There’s a lot of Brian Tyree Henry here Causeway. The film, which also stars Jennifer Lawrence and is the first title under her Excellent Cadaver production company, is a passion project for everyone involved, including its actors. After a pandemic halted filming on the New Orleans set, Henry and Lawrence found themselves just miles away from each other in Los Angeles and decided to rework the script, increasing James’s role to make the film more of a two-hander. As a result the script – and the character of Henry – drew a lot from his own life experiences.
“As I began my transition into this career that is quite prominent in film and television, I had a great personal loss, which was the death of my mother,” Henry said recently. Presented by THR Panel, powered by Vision Media. “And when we meet James, he works at an auto body shop, and this woman [Lawrence] Pulls and something happens and he sees something in her. I guess I, Brian, am hoping someone will do that for me.
Causeway Follows Lawrence’s character, Lynsey, who returns to her native New Orleans after suffering a traumatic brain injury during a deployment in Afghanistan. After meeting James, the two begin a budding friendship, bonding over their efforts to make their way in the world while fraught with shared sense of loss and grief. Henry’s character is disabled which added layers to the performance. “I used to carry my grief the way you saw it before you saw me,” said Henry. “I wanted to explore it with James to find out all these levels of what my grief was like. Because I was reading [in the script] A man who seems really good at covering up his wounds.
With a film this personal, it’s tempting to overstay its welcome for its creative past — especially once the awards buzz starts. But for Henry, it’s the way he measures up CausewaySuccess is simple. “Since the release of this film, the biggest takeaway I’ve seen is giving people the ability to come up to me and say, ‘I lost someone,'” he says. “It feels like people are putting their burdens down a little easier after this film, which is absolutely worth its weight in gold because what I really want, honestly, is to see people heal.”
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