Jennifer Lawrence Is at Her Most Raw and Visceral in Red Sparrow

There's a good chance you haven't heard much about Jennifer Lawrence's next starring role. That's because the upcoming film is still in production and is set for a 2018 release, and it only just released its first trailer. Called Red Sparrow, it's an adaptation of the novel that shares the same name. In short, it's about a Russian prima ballerina, Dominika, whose career ends after she shatters her ankle. With her life in pieces, she lashes out at those who hurt her and winds up in the most unexpected place: a training academy for Russian spies. It only gets wilder from there.

This past Spring, I was able to view some exclusive footage of the film and to get further insight from director Francis Lawrence. I don't want to jump the gun, but this has the potential to be Lawrence's most captivating role to date. Yes, even after seeing everything she goes through in Mother!.

The exclusive footage we viewed was basically a 20-minute montage that gave us a broad idea of what we could expect from the film. It was utterly captivating, tense, and tightly wound. We saw blood, sex, nudity, opulence . . . the list goes on. Without giving too much away, we thought we'd give you a taste of what we experienced, why we think it could be Lawrence's next iconic role, and what else stood out from the film.

1. The Content Is Very Much R-Rated

This isn't just going to be an R-rated film. It's deep in rated-R territory. In just the short amount of footage we saw, there was a rather bloody altercation (or two or three), a steamy sex scene, nudity, and more. Francis Lawrence made it clear after the presentation that this was his vision from the very beginning. He's going for the "hard R." He wanted to toe the line and represent all aspects of the story.

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2. Jennifer Lawrence Is Brilliant

Are you getting the sense that we already love Lawrence in this? Everything, down to her accent, is remarkably controlled. It's hard to pull off a Russian accent without it sounding like a caricature. But it's more than that; as she has with other acclaimed roles, Lawrence seems to disappear into her character.

Director Lawrence revealed that she had gone through rigorous ballet training to perfect that aspect of her character's story. More viscerally, you can see her living some of the heavy, emotional experiences her character is having. In just the short amount of footage we saw, Lawrence loses her career as a ballerina, cares for her sick mother, practically gets raped, and endures a special kind of mental terrorism that comes with training a deadly spy.

To nail her accent, Francis Lawrence explained that he had a woman with a light Russian accent record all of Lawrence's dialogue. She used the recordings during the memorization process.

3. The Supporting Cast Is Just as Dazzling

Lawrence has a lot of stellar talent supporting her in the film. The brilliant Oscar- and Emmy-nominated Charlotte Rampling is the headmistress who runs the Russian spy school. Joel Edgerton, who just earned a best actor nod for his work in Loving, stars opposite Lawrence as an American federal operative. Joely Richardson, whom you might best remember from Nip/Tuck, plays Lawrence's mother. And there's more: Mary-Louise Parker and Jeremy Irons are in the mix as well.

As an added bonus, accomplished ballet dancer Sergei Polunin also appears in the film!

20th Century Studios

4. The Film Itself Is Exceptionally Well Done

Some of the more basic aspects of Red Sparrow really pack a punch. Overall, it's got a really gritty vibe to it, kind of along the lines of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in terms of style. There's something striking about the graphic depiction of the more violent and sexual scenes. It creates a world where very bad things happen, no sugarcoating. Even down to the music and the cinematography, every component of the film seems to come together as one exceptional project.

Red Sparrow his theaters on March 2, 2018.