I'd love for Red Sparrow to be made into a franchise: Jennifer Lawrence
The actor spills the beans on what it was like to play Dominika Egorova in her upcoming spy drama, Red Sparrow
Is it fair to say that Red Sparrow is not a typical spy film?
It’s a psychological spy drama. It’s exciting, dark, and unique. It was also written by somebody who worked extensively with the CIA, and specifically with Russian-US relations. So it’s really pulling back the curtain on a lot of factors that go into espionage that I personally never knew about. It’s still a fictional story, with fictional characters, but having the whole story written by somebody who worked for the CIA offers a unique perspective.
Ballet moves, Russian accents, fight scenes… it seems like Dominika was one of those roles that required a lot of preparation.
It took a lot of training. I did three hours of ballet every day for about four months. Which really was mostly learning how to move my body differently, because obviously, I wasn’t going to become a great ballerina. And I worked on the accent a lot with Tim Monich, who’s an absolute genius with dialect.
How did you prepare for this mentally? Because Dominika really goes through the mill in the film…
The torment and the humiliation that these Sparrows have to go through… For the young people who are forced into this programme, it’s harrowing and daunting, and for me to do those scenes was the same. It took a certain amount of mental strength and preparation to get myself to a place to really feel empowered enough to do it.
How was it working with the likes of Charlotte Rampling and Jeremy Irons?
Jeremy Irons and Charlotte Rampling are icons. It’s really just a mind-blowing experience being on set with actors of that calibre. Charlotte Rampling showed up first day and nailed the accent, while I was just freaking out about mine. Doing scenes with them was an unforgettable experience.
There are a number of sexual or violent scenes in the film. How did you ensure these scenes weren’t exploitative?
Well, this movie is about exploitation, and international espionage. And so, it was really important to us to push the envelope, and there’s going to be a lot of scenes in this film that some people may not be comfortable with. But it was important for us to really tell the story, and go all the way.
Even though Dominika is recruited to use her body, she succeeds by using her mind.
This is a woman who has been a survivor from the time she was a child. From the time she was born, her body belonged to the state, even when she was dancing. So, she has always used tact, mental tact, to get to where she is in the world. And to survive, when her circumstances in the film change, she goes to Sparrow School to be trained in the art of manipulation, and artful cunning. But she’s already a smart survivor. She looks at life kind of like a chess game and is always four moves ahead of everybody.
The relationships in the film are quite complicated.
The entire book Jason Matthews wrote is filled with complex characters. Everybody in this film, and every character, Russian or American, is there for a myriad of different reasons.
It’s quite hard to read the relationship between Dominika and Nate (played by Joel Edgerton).
Yes, because the relationship between Dominika and Nate is fueled with passion and chemistry, but also, deception. They’re both experts at manipulation and both wary of being deceived.
Is Dominika a character you’d be interested in playing again?
I would love to! I find her fascinating. I’ve been frequently asked if I’d do another franchise again. I don’t feel like I’m done yet with Dominika. There’s so much more to explore. So, yes, I would love to play her again.