For Jennifer Lawrence, preparing to play a wounded veteran in Causeway took time and intense preparation. Part of that preparation included meeting with real veterans to form her character.
“It was immensely helpful to meet incredible heroes who are in similar circumstances,” the Oscar-winning actress said during Saturday’s panel at News Brig’s Contenders Film: Los Angeles awards-season event. “And we had help with physical therapists who were in the movie and helped me on how to move. It was extremely informative, and most of all, we wanted to represent [soldiers] correctly.”
Causeway follows the story of a U.S. soldier who suffers a traumatic brain injury while fighting in Afghanistan and struggles to adjust to life when she returns home to New Orleans.
Lawrence leads the cast as wounded warrior Lynsey and also serves as a producer on the A24 and Apple Original film.
She was joined on the panel by Brian Tyree Henry, who plays James, a Louisiana man who befriends Lynsey after she returns home. Director Lila Neugebauer and Lawrence’s producing partner, Justine Ciarrocchi, also joined the conversation.
Once Lawrence and Ciarrochi committed to producing the project, they said they faced years of delays because of the Covid pandemic and flash floods in New Orleans, where the movie was filmed.
“Of course there were myriad logistical challenges, but this was a group of people who were so devoted to the project,” said Ciarrochi.
Henry noted that the down time helped had a surprising effect and brought the cast closer together.
“We all pretty much stayed in touch during 2020,” he said. “There was a development of actual friendship between Jen and I along the way, and we discovered that that’s kind of what we wanted our characters to develop as well.”
Henry is best known for his role as Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles on FX’s Atlanta, but director and executive producer Lila Neugebauer said she was determined to have him join Causeway.
“I’ve known him since I was 19,” said Neugebauer, who attended Yale Drama School with Henry. “He was the first and only person I wanted to play this role.”
Causeway had a limited theatrical release in October and is now available on Apple TV+.
Check back Monday for the panel video.