Mother! Jennifer Lawrence Starring in the Controversial Horror Thriller

Interpreting the film

Jennifer Lawrence: I experience the film in a different way than the audience is.  I was given the allegory first and just these ideas that he wanted to portray and then he wrote the script in five days, and then I saw the narrative link between the allegory.  So now the audience is kind of seeing it as a narrative.

Film as Allegory

JL: What’s amazing about the movie is it can be interpreted many different ways, which is a good and bad thing. I think some people want to be challenged, and then other people don’t.  But I think it’s important to understand the allegory that we intended, because otherwise you don’t really know what you are looking at. I think  audiences need to know that I represent Mother Earth and Javier represents a form of God, a creator, a writer, an artist, Michelle Pfeiffer would be an Eve, to Ed Harris who is Adam, to the Cain and Abel, and the office would be The Garden of Eden.

Once you start knowing that stuff and you can watch giant themes, these universal and biblical themes all condensed into one household, the creation of religion just told in one house. But if you don’t understand the allegory, then it’s just a really powerful and loud movie, a beautiful movie.  Everybody has a different opinion.  Some people figure it out on their own, and then I am like how are they going to figure it out?  I wouldn’t.

Effects of Fame

JL: I can’t do what I love without fans.  If people didn’t want to come see my movies, then I wouldn’t be able to make them, so I am so grateful for everybody that watches my movies and is supportive.  I think that everybody wants and everybody deserves personal space, and nobody wants their personal space violated.  I have just come to a different place than where I was a couple of years ago where I am not worried about being nice and polite to everybody all the time and I take care of myself.  If I don’t have security, if I am by myself and I feel that my personal space is being violated, then I defend myself.   And ever since I kind of came to grasp with that, that I don’t have to be everyone’s best friend and that I don’t have to take selfies with people in a public bathroom, then going out became a lot easier cause I didn’t have as much anxiety and I was like you know what, I don’t have to let anybody make me feel like I have to wear a hat and sunglasses and I have to go to the grocery store with security and I don’t want to have to feel like that.  I like walking around my neighborhood in New York and picking up things that I need from the stores and if people make me feel weird about it then I ignore them and I move on.  I am so grateful for it, but just like any job, you have to adjust and find ways to make it work for you.

Cinematographer Matthew Libatique

JL: I have never met a DP like Matthew Libatique and I was asked by another director that he was looking for somebody to hire.  And I was like there was no other Matthew Libatique.  There just isn’t.  He is so unique and so creative, and he and Darren speak their own language together and they have been working together for so long. They both are on some sort of level, on a different playing field.  It was incredible watching him and seeing his work even afterwards, color timing it and all of the touches that he puts in afterwards.

Climate Change

JL: It scares me.  It scares me for the future, it scares me that the people in charge don’t believe that climate change exists, I mean that’s scary.  I think there was something like 98 percent of scientists believe that human activity is responsible for climate change and 94 percent believe that cigarettes cause cancer.  It was something silly like that.  This film is about, one of the things that it’s about, is about the rape and torment of Mother Earth and the wrath.  Every year we get record heat and I think it was 2014 we had a record high, until it was beat by 2015 and until it was beat by 2016, warm air and warm water, these feed storms.  We are seeing these storms that were supposed to be historical, once in a lifetime, weekly, and the fires and earthquakes, and it’s just scary, because we have been told by scientists what would happen if we don’t act, and it scares me for our future.

Barefoot in Film

JL: The metaphor for being barefoot is I am Earth, so the house is Earth, which is why she can never leave.  The second time I watched the movie, I kept hearing Javier saying where else will they go, where else will they go?  And they realize, oh because it’s a planet once they are there, there is nowhere else for them to go.  So for me to wear shoes it would be this kind of barrier for me and what I have created aside from me being naked through the whole film.  And injuries, I didn’t get any injuries, they were nice and took good care of me.  The only injury I had was towards the end of the third act, you will see a scene, you will know which one I am talking about where I got really emotional, and after he called cut, I had a hard time coming back, and I tore my diaphragm.  It’s okay now, but it took a long time to heal.

