Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in "Serena"/Image © 2929 Productions
In the shadow of Jennifer Lawrence’s latest blockbuster success “The Hunger Games” sits another in-production project for the Oscar-nominated actress: “Serena” based on the novel by Ron Rash. Assuming that the movie will stick to the plot, here’s what’s set to unfold: Woman (Serena, played by Lawrence) marries man (George Pemberton, played by Bradley Cooper), and the pair move from Boston to the North Carolina mountains, where they set out to make a living in the timber business.
Life’s not all clean chops and woodchips, though, as the Pembertons struggle with the management of their employees while at the same time fighting off the environmentalists (in the ’30s? Indeed). So here’s the thing: Jennifer Lawrence fighting for what she believes in — in the woods, battling rattlesnakes and all kinds of danger — brought to mind her hunt for her father in 2010′s “Winter’s Bone.” Oh, but there’s more: Mr. Pemberton is father to a young boy — a son not borne of his new wife. No big deal, right? At least not until the Missus learns of her own infertility and, in a decidedly sort-of twist on “The Hunger Games,” sets out in a fit of jealousy and greed to murder her husband’s illegitimate young son.
Regarding Bradley Cooper, perhaps he and Lawrence fared quite well together in “The Silver Linings Playbook,” premiering later this year. Otherwise, he seems an odd choice for an early-America story of survival. Here’s hoping the opportunity demonstrates to audiences that his breadth is, indeed, quite expansive. In any case, sure, the immediate “Hunger Games”/”Winter’s Bone” comparisons being drawn here may be a little, ahem, ambitious. But excitement has set in, and Ron Rash’s novel is making the move to the top of the reading list.