provide viewers with a fresh angle on a famous genre, as it will present conflict through an unfamiliar lens. Whereas several war movies tend to focus on the soldiers taking part in the battle, It’s What I Do will revolve around a photographer on the search for truth, using Addario’s experiences to flesh the situation out. While overseas, she covered various topics including Afghans suffering under the Taliban regime, the Iraq War, and the victims of the Darfur genocide.
Addario’s story is quite remarkable, as she never shied away from seeking out the most dangerous locales. Case in point: while reporting on the Libyan Civil War, she (along with two of her colleagues) was kidnapped by pro-Quaddafi forces and held captive for five days in March 2011, where she was repeatedly threatened with death and endured many other horrors. Anyone familiar with her life and work know that this has the potential to be an extremely compelling film.
War dramas, particularly those detailing the recent struggles in the Middle East, have been come a hot commodity in recent years. The record-shattering numbers posted by Sniper are well-documented, but similar titles such as Zero Dark Thirty and Lone Survivor have proven to be commercially viable forces in addition to receiving widespread critical acclaim. On paper, It’s What I Do certainly has what it takes to join those ranks.
Some may say that Lawrence is miscast (due to the age gap between her and Addario), but she’s proven she can play wise beyond her years; and Spielberg is a master craftsman who is more than qualified to handle this material. All in all, there are plenty of reasons for cinephiles to be excited for this project. Now we’ll just have to wait and see if it can deliver on its promises.
We’ll keep you updated on It’s What I Do as more information becomes available.