Winter’s Bone: How the 2010 Indie Catapulted Jennifer Lawrence to Instant Stardom

The turning point in the spectacular career of the vastly talented Jennifer Lawrence was the 2010 indie Winter’s Bone, in which she played a backwoods teenager trying to find her missing father.

The project had begun in May 2005, when Anonymous Content’s Alix Madigan-Yorkin read an unpublished manuscript by Daniel Woodrell.  She passed it along to her clients, producer Anne Rosellini and writer-director Debra Granik, who quickly optioned it.

They shopped it around, but were told it was too dark. “I was given a list of high-profile actresses that I was told (could secure financing),” said Rossellini. “We weren’t super-psyched about the women. And half the actresses they brought were like 27.”

Eventually they raised $2 million through funders, and the movie won the top jury prize at 2010 Sundance Film Fest.

Variety then selected Lawrence as one of its 10 Actors to Watch.

Lawrence had never taken an acting class, but explained how she prepared for the role: “My brother’s friend came over with a squirrel he’d shot and we skinned it in my backyard.”

Winter’s Bone earned four Oscar nominations, including best picture and best actress.