Jennifer Lawrence and Cameron Diaz Get R-Rated
It’s Friday afternoon, and Jennifer Lawrence is waiting for a phone call from Cameron Diaz. Cameron Diaz, meanwhile, is on Zoom waiting for Jennifer Lawrence. “I didn’t realize I had to sign into a link,” Lawrence says when she finally logs on. They’re here because she, after taking a step back from her career, has fully reentered movie star mode, first with last year’s indie drama Causeway, and now with this summer’s No Hard Feelings, an R-rated comedy starring Lawrence as an Uber driver who dates an awkward teen for money. So who better to break down the art of being raunchy than the star of There’s Something About Mary and Bad Teacher? The answer is no one.
CAMERON DIAZ: Hello!
JENNIFER LAWRENCE: Hi Cameron! How are you?
DIAZ: Good! How are you?
LAWRENCE: Good. Thanks for doing this. Are you in England?
DIAZ: I’m not. We got home yesterday, and I’ve been up since 2 a.m.
LAWRENCE: Fun. This is probably exactly what you want to be doing.
DIAZ: More than anything. Should we dive into it?
DIAZ: These are the questions that everybody wants to know. You just let me know if anything makes you uncomfortable.
LAWRENCE: I’m already pretty uncomfortable. [Laughs]
DIAZ: [Laughs] Me too.
LAWRENCE: Great. Then let’s continue.
DIAZ: Okay. I’m super excited about No Hard Feelings. This is something you were born to do, hard R comedies. It might be your sweet spot.
LAWRENCE: Whatever I was feeling while making that movie, if that’s my sweet spot, then I don’t ever want to do anything else.
DIAZ: What was that feeling?
LAWRENCE: It was a blast. I’ve always wanted to do comedy and I’ve been asked a million times. I was never against it, but you’ve seen the movies that come out. I don’t want to name anything specifically, but there hasn’t been anything that funny.
DIAZ: There really hasn’t, for a long time.
LAWRENCE: I’d read these comedies and nothing made me laugh out loud or really moved me. Then I read this script, and I had never read anything so funny. I know Gene [Stupnitsky, the director of No Hard Feelings], so I know how funny he is.
DIAZ: His flavor of comedy is very specific.
LAWRENCE: He was the head writer on The Office, so his alts—that’s alternates, for those reading— were killer.
DIAZ: The alternative lines.
LAWRENCE: Yeah. Every scene, he’d give me an alt that would knock the wind out of me. I was in the edit last week, and it’s impossible to choose. He’s a fountain of hilarity.
DIAZ: And he happens to be the driest human being.
LAWRENCE: I know. You feel extremely unwelcome in his presence.
DIAZ: [Laughs] Exactly. He’s coming up to you to give you a line that he’s not sure he really wants to give you.
LAWRENCE: Well, he doesn’t really want to be talking to you.
DIAZ: [Laughs] Yeah, exactly.
LAWRENCE: One day I was on my start mark, and I see him come towards me. I’m standing on this pretty narrow ramp, and he’s going to go down the ramp. Again, I’ve known Gene for over a decade, he introduced me to my husband. He just walked right past me, didn’t make eye contact, no acknowledgment whatsoever.
DIAZ: [Laughs] Now that we’ve jumped into the Gene of it all, where does that come from? Is it a slight spectrum thing, or is it very much, “I just don’t have time for you?”
LAWRENCE: He was a Russian immigrant, and he came to America when he was seven, I think. He didn’t fit in at school because he couldn’t speak the language. So I think, like a lot of talents, it was a survival tactic brought on from a lot of pain.
DIAZ: Hence the comedy.
LAWRENCE: Hence the comedy, because he really is the funniest person I’ve ever met in my entire life.
DIAZ: He really is. I had the great honor of saying his words in Bad Teacher.
LAWRENCE: Well this isn’t your interview, is it, Cameron?
DIAZ: No, it is not. Thanks for putting me in my place, Jen.
