In 2013, Jennifer Lawrence can barely make a move — let alone a movie — without the world’s attention. That’s what you get when you star in a hit franchise (The Hunger Games, which releases its next installment in November) and win an Oscar for a much-loved indie (Silver Linings Playbook) in less than 12 months. But it wasn’t always that way.
In 2005, a full five years before her breakout role in Winter’s Bone, Lawrence was just an unknown 15-year-old landing bit parts in indie movies. One of them was The Devil You Know, a microbudget neo-noir loosely based on Mildred Pierce, starring Lena Olin as a reclusive movie star and Rosamund Pike as her daughter. (Lawrence had played a small role as the younger version of Pike’s character in flashbacks.) The movie didn’t find distribution and seemed destined to gather dust — until Lawrence’s newfound star power helped lift it off the shelves this year. Indie distributor Cinedigm/New Video recently announced that The Devil You Know will be available July 9 on a range of platforms, including iTunes and Amazon, more than seven years after it wrapped. ”I’m really glad it’s going to be able to be seen,” says director James Oakley, 35, who made Devil as his first project out of the American Film Institute’s directing program. He hit plenty of bumps along the way: Original star Lesley Ann Warren left the project abruptly and had to be replaced by Olin, and Oakley calls the editing process ”painful.” But he’s well aware that he lucked out in casting Lawrence. ”She was epic,” says the filmmaker. ”She was an instant pro. You just wanted to make the whole movie around her.” As for whether or not Lawrence is pleased to see Devil come to light, the actress isn’t saying; she declined to comment for this story. But it’s good news for her die-hard fans — not to mention her old director. ”It was such a nightmare getting this [movie] done and getting it out,” he says. ”I’m just glad there’s an ending to this story.”