In Lila Neugebauer’s function movie debut Causeway, Jennifer Lawrence performs Lynsey, a veteran returning to her hometown from time served in Afghanistan after struggling a traumatic mind damage. Whereas residence, she meets James (Brian Tyree Henry), an amputee automobile mechanic going through his personal journey via grief, and the 2 strike up a friendship.
Taking pictures commenced in New Orleans in the summertime of 2019, however was placed on pause as a result of inclement climate, and once more due to COVID. A second part of filmmaking started in 2021, after Lawrence, Henry, Neugebauer, and the movie’s writers and producers had an opportunity to reassess the place they wished to middle their story, chopping out all of the already-shot Afghanistan flashback scenes and as a substitute increasing the James character enormously, specializing in the budding relationship between the pair. What resulted is the movie as it’s as we speak: A narrative of two people navigating their means via loss, whereas leaning on one another for assist. THR spoke with the 2 actors concerning the technique of refocusing the lens of this story and what it taught them about transferring via trauma.
How acquainted have been you with one another’s work earlier than coming onto this challenge?
JENNIFER LAWRENCE I knew Brian from Atlanta. And when Lila floated his title, I freaked out. I used to be like, “Would he do it?” She was like, “Yeah, I went to Yale with him.” He was the one title ever talked about.
BRIAN TYREE HENRY Wow. Let’s see. Jennifer Lawrence, man. She’s been on this sport for fairly some time, and she or he has actually modified the sport in her personal means. I’ve been a fan of her work, her versatility, for a really very long time. When this script was floated to me, Lila, after all, was the very first thing that instantly made me wish to soar into it. However after I was instructed that Jennifer Lawrence was the lead, I used to be extremely intimidated.
LAWRENCE Shut up.
HENRY I’m not kidding. However I used to be thrilled as a result of I wished to get into the sandbox along with her, particularly with a movie like this. Jen lower her tooth and actually dazzled us all with [an] impartial movie [Winter’s Bone]. To see her coming again to her roots to do one thing so understated — one thing so quiet and so highly effective — was extremely intriguing to me. I’d have been a idiot if I had mentioned no.
Was the primary time you guys met on set in 2019?
LAWRENCE No, we met round rehearsals, when the script — it was totally different [from] the story that Lila was making an attempt to inform. We had a whole lot of discovery. I believe a whole lot of that’s most likely Lila’s theater roots.
HENRY As soon as all of us bought to New Orleans, we undoubtedly had dinners, conferences. We have been very unfastened with this as a result of there’s not a whole lot of exposition. It’s actually nearly individuals present in area and time. We had all this clay, making an attempt to determine find out how to make Lynsey’s world.
It sounds just like the script modified rather a lot. And Brian, your character bought a lot greater. How did these conversations look throughout your COVID hiatus?
HENRY Actually, the chemistry between Jen and I used to be so on the spot that I don’t know if we wished to let it go. Jen and I’ve an incredible codependency that simply actually resonated onscreen.
LAWRENCE Thank God it wasn’t one-way. I don’t know what I’d have finished.
HENRY We couldn’t let the story of Lynsey go. And so, sooner or later, we broke the shelter in place very safely — exterior, in a backyard, below a full moon, a lot of sage — and we simply talked. We had the chance to return. We have been all totally different. We had all suffered our personal losses and needed to confront our personal traumas. We knew that James and Lynsey needed to be totally different. We additionally wished to guarantee that we added that layer of hope.
LAWRENCE Lila had an unimaginable intuition about telling a movie that’s about PTSD solely within the current. That additionally got here to us after we have been in modifying, after we had a lot footage that was shot of Lynsey’s life in Afghanistan. When you get into the edit room, and also you’re this footage that doesn’t lie … We’ve Brian, who’s only a meteor, and a revelation. And it was simply so clear that the strongest a part of the film was when Brian and I have been collectively within the current, so we simply modified route from not going backwards, actually, into time, and into flashbacks, [and instead] staying within the current.
Does that imply that the pool scene, when they’ve a giant combat, was not within the first draft?
LAWRENCE That was within the authentic script, however after we went again, we reshot it. As a result of the combat ended up being about one thing fully totally different. We have been nonetheless understanding the interior workings of me and Brian’s relationship. The stress had been constructing. Brian hears me say that I wish to return [to war]. That’s the primary time that he hears that, and we’ve simply met, so it’s not like he can say, “How might you do that to me?”
HENRY James, being an amputee, has already instructed himself a bunch of issues that he doesn’t should have. Undoubtedly one among them is swimming in a pool freely with any person after hanging out. What I believe the toughest a part of that entire scene was, is realizing that due to Lynsey’s incapacity, which permits her to be tactless, which permits her to be brutally sincere, it’s form of that drop again right down to earth for James. This, “How dare I even give myself into the potential for having a pal that really goes to be there and see me?” Jen and I spent a number of nights in that pool, [or] poolside, simply making an attempt to determine precisely find out how to lower the tether.
What did every of you relate to most in your characters, and what have you ever realized about grief and trauma from this movie?
LAWRENCE Brian’s clearing his throat.
HENRY No, I’m like, “Jen’s going first, so it’s all good.”
LAWRENCE What’s so wonderful about making an indie, and never having the studio making these calls for of “we have to have this scene,” and having the script on the place that it was, [is] that [it] was so apt to be damaged open. That’s my favourite a part of my job, placing both present ache or previous ache into one thing, and really with the ability to again up sure psychologies of your character. I’ve been in a position to perceive individuals who I didn’t beforehand perceive via that course of. Though I’m not a service member, and my life couldn’t be extra totally different from [that], I’ve actually had my very own private traumas, or betrayal, or simply shit that I’ve grappled with and has modified the way in which that I view myself. I believe the factor that I linked probably the most with in Lynsey is her need to maintain transferring, with a purpose to not have a look at herself. It was attention-grabbing timing, as a result of I used to be additionally making the dedication to get married. I used to be engaged after we made this film. I used to be making that dedication to remain and to make a household after which, due to all the parts, we return two years later, [and] I’m fortunately married, I’m pregnant, I’ve a very totally different perspective on a house.
HENRY I’ve realized over the course of my profession, and the course of my life, that success and grief have been going hand in hand. The extra profitable I’m, the louder the grief has been. As a result of even a hit can also be a reminder that there’s a lack of the way in which issues have been. You’re nonetheless making an attempt to determine find out how to navigate this new life in a means, and also you understand that there’s no strategy to go backwards. And as a lot as we wish to return, you simply can’t. It’s simply not out there to you. Causeway not solely pressured us to drop our partitions, nevertheless it begged us to try this. When these partitions begin to crumble, they are often like, “Oh, I’m not simply my trauma anymore. I’m not simply my loss.” I discover that almost all of us suppose that endings are the scariest half, as a result of they’re so unknown. Endings are at all times going to occur. The scariest shit is definitely the start of one thing. Truly making the choice to start out one thing is actually, actually terrifying. However it is usually probably the most rewarding.
For those who have been to do one other movie together sooner or later, what different kinds of roles would you wish to play reverse one another?
LAWRENCE I’d must do a buddy comedy with Brian. What was that tune that you just taught me within the automobile? (Sings.) “Don’t duh duh duh da duh, simply sit and putter.”
HENRY Oh, from Humorous Lady?
LAWRENCE Yeah, from Humorous Lady.
HENRY I used to be going to say that we must always remake Kramer vs. Kramer. It ought to keep precisely the identical. To see me and Jen in a courtroom preventing over a baby, I believe, can be what the general public didn’t realize it wanted.
LAWRENCE Oh my God. Or we might simply visitor star on a Actual Housewives episode.
HENRY Cease making an attempt to robust arm me into this shit. I’m not going to have Kathy Hilton placing on lip gloss at the back of my scenes.
Interview edited for size and readability.
This story first appeared in a December stand-alone challenge of The truestarz journal. To obtain the journal, click on right here to subscribe.