LAWRENCE: Bad Teacher, that was still in the drought of, “God, when is a good comedy going to come out?” Then finally, something that’s laugh-out-loud funny.
DIAZ: That comes down to, why are not that many of those comedies being made? What is wrong with the audience or society?
LAWRENCE: We just need the laugh right now, because we’re living in a nightmare. I snuck into one of the test screenings, and being surrounded by people laughing makes things funnier. It’s not the same when you’re alone in your living room.
DIAZ: Exactly. Even with the trailer, I was like, “This is going to be stuff that we’ve just not seen.”
LAWRENCE: The premise itself made us giggle every day. When we shot the scene where I kicked the door down and said, “Did you fuck him? Did you fuck him?”—I came home and my husband was sleeping, and I got in bed and could not stop giggling.
DIAZ: What is the equivalent to that in other films that aren’t comedies?
LAWRENCE: There are definitely times where you get home and you’re like, “What a good day of work. That went well.” But it adds a whole different layer of joy when the accomplishment is something that makes you belly laugh.
DIAZ: Right. Just to be on set all day where you’re not just creating that joy for others, but you’re experiencing it yourself.
LAWRENCE: Yeah. I felt a unique sadness when wrapping this one, because it’s so nice when you feel so confident while filming a movie. There’s some that you shoot and you’re like, “Are people going to get this? I didn’t know it was going to look like that.” Sometimes you’re pleasantly surprised, sometimes you’re not. But to have the confidence that I did in the project itself, and then the chemistry between the cast and the crew—Andrew Barth Feldman, my costar, was a karmic gift. I had so much fun with him every second of the day.
DIAZ: It has everything to do with the chemistry between those partnerships.
LAWRENCE: I might have already told you this, but when my best friend was going through a bad breakup many years ago, she wanted to watch Pride and Prejudice, which is her favorite movie. I was like, “Justine, trust me on this one. We’re going to watch The Sweetest Thing, and you’re going to thank me.” She was so hesitant. I put it on, and it totally fixed her.
DIAZ: Again, chemistry.
LAWRENCE: You and Christina Applegate. Talk about chemistry.
DIAZ: That’s one of those movies that people come up to me and say it’s their favorite movie, or they hated it. There’s no in-between. But don’t try to turn it around on me.
LAWRENCE: You’re the icon of R-rated comedies, so somebody had to mention it.
DIAZ: Thanks, man. So how is it for you in-between projects? Especially now that you’re a mom, are you feeling like you want to spend time at home? Or does it feel like you can still squeeze in a project here and there?
LAWRENCE: There’s no squeezing when you have a baby. There’s just home, and it’s the best. It definitely helps weed out projects: “Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes. No. Is this worth being away from my child for half the day?”
DIAZ: That’s the measure.
LAWRENCE: Yeah, and fortunately, my husband is the greatest father in the entire world, so when I’m working, I don’t have any more guilt than the usual every day, all-day parent guilt.
DIAZ: You picked a good one there.
LAWRENCE: I did. Thank you for teaching me how to cook for him.
DIAZ: [Laughs] I’m always here when you need me.
LAWRENCE: Amy Schumer did a cooking show during COVID, and she was like, “Do you have any recipes that you want to share?” So I was like, “Yeah.” I gave her the recipe that you taught me, roast chicken with white rice, shallots, and mushrooms. But, I’m really bad at math, so I wrote out the ingredients and I said, “Five cups of oil.”
DIAZ: Oh my god. What?
LAWRENCE: The comments were like, “I don’t understand. Is it deep-fried? Why is it 5 cups of oil?” So now every time I’m making that recipe and I start making that roast chicken, Cooke [Maroney, Lawrence’s husband] is like, “Five cups of oil, babe?”
DIAZ: Five cups. That’s crazy!
LAWRENCE: It’s maybe 3 tablespoons of oil.
DIAZ: You’re welcome. Let me look at these questions. I’m so curious about TV shows. Would you make one?
LAWRENCE: I’m totally open to it. I’m reading them. I haven’t made the leap yet, but I’m definitely not against it. I love Succession. I wish I was in it. Actually, no, because if I was in it, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy watching it.