House in Mother!

We built many different houses for the movie because we built one that was exteriors. We built a house that was out in a field and we built a house in a studio and because the house kind of gets destroyed as the movie goes on, we would build different houses as we went on.  So there was a lot of building.

Difficult Shots

The most difficult we were doing was probably all the running up and down the stairs because everything was hand held. And stairs are a lot easier with Steadicam, so those shots were pretty difficult.  Their relationship, I don’t know, they are like brothers and they have their own language and they get along great until they don’t. And it’s very brotherly their relationship.

Attraction to Dark Directors

JL: I was just making a joke because Michelle had said, I don’t know why, but I am just attracted to dark directors. And I could not help myself,  because she had teed it up so perfectly that I couldn’t leave it, and kind of like the Black Box thing which I will also apologize for at some point.  I didn’t mean it.  It’s not like I Googled, deep dark directors, Darren, can you get me his number?

Directed by Aronofsky

JL: I think he’s brilliant and he’s creative and he is artistic and he has a way of making you completely trust him on set, because he is just genius.  His ideas are brilliant and he is very communicative and he is very good at explaining why and what and how.  So you feel safer kind of going to different places.  I like Michelle also pushed myself to different places further than I ever have before and that is why I popped a rib out.  Next time I will try to put on the brakes.  But yeah, he is a genius and you want to follow how far he wants you to go.

Boos in Venice Festival

JL: I think it’s great.  All of Darren Aronofsky’s films have been booed at festivals. It’s polarizing.  We didn’t make this film to be a darling.  It’s very loud, it’s aggressive and it’s an assault.  What is most important to us is getting the message out and he had this story burning inside of him. It’s a hard film to watch and it makes you feel and makes you think.  I didn’t think when we were making it, I love it and I am proud of it and I think it’s the most extraordinary, I don’t think there’s anything like it.  For him to take all these massive themes and to condense it in a house with a narrative with a couple, I think is just brilliant and I have never heard of anything like it.  But it’s not for everyone.  I don’t take boos personally at all, I actually kind of find them exciting.

Followed by the Camera

JL: We had a really big rehearsal process for three months where we worked with the camera guys, so I kind of got used to that intrusive black thing.

Long Rehearsals

JL: It gave me time to find the character, because this character is completely different from anything I have ever done before and totally outside of my comfort zone, it’s totally unlike me.  When I first got the script I just tried to say some of the words out loud and nothing even sounded right in my own voice.  And so I wrestled with feeling like I had been miscast and somebody more vulnerable and someone with a softer voice, less burly than me, should do it.  But then it really, the rehearsal process was important for talking and developing all the characters and Michelle and Ed and Javier and all kind of talked about our relationship and also the house and the choreography with the cameras.  I didn’t really find her until we were in Montreal and I tried on the clothes and for some reason the clothes really got me there, and then she just kind of arrived.  Darren asked me what are you doing with your voice and I was like I don’t know, it’s the clothes.  And then we kind of went from there.

Being Political

JL: I am very political.  It’s a huge passion for me.  It’s hard not to be in these times and I feel that it’s all about responsibility as I said and our only voice is voting.  I think it’s incredibly important to stay educated and keep your eyes open and not bury your head in the sand.

Being Homemaker

I’m still very much talking about Reality TV.  But I have a bread-maker now.  I have a house in New York, I don’t have a house yet in LA because it got destroyed on my birthday, while I was away filming.  A flood, a hot water heater cracked, it was like a volcano I was told. But it’s almost ready.  I love having a house, but I am still not cooking that much and I am still watching a lot of Reality TV.

The house is not finished yet.  I don’t know, I am in New York, and I am putting a lot of cacti and making it like Santa Fe if that makes any sense, because I like the juxtaposition and the city.