Jennifer Lawrence and Viola Davis had a discussion for the sake of The Hollywood Reporter‘s eager readers. The women give each other a lot of love. Lawrence says she’s “self-conscious” about her intellect because she “dropped out of middle school.”
Davis replies, to assure her: “You’re highly articulate.” To which, seriously, Lawrence replies: “Thank you. And you’re very beautiful.” This, notably, is the edited version of the interview. But as they say in the infomercials, “that’s not all!”
Lawrence later paints herself into an historically important role as the first female lead of an action movie, a trail she believes she blazed when she played Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. Here is Lawrence describing her glass-ceiling-smashing, groundbreaking first-ever-female-action-hero role:
“I remember when I was doing Hunger Games, nobody had ever put a woman in the lead of an action movie because it wouldn’t work — because we were told girls and boys can both identify with a male lead, but boys cannot identify with a female lead. And it just makes me so happy every single time I see a movie come out that just blows through every one of those beliefs, and proves that it is just a lie to keep certain people out of the movies. To keep certain people in the same positions that they’ve always been in.”
Lawrence is trying to do good and promote equality with her statement. She’s not boasting as much as she’s lamenting the bias and bad business practices that routinely made studio executives reluctant to cast women as heroes.
Lawrence deserves kudos for bringing attention to it, yet again, to this gender inequality in the most influential business on earth. But the problem is that what Lawrence says isn’t particularly accurate. She sees the forest correctly, but she misses a few pretty badass trees.
People with longer memories than Lawrence brought up a few other actresses who preceded Lawrence as action leads, not least Pam Grier, Angelina Jolie, Uma Thurman and Sigourney Weaver, all of who kicked some serious action butt on the big screen.
There are more, of course. Not as many as there should be, which was the larger point Lawrence was making, but more.
Fun fact: Jennifer Lawrence was the first woman ever in a movie. https://t.co/aFYb0Nc9zV— Oliver Jia (オリバー・ジア) (@OliverJia1014) December 7, 2022
The reaction might be best described by this simple tweet above that doesn’t bother listing every actress who beat Lawrence to the punch or to the arrow. (Speaking of arrows, the interview editor, by the way had better make sure that Ms. Lawrence does not presently have her quiver.)