Lionsgate Stays in the Jennifer Lawrence Business, Has Actress in Talks For Gossip Columnist Memoir Adaptation
Posted on Monday, April 23rd, 2012 by Russ Fischer
Jennifer Lawrence is a very good actress, and she’s starting to have a certain market cornered: the Appalachian girl who is stronger than anyone suspects, and who comes into her own thanks to the imposition of an unexpected, exaggerated personal adversity. A grounded version of that character is at the center of Winter’s Bone, and the more fantastic version is the heroine of The Hunger Games.
Now Lionsgate, the studio which just enjoyed The Hunger Games being number one at the box office for a month straight, has Lawrence in talk for a film that will see her playing an oddly similar character. The film is an adaptation of The Glass Castle: A Memoir, in which columnist Jeannette Walls tells her unusual childhood story.
First up, here’s a book description from Amazon:
Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town — and the family — Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.
What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
The middle paragraph there is the one that really draws a line that connects to both Winter’s Bone and The Hunger Games. It’s easy to see why Lawrence would leap to mind for the character, but a bit more surprising that she would be interested in the job.
Meanwhile, as Deadline notes, this isn’t exactly a typical sort of project for Lionsgate. But Walls’ memoir was a huge seller, and Lawrence has proven her ability to carry a character-oriented film. One would think the studio hopes this film might be a bridge between fans of The Hunger Games and of slightly older-skewing material.