Red Sparrow director on Jennifer Lawrence’s racy scenes and why he cut Vladimir Putin from the movie

Francis Lawrence tells RadioTimes.com why he chose not to politicize his film by casting the Russian president

Jennifer Lawrence and Francis Lawrence, Getty, SL

Red Sparrow has experienced its fair share of heat during its publicity tour, from Jennifer Lawrence’s chilly rooftop photoshoot to the actress defending her nude scenes ahead of the movie’s release.

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The film sees the Oscar-winner play Dominika Egorova, a Russian ballerina who, after a career-ending injury, trains as a Sparrow – a government spy taught to use her body to extract top secret intelligence.

For Lawrence – who found fame in The Hunger Games and the X-Men movies – it contained more daring scenes than viewers are used to seeing her in. But director Francis Lawrence tells RadioTimes.com that he and his leading lady were committed to the physically demanding tale from the moment they took it on.

“When she read the script she had to make the decision of ‘listen, do I want to make this movie or not?’ and she knew that ‘either I make it and I do what’s in the movie or I don’t do it. I’m not going to take this movie on and then say I’ll do it but just take all this other stuff out’.”

Director Lawrence – who worked with Jennifer on the Hunger Games – also discussed his decision to remove Vladimir Putin from the plot of the movie, despite the Russian president appearing in Jason Matthews’ book on which the film is based.

“There’s two big things. One is I don’t view it as a political film – I love the human story of it. The other idea was that as soon as you have an actor portraying somebody that’s very well known within the world, I think it starts to feel like a very different kind of movie and suddenly it would be very distracting… It would just feel like a different kind of film and I wasn’t interested in that. I was just interested in the human characters within the story.

“It starts to feel political and I just don’t see the movie as a political film.”

For more from Francis Lawrence – including the gruesome scene he edited out of the film – click play on the video above.

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Red Sparrow is released in UK cinemas on 1st March