Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Lawrence during the Red Sparrow photo call at The Corinthia Hotel in London.
Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Lawrence during the Red Sparrow photo call at The Corinthia Hotel in London.

Joel’s deadpan response to dress furore

JOEL Edgerton has weighed in on the controversy surrounding Jennifer Lawrence's outfit at a press event for their new movie, Red Sparrow.

Pictures from the event were labelled "quietly depressing" on social media because they showed Lawrence in a skimpy dress surrounded by her male co-stars from the movie who were all rugged up in the freezing London weather.

Francis Lawrence, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton and Jeremy Irons during the Red Sparrow photo call.
Francis Lawrence, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton and Jeremy Irons during the Red Sparrow photo call.

So what does Edgerton make of the drama?

"I don't know that Jen gets up and checks the weather. Maybe that's the problem," the Aussie actor deadpanned to news.com.au.

"Maybe she needs another person to check the weather for her. And besides, you didn't see the bikini that I was going to wear," he joked.

"But if you're asking me why I didn't give Jen my coat, I was scared the designer [Versace] was going to hate my guts for covering up the beautiful dress.

"I said to Jen jokingly that it seemed like the fact that there were men in coats was one part of the story, the fact that Jen was in her dress was another part of the story, and the fact that we were in London and it was cold became another part. All of those elements created this controversy.

"But the thing is, there is a certain expectation for women [to look glamorous]. And look, I am sure there are a bunch of people who would have found reason to criticise it if Jen was wearing a pair of Levi's or track pants and a duffel coat."

But surely there would have been a happy medium between track pants and a cut-out dress?

"I don't really know the answer. I felt she looked beautiful," he shrugged. "I also think part of the question is that women shouldn't dress a certain way if it's in relationship to the whole conversation around the hashtag #MeToo and the general abuse of men. In some circles of the world, there's a lot of victim shaming with women."

Jennifer Lawrence plays a Russian spy in Red Sparrow.
Jennifer Lawrence plays a Russian spy in Red Sparrow.

Edgerton's tone turned serious.

"I don't know why more people aren't banging a drum about a documentary that really affected me, that should be re-released, called The Hunting Ground." The 2015 film delves into rape crimes on US college campuses.

"One of the most startling things in that was hearing how these young girls, after horrific experiences, would go off to the university help centre and go, 'I was abused,' or 'I was raped,' 'I was date raped,' or 'I was drugged and raped.' And they would go, 'Well, what were you wearing? Had you been drinking? Did you know the guys?' F**k all that. They aren't arguments for leniency at all.

"So if the question about whether an actress dresses a certain way says that she can't be a spokesman for the strength of women, but also look gorgeous, then that also becomes a problem," he said. In further defending Lawrence, he added: "I think that everybody has a right to flaunt whatever they got. And if I was 15 years younger, I would have worn a pair of shorts that day too."

Lawrence has since fought back against the "outrage" and stated that not only will she wear whatever she wants but that it is also her choice to be cold.

"There is a fearlessness to her," Egderton said about his co-star.

"She is drawn to controversy and drawn to being assertive, so that when someone tells her something that she doesn't appreciate, she will tell you right to your face that she doesn't like it.

"A journalist asked her the other day how could she be outspoken about what's going on in Hollywood when there is a line of dialogue in Red Sparrow that reads, 'Nothing beats a blow job.'"

Edgerton laughed. "Well, she tore him apart. I think actually they are still wiping the blood off of the ceiling. Jen will call you out if she thinks or sees something but I have never been on the receiving end of it."

Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton in Red Sparrow. Picture: 20th Century Fox Films
Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton in Red Sparrow. Picture: 20th Century Fox Films

Lawrence famously wrote the much-quoted 2015 essay Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-stars? which became a catalyst for women to speak up about pay disparity, in and out of Hollywood.

Edgerton joked: "Well, I am angry that Jen got paid like 50 times more than me!

"I am rattling the cage for our second tier male actors right now. It's like, if you want equality then hey, cough up!"

There was also much ado about Lawrence's nude scenes in Red Sparrow.

Edgerton said: "There's a lot of graphic sexual content, but this movie isn't like Sliver or Basic Instinct. They were sexual thrillers, and this is not that. This is about showing the degradation in order to load up her vengeance for the men. So I am happy that they treated it in a way that wasn't titillating.

"Those kinds of scenes are very uncomfortable and I know what it feels like."

He leaned forward. "Even doing the torch scene in my underpants, I don't feel great on those days. And thank God the German guy (Schoenaerts) let me keep my underpants on!"

 

Red Sparrow opens in Aussie cinemas on March 1.


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