DIAZ: I’ve watched maybe one or two episodes.
LAWRENCE: It’s so good.
DIAZ: That’s what everybody says. What else do we have to talk about here? Oh yeah! You have your production company, which I love the name of. Excellent Cadaver. How did that name come about?
LAWRENCE: It is, supposedly, an old mafia term for a hit on a celebrity.
DIAZ: Really? So wild.
LAWRENCE: And beyond that, I just love the grouping of the words. I love that it’s extremely masculine and aggressive.
LAWRENCE: I started it about five years ago with my best friend Justine [Ciarrocchi]. She was my quote, unquote assistant when I first started doing The Hunger Games, and because I didn’t need an assistant, she could get cash for us just living together. I know that going on ventures like that with your best friend can be scary, but I knew I had nothing to worry about. She’s the hardest working person I’ve ever met in my life. But what I love about the company is that I only take on the projects that I can read every draft of, which is definitely my least favorite part of producing. Reading one script, awesome. Reading the same script with minor changes over and over and over again is the most mind-numbing process.
DIAZ: That’s why they issue pages, right? So that you can just read the changes.
LAWRENCE: Yeah. I’ll walk or do lunges from side-to-side while I’m reading. I’ve tried a million things to make it a better process. It’s just not something I enjoy doing. But I want to be hands-on with the note process, with preproduction, and we’ve been super involved in post. We recently went to Stockholm to edit a doc, and Justine’s a real natural. She could be in an editing room for 23 hours. I, of course, am different.
DIAZ: Her skill set applies to the technical aspect of it, and you bring the emotional aspect to it as an actor, I imagine.
LAWRENCE: Yeah. When we were doing Causeway, it was our first time being hands-on producers on set. Actually being able to solve problems was the most cathartic experience, because as actors, it’s a bunch of problem-naming, but there’s no problem-solving. So being able to actually be like, “This is an issue, how can we think ahead and fix this?” instead of running around screaming, “We’re fucked!” is awesome.
LAWRENCE: And also, I’ve worked with people where it’s a good cop and a bad cop. Justine and I like to think that it’s good cop, good cop. You don’t have to be an asshole to get things done.
DIAZ: Absolutely. I kind of shy away from the question of, is it because you’re both women? But do you feel like women approach problem-solving in a different way than men do?
LAWRENCE: Women have been welcomed—I don’t want to say welcomed—allowed, into more parts of the industry. I can’t speak for every woman but there’s this extra gusto. You want to prove yourself, and you’ve had to do everything the hard way for a really, really long time. So you’re just used to not being able to ask somebody to do something for you.
DIAZ: Is there an idea of what kind of film you want to make?
LAWRENCE: It’s a combination of case-by-case and empowering new filmmakers. I remember when I was first auditioning there would be certain kids that, if I saw them in the waiting room, I knew, like, “Oh, fuck. I’m not going to get this one.”
LAWRENCE: It was always this recycled pool over and over again. It was kind of like, you have to be successful to get successful. I remember feeling that way getting into filmmaking. You can do so much more by widening the scope of who you’re looking at. And first-time directors don’t scare me, because I trust my experience and that empowers us to work with more people that haven’t had the opportunity yet.
DIAZ: That makes so much sense.
LAWRENCE: You’re doing it the lazy way when it’s like, “You’ve done this movie, you’ve done this movie, you’ve done this movie. So you know how to direct.” The harder thing is, “We’ve got this great story. Who can direct it?”
DIAZ: How can we support the vision of this director and get what they need to put it onscreen and along the way be able to give those directors the tools and the insight as to how films are made?
LAWRENCE: Yeah. And I can use my movie star-ness for good. You know, anything that the creative process wants, or a first-time director wants, I can just blame it on me and be like, “I’ll lock myself into my trailer until you—”
DIAZ: [Laughs] That can be your most powerful tool, right?
LAWRENCE: Yeah. You can blame everything on me.
