The Making of an Indie Star
How the “Winter’s Bone” actress, like many before her, parlayed a gritty, low-paying role at Park City into overnight recognition, awards and the ability to go commercial (and still come back).
Jennifer Lawrence cried when Winter’s Bone was accepted into the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The picture, set in the Ozark Mountains, might have been tiny, but the actress had recognized that the part of Ree Dolly — a teen struggling to hold her family together and keep their home — was a gritty, uniquely tenacious role. So she pursued it with unabashed commitment, even taking a spontaneous red-eye flight to New York to press the producers for the part. At the time, her highest-profile role had been in Guillermo Arriaga’s stark low-budget drama The Burning Plain, which had just scored her the Marcello Mastroianni Award at the 2008 Venice Film Festival. Lawrence expected maybe a dozen people would see Bone, so its selection by Sundance was a splendid bonus for the cast, crew and co-writer/director Debra Granik. It was only a few days after its first screening that she realized that perhaps she had underestimated its impact.
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