Jayme Lawson has moved fast in her career, from graduating with an acting diploma from New York’s Juilliard School in 2019 to a leading role in the Warner Bros blockbuster The Batman in 2020. But she still feels she’s “faking it”.
Lawson was announced on The Batman cast list as “mayoral candidate Bella Real” and while there is no chance she would give anything away about the plot or her character, Ms Real is not a part of Batman’s iconic DC Comics stories.
She told The Hollywood Reporter: “To be honest, I am bluffing every day. And I think that ties in with my character. She’s gotta fake it till she makes it. She’s running up against the big dogs. And so there’s not much transformation that’s happening when I show up on set. I am surrounded by a lot of great talent and I’ve just gotta fake it. So I will be as nervous as can be, but I can’t let it be known. So I just do what I’ve gotta do. It’s working out so far, so that’s good.”
Lawson is soon to appear in a radically different movie to The Batman: Farewell Amor is an indie film that tells the story of an Angolan immigrant in New York. It opens on 11th December and the contrast with her next gig was startling for the industry “newbie”.
She went from a single-camera indie to a four-camera blockbuster in the blink of an eye
“Farewell Amor was my first time on a film set, so to jump into [The Batman]… The crew is huge, and the production is huge. (Laughs.) So in that way, it was as jarring as I expected. But I still felt welcomed and like I belonged, which I wasn’t expecting.
“As a newbie, as a freshman in this industry, I was really scared that when I got there, [director] Matt (Reeves) was going to look at me and be like, “Well, why did we hire her? What is going on? Get somebody else in the room.” (Laughs.) But it wasn’t that at all. I felt and still feel like I belong in those rooms.”
She was surprised to be cast in The Batman after auditioning for the casting director in September 2019. She’d hoped to just make enough of an impression to be in her mind for another project.
“So on a lunch break, I just went in and auditioned for Cindy [Tolan]. And then, maybe a few weeks later, they brought me in again with some new material. And then I didn’t hear until a month and a half later. So at that point, you think, “Oh, they’ve gone with somebody else. It’s done. It’s over.” So yeah, it had been a minute.”
Lawson, 19, said they hadn’t got much done on The Batman before COVID-19 hit and it had had an impact since production resumed.
“Now, during Covid, it’s just hard to have that kind of intimacy on a set right now and you can feel everybody wanting to,” she said. “When I went back out in October and I saw the crew, I almost cried because I hadn’t seen these faces in so long. Everybody wants to hug and touch and talk, but we’re on a tight schedule and we can’t because of protocols. But the feeling is still there and the desire is still there.”
As a fledgling star, it must have been intimidating to go on the set with the likes of Robert Pattinson, Colin Farrell and John Turturro in the early days. How did she calm her nerves?
“I don’t think I did. (Laughs.) I still haven’t. To be quite honest, I am bluffing every day.”
The Batman is scheduled for release on 4th March 2022.