DIAZ: One of the questions here is about having your child grow up with a famous parent. By the time your little guy is 15, do you think that you’re still going to be making movies? Or do you see yourself dipping out at any point?
LAWRENCE: I think about dipping out a lot when I’m working. I’m like, “I’m not going to be doing this forever. I’m tired. This is hard.” Then you take a few months off, you read something terrific, and you’re like, “Oh my god, I have to make this.” So I don’t know if I can answer that question. Of course, I’ve contemplated having a child that’s being born into a lifestyle that’s different from his friends. But kids have advantages and disadvantages when they’re born, all of them. The best thing I can do is just make sure he knows he’s loved, and that he’s our number one priority, and try to be a good example of kindness. I’m sure there will be challenges specifically from my choices and my lifestyle, and we’ll both have to confront that and deal with it when that day comes.
DIAZ: Even though your notoriety will always be attached to him in some way, I think that you’ve done a really great job at protecting him.
LAWRENCE: I do my best. I was so nervous when I was pregnant. I was getting paparazzi’d, and I was just like, “How the fuck am I not going to lose it on these guys when they’re taking a picture of my baby?” Then once he was here, I realized that my energy is more important to him than anything else. So if he feels that I’m anxious before I leave the house, or I’m angry when we’re outside, that’s going to impact him. So it’s actually done the opposite, where I’ve gotten a little bit more zen and a little bit more relaxed with getting photographed, because I don’t have a choice. You just have to accept it, and take a deep breath and walk. I don’t want him to inherit the anxiety and anger that I have.
DIAZ: That’s really good mommy-ing. I have this really silly question. If you could be anonymous for one day, what would you do?
LAWRENCE: Oh my god. I pretty much go about my life like I’m anonymous.
DIAZ: Yeah, me too.
LAWRENCE: I do this Jedi mind-trick on people, where I make them feel weird for thinking it’s weird to see a movie star. I’m like, “Yeah, what?”
DIAZ: I’m at your Starbucks. Who cares?
LAWRENCE: What? You don’t see that every day? What’s wrong with you?
DIAZ: Yeah. I’m at Target buying the same pair of jeans you are.
LAWRENCE: Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s not. Are you going to come up and ask?
DIAZ: I think that’s the perfect answer.
LAWRENCE: Yeah. It’d be nice to not have to think so much about what I’m wearing. It’s so funny when you just walk outside to take the trash out or something, and then Harper’s Bazaar is like, “Jennifer Lawrence is wearing flats.” I’m like, I’m not making a statement. I’m wearing flats.
DIAZ: That’s what I’m saying. Why care about what other people are reading into what you’re wearing, what you’re looking like?
LAWRENCE: That’s a constant. That’s me.
DIAZ: It’s okay. You’ll get there, I promise you. It comes with age, my darling.
LAWRENCE: So many great things are coming with age. I don’t know what I was so scared of.
DIAZ: Honestly, you shouldn’t be. I always say by the time I figure it out, it’s going to be gone. It’s a mystery all the way up until it’s just not anymore.
LAWRENCE: That’s funny.
DIAZ: How do you feel about all that? Do you want to dive into anything else?
LAWRENCE: No, I feel really good. And I’m so grateful to you.
DIAZ: Of course. It’s my pleasure. Alright, my dear. Love ya.
LAWRENCE: Love you. Bye.
Hair: Shay Ashual at R3-Mgmt
Makeup: Fulvia Farolfi using Dior Beauty at Bryan Bantry Agency NYC
Nails: Alicia Torello at Bridge Artists.
Set Design: Javier Irigoyen at Lalaland Group
Production: Hen’s Tooth Productions
Lighting Technician: Ariel Sadok
Digital Technician: Hope Christerson
Tailor: Shirlee Idzakovich
Photography Assistants: Tucker Vander Wyden and Kt Tucker
Fashion Assistant: Austen Turner
Hair Assistant: D’angelo Alston
Makeup Assistant: Robert Reyes
Set Design Assistants: Yoni Zonszein and Luis Hincapie
Post-Production: Two Three Two