How No Hard Feelings got Jennifer Lawrence back to making movies

Jennifer Lawrence in No Hard Feelings
Jennifer Lawrence in No Hard Feelings (Image credit: Sony Pictures)

For much of the 2010s, Jennifer Lawrence was one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood, starring in major blockbusters and Oscar-contending movies. But the actress has been appearing much more sparingly in recent years, including taking a break from acting. That was until No Hard Feelings came about.

Though her first credit goes back to playing a high school mascot on the popular TV series Monk in 2006, Lawrence's big break came a few years later when she landed the lead role in the indie movie Winter's Bone. After landing an Oscar nomination for the movie, Lawrence then hit superstardom with roles in X-Men: First Class and The Hunger Games, as well as becoming the second youngest Best Actress winner ever for Silver Linings Playbook. Between 2010 and 2019, Lawrence starred in 20 movies, racked up four Oscar nominations (and the one win) and had multiple box office winners.

Since 2019, Lawrence has been in just two movies, Netflix's star-studded Don't Look Up and Apple TV Plus' Causeway. As she told People magazine in an interview, she wasn't necessarily searching for her next project.

"I had taken time off and I was planning on having even more time off; I definitely wasn't planning on going back to work," Lawrence said. Then she was given the No Hard Feelings script from writer/director Gene Stupnitsky.

"I read it and it was the funniest thing I'd ever read and I just wanted to make it right away," Lawrence explained. "We were on set like four months after I read it."

No Hard Feelings sees Lawrence play the character of Maddie, a broke Uber driver on the brink of losing her home. To try and get the money to save it, Maddie takes a job offer from a pair of helicopter parents to date their introverted 19-year-old son and bring him out of his shell before he heads off to college. In addition to Lawrence, the No Hard Feelings cast includes Andrew Barth Feldman, Natalie Morales, Matthew Broderick and Laura Benanti.

Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman in No Hard Feelings

Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman in No Hard Feelings (Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Reading the script was not the first time that Lawrence was told about the project. Talking with Entertainment Weekly, Lawrence shared that Stupnitsky had previously told her about the real-life Craig's List ad the story was based on and how she "died laughing." But that was a few year's prior. It wasn’t until she got the official script that Lawrence was ready to go full steam ahead on the project.

Lawrence may never return to her prolific outputs of the 2010s, but No Hard Feelings is the first of many movies the actress is slated to star in over the next couple of years. Per IMDb, she has five movies that she is in line for, including a remake of East of Eden and Burial Rites, which is being directed by Call Me By Your Name's Luca Guadagnino. She has also teased she's open to reprising her role as Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games franchise.

No Hard Feelings opens exclusively in movie theaters in the US on June 23 (June 21 in the UK).

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.