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How Jennifer Lawrence stole her ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ role

Meriah Doty
Movie Talk
September 10, 2012

She made a last minute play for David O. Russell's "Playbook" and could wind up scoring big time.

In a film that has arguably won the most praise at the Toronto International Film Festival thus far and is getting early Oscar buzz -- Jennifer Lawrence has been pegged as a high point in "Silver Linings Playbook."

Lawrence, whose audition for the part of crazy girl Tiffany came pretty darn late in the process, blew away the competition. "We had our choice of a lot of terrific actresses, and Jennifer came in at the eleventh hour and just stole it," Russell told THR on Sunday.

And boy was there competition. According to IMDb, this is how casting went down: Anne Hathaway was first cast in the part of Tiffany but eventually declined due to scheduling conflicts. Angelina Jolie was said to have been considered along with Rachel McAdams, Olivia Wilde, Elizabeth Banks, Blake Lively, Rooney Mara, Kirsten Dunst and Andrea Riseborough.

Russell recalled Jennifer's last-minute audition as a moment of epiphany. "She Skyped from her parents' house in Louisville. We went, 'Oh my God, who's this person?' We didn't know she had all that in her," he said.

Critics are raving over the 22-year-old former Oscar nominee and "Hunger Games" franchise star for her portrayal as the only person in her Philadelphia suburb who can relate to recent mental hospital patient Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper). "And then there's Jennifer Lawrence, showing the fierceness and finesse on display in her breakout 'Winter's Bone,' but more so. Her character, like Cooper's, is a head case, and the no filters back-and-forth between them is exhilarating," wrote Steven Rea of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Also praised for her comedic timing, representing something that is brand new in Lawrence's professional repertoire, she gets to spin quick-witted lines like when Tiffany describes herself as a "crazy slut with a dead husband." Moira Macdonald of the Seattle Times wrote, "Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are quirky perfection together as two people struggling to put their lives back together."

Hitfix reviewer Gregory Ellwood is already talking Oscar: "Lawrence absolutely steals the movie... Her performance in 'Playbook' deservedly ranks alongside her Oscar nominated turn in... 'Winter's Bone.' It's not a reach to suggest her Academy peers may recognize her once more this January."

[Related: Jennifer Lawrence looks un-Lawrence-like at TIFF 'Silver Linings Playbook' premiere]

In the film adaptation of a Matthew Quick's 2008 novel, Cooper and Lawrence play society's rejects who find a safe-yet-scattered haven in their relationship. Pat (Cooper) is a jilted husband who suffers from bi-polar disorder, unable to become intimate with anyone besides his cheating wife, and Tiffany (Lawrence), who may be equally as looney, is determined to help him open up.

"Silver Linings Playbook," also starring Robert De Niro, lands in theaters November 21.

Watch 'Silver Linings Playbook' Theatrical Trailer

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