Earlier this week, Collider reported that Jennifer Lawrence is set to star in an untitled new film from A24 and acclaimed theater director Lila Neugebauer, who will make her feature directing debut with the project. While plot details were initially being kept under wraps, Collider has now learned what the film is about, and it should catapult the Oscar-winning actress back into the awards conversation.
Written by first-time screenwriter Elizabeth Sanders, the new film will find Lawrence playing a U.S. solider who suffers a traumatic brain injury in Afghanistan and struggles to recover back home. Oscar winner Scott Rudin and Eli Bush are producing alongside Lawrence and her Excellent Cadaver partner Justine Polsky. Production is expected to start in June in New Orleans.
Meanwhile, Collider has also learned that Atlanta star Brian Tyree Henry holds the offer to star opposite Lawrence. Henry doesn’t have a deal yet, and discussions are still super early, but he’s the choice for what I understand to be the male lead. Now, I haven’t read the script and don’t have the character breakdown, but if I had to wager a guess based on my knowledge of how movies work, I’d assume he’s either playing Lawrence’s commanding officer, or her therapist of some kind back at home. It all depends on how much time the film spends with Lawrence’s character on the battlefield.
Lawrence has been intrigued by the idea of doing a war-themed picture for some time. At one point, she was attached to play photojournalist Lynsey Addario, who risked her life by heading into war zones, in Steven Spielberg‘s adaptation of her memoir It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War. It’s interesting that she chose this project, from a first-time filmmaker, no less, as her first film following a self-imposed sabbatical that has lasted roughly a year-and-a-half.
Lawrence last starred in the underrated thriller Red Sparrow, and she’ll soon be seen one last time as Mystique in this summer’s Dark Phoenix. As a producer, she has been working with Adam McKay to develop the Elizabeth Holmes movie Bad Blood, which would see her play the controversial Theranos founder.
Henry is a two-time Emmy nominee who has been super busy of late, having wrapped five studio movies — Legendary’s blockbuster Godzilla vs. Kong, Todd Phillips‘ DC movie Joker, New Line’s Melissa McCarthy comedy Superintelligence, Joe Wright‘s thriller The Woman in the Window and a starring role in MGM’s Child’s Play reboot. He has also wrapped the indie drama The Outside Story, and he’s attached to star in They Cloned Tyrone for MACRO. It’s unclear when Atlanta‘s third season heads back into production, but this A24 movie isn’t expected to be a terribly long shoot, so I don’t expect scheduling to be a problem. It’ll all come down to whether Henry is impressed by what’s on the page. He has done a great job picking projects of late, from Widows to If Beale Street Could Talk, so here’s hoping that Sanders’ script offers him a juicy role he can sink his teeth into.
Neugebauer made her Broadway debut last year directing the revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s The Waverly Gallery starring Elaine May and Lucas Hedges, and she also helmed an episode of the HBO anthology series Room 104.
Henry is represented by CAA and JWS Entertainment, which did not respond to a request for comment. A representative for A24 declined to comment.