Louisville native Jennifer Lawrence revealed she is a middle school dropout and addressed topics including disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, pay inequity in Hollywood and nudity in her new movie on a wide-ranging “60 Minutes” interview Sunday.
Lawrence talked to correspondent Bill Whitaker in advance of Friday’s release of “Red Sparrow,” a movie that sees her break her vow to not do nude scenes in movies.
“I read this script that I’m dying to do, and the one thing that’s getting in my way is nudity,” Lawrence said. “And I realized there’s a difference between consent and not.”
That last comment appeared to be in reference to the 2014 hacking incident in which private nude photos of Lawrence and other Hollywood stars were distributed on the internet.
“I felt empowered,” she said of filming the nude scenes in “Red Sparrow.” “I feel like something that was taken from me I got back and am using in my art.” In typical Lawrence fashion, she ended that segment of the the interview with the quip, “if you don’t like boobs, you should not go see ‘Red Sparrow.’”
Maybe the biggest revelation of the interview was that Lawrence is a middle school drop out. She said she was not a good student growing up in Louisville and that it was when she started reading film scripts that things made sense to her.
“That was a whole part of my brain that I didn’t even know existed, something that I could be confident in,” Lawrence said. “And I didn’t wanna let it go.”
Addressing her education, Lawrence said she, “dropped out of middle school. I don’t technically have a GED or a diploma. I am self-educated.”
The interview included a segment of Lawrence and Whitaker fishing and a girls-night-at-home with three of Lawrence’s friends Whitaker said had, “known her since long before she became a movie star.” The highlight of that segment was Lawrence fighting to keep a self portrait she painted at age 16 out of sight.
Toward the end of the segment, Whitaker brought up Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie mogul who produced her Oscar-winning film, “Silver Linings Playbook.” Lawrence ended up in Weinstein headlines again last week when he invoked her words and those of Meryl Streep in asking that a sexual misconduct suit filed against him be thrown out.
On “60 Minutes,” Lawrence reiterated her assertion that Weinstein never acted inappropriately with her, but added, “when it came out and I heard about it, I wanted to kill him. The way that he destroyed so many women’s lives. I want to see him in jail.”
Whitaker did not ask directly about some recent box office disappointments for Lawrence, such as last fall’s “mother!” But she did seem to address that issue in a discussion of a topic she raised several years ago when she publicly complained about pay inequity between her and male stars of “American Hustle.”
She said now she feels she would have fought for equal pay, because she knows her worth, but added that fame and status in Hollywood can be fleeting.
“That’s the way it works,” Lawrence said. “If you can’t prove that you deserve that number, then you’re not gonna get it. So it’s very fickle. So I don’t want to sound like I’m on a high horse, because I might be on a tiny little Shetland pony in a month.”
Ah, our Kentucky star, bringing it back to horses.
Online, you can see extra clips including the tattoo Lawrence regrets and Lawrence talking to students about being politically active.
Rich Copley, @copiousnotes