Red Sparrow director defends Jennifer Lawrence against “ridiculous” backlash to Joanna Lumley Bafta comments

Francis Lawrence was backstage at the film awards with the Oscar-winning actress

Jennifer Lawrence and Francis Lawrence, Getty, SL

Red Sparrow director Francis Lawrence has defended his leading actress, Jennifer Lawrence, over the backlash she received after her presentation of Outstanding British Film at the Bafta Film Awards on Sunday evening.

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Lawrence was introduced on stage by Joanna Lumley who called her “the hottest actress on the planet… the ravishing Jennifer Lawrence”, to which the Oscar-winner quipped: “That was a bit much, but thank you Joanna”.

Viewers were quick to pick up on the exchange, labelling the actress “rude”, but director Lawrence – who is no relation, but worked with his leading lady on three of the four Hunger Games movies – has branded the reaction to her comments “ridiculous”.

Asked by RadioTimes.com whether he felt Lawrence had received unfair attention from the press, he replied: “I do. That thing – I was there backstage [at the Baftas] and watching and I didn’t even catch that thing so somehow – how people found that moment to be insulting?”

He added that Lumley and Lawrence “had been talking backstage and had had a laugh and so there was a thing and sometimes people just don’t get the joke and are just a little too ready to be angry a little too quickly.

“I mean, it was pretty ridiculous to get angry over something like that.”

The director is re-teaming with Lawrence, who played Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games franchise, for the first time since final film Mockingjay – Part 2. Red Sparrow sees her portray Dominika Egorova, a Russian spy who falls in love with a CIA officer (played by Joel Edgerton) while on a mission.

“It was a blast – we love working together,” said the director. “I love working with her, she’s a fantastic actress and a lot of fun to make a movie with and so to do something completely different was really exciting, and also to see her do something different and push her into new territory was really exciting.”

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Red Sparrow is released in UK cinemas on 1st March 2018. Watch the trailer below: