In ‘No Hard Feelings,’ Jennifer Lawrence relishes playing a ‘messy and chaotic’ character

Jun 24, 2023, 10:49 AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It’s a beloved rom-com trope: an irresponsible, irreverent and seemingly irredeemable man falls in love with a woman, setting him on the path to finally get his act together.

But in “No Hard Feelings,” which hits theaters Friday, director Gene Stupnitsky sought to subvert those gendered expectations, with Jennifer Lawrence instead playing his dirtbag protagonist.

“We always described her as someone who cuts corners, who is lazy, doesn’t have great nutrition, likes to smoke pot and drink and doesn’t take anything too seriously,” he said of the character he and co-writer, John Phillips, created. “A guy doing it, that is well-trodden territory. It’s not very interesting.”

“No Hard Feelings” follows Lawrence’s Maddie as she conspires with the parents of an awkward 19-year-old (Andrew Barth Feldman) to have sex with him before he leaves for college in exchange for a car. He’s left in the dark about the scheme, leaving Maddie to try to seduce the shy brainiac more than a decade her junior.

Lawrence said the “messy and chaotic” character’s appeal were one of the things that drew her to the film. “She was just so determined and there was no way to really stop her from achieving what she was going to achieve.”

The film is based on an actual Craigslist post the producers stumbled upon years ago. In the film a similar message becomes the catalyst for Maddie — desperate to continue working as a Uber driver as a last-ditch effort to keep the house her late mother left her — to respond.

Stupnitsky said the post, in addition to being very funny, was ripe for exploring a host of timely topics.

“Helicopter parents are a real thing. And I think sex workers were in the news a lot. And just all these ideas were coming together, you know, class differences, all of it,” Stupnitsky, an Emmy-nominated writer on “The Office” who directed 2019’s “Good Boys” and co-wrote the R-rated Cameron Diaz comedy “Bad Teacher,” said. “It’s more just asking questions and bringing up these different ideas. I don’t even know how I feel about everything, but I think my favorite comedies usually go someplace deeper.”

Although not quite a romcom, the film employs many of the genre’s cliches, including raunchy humor, awkward date scenarios and even some nudity, although not in the way audiences might expect.

“I didn’t have any reservations,” Lawrence said laughing when asked about her feelings toward nude scenes, something she was candidly reluctant about when her role in the 2018 thriller, “Red Sparrow” required it. “Once you do it, then that’s done.”

Flurries of surprise and anticipation for the Oscar winner’s raunchy comedy debut abounded after the first “No Hard Feelings” trailer dropped, betraying a subtle assumption that perhaps this kind of movie would be beneath her.

“I don’t know,” she said of why people might not expect her to do a comedy. “You go about it the same way. It wouldn’t be funny if you were like, ‘I’m gonna make a joke now.’ You have to really believe what you’re saying, so the process is the same.”

Lawrence has long wanted to do a comedy and has received no shortage of scripts, but said she found none of them funny enough — that is until Stupnitsky handed her this one.

“I’ve known her socially over the years and I know how funny she is, and I know how much she loves comedy,” Stupnitsky said. “She’s done satire and comedy dramas, but a pure, straight up R-rated comedy, I just selfishly wanted her for myself.”

United States News

Associated Press

Bernice Johnson Reagon, whose powerful voice helped propel the Civil Rights Movement, has died

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Bernice Johnson Reagon, a musician and scholar who used her rich, powerful contralto voice in the service of the American Civil Rights Movement and human rights struggles around the world, died on July 16, according to her daughter’s social media post. She was 81. Reagon was probably best known as the […]

34 minutes ago

ADD MORE LOCATIONS FILE - An envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident is ...

Associated Press

US census takers to conduct test runs in the South and West 4 years before 2030 count

Six places in the South and West will host practice runs four years prior to the 2030 U.S. census, a nationwide head count that helps determine political power and the distribution of federal funds. Residents of western Texas; tribal lands in Arizona; Colorado Springs, Colorado; western North Carolina; Spartanburg, South Carolina; and Huntsville, Alabama, will […]

39 minutes ago

Vice President Kamala Harris arrives to speak from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington,...

Associated Press

FACT FOCUS: A look at false claims around Kamala Harris and her campaign for the White House

The announcement that Vice President Kamala Harris will seek the Democratic nomination for president is inspiring a wave of false claims about her eligibility and her background. Some first emerged years ago, while others only surfaced after President Joe Biden’s decision to end his bid for a second term. Here’s a look at the facts. […]

40 minutes ago

Vice President Kamala Harris walks back into the White House after speaking from the South Lawn of ...

Associated Press

Kamala Harris smashes fundraising record with stunning $81 million haul over 24 hours

NEW YORK (AP) — Kamala Harris is smashing fundraising records as the Democratic Party’s donors — big and small — open their wallets for the vice president in the immediate aftermath of President Joe Biden’s stunning decision to step aside. In total, Harris’ team raised more than $81 million in the 24-hour period since Biden’s […]

43 minutes ago

FILE - Emergency personnel arrive to evacuate people at a mass shelter, Sept. 2, 2021, in Independe...

Associated Press

No prison for a nursing home owner who sent 800 residents to ride out a hurricane in squalor

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana businessman who sent more than 800 elderly residents from his seven nursing homes to ride out Hurricane Ida in a crowded, ill-equipped warehouse pleaded no contest to 15 criminal counts Monday and was sentenced to three years of probation. Bob Dean Jr. also must pay more than $358,000 in […]

49 minutes ago

Associated Press

New Orleans civil rights icon Tessie Prevost dead at 69

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Funeral services will be held Saturday for one of four Black girls who helped integrate New Orleans public schools in 1960. Tessie Prevost Williams, known as one of the “New Orleans Four,” died July 6 following a series of medical complications. She was 69. On Nov. 14, 1960, Prevost Williams, along […]

1 hour ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

In ‘No Hard Feelings,’ Jennifer Lawrence relishes playing a ‘messy and chaotic’ character