There is a lot of Brian Tyree Henry in Causeway. This movie is also sponsored by Starring Jennifer Lawrence, the first feature from her Excellent Cadaver production company, has been a passionate project for all involved, including the cast. When filming on the New Orleans studio was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, Henry and Lawrence found themselves isolated in Los Angeles, within miles of each other, and decided to rewrite the script to strengthen James’ character and make the film more of a two-handed picture. The resulting screenplay — and Henry’s character — draws heavily from his own life experiences.
“As I began my transition into a career that was so prominent in film and television, I suffered a great personal loss, the loss of my mother,” Henry Said during a recent panel discussion at
THR Presents powered by Vision Media. “When we met James, he was working in an auto body shop, and this woman [Lawrence] stopped by, and something happened, and he saw something in her. I think I, Brian, was wandering around, Hope someone can do that for me.”
Follow Lawrence’s character Lynsey in the brain Returning to her hometown of New Orleans after trauma during a deployment in Afghanistan. After meeting James, the two began a budding friendship, bonded by a shared sense of loss and their attempts to find their way in the world in a situation filled with grief. Henry’s character is also an amputee, which adds layers to the performance. “I used to express my grief in such a way that you would see it before you saw me,” Henry said. “I wanted to explore with James and figure out all these layers of my grief. Because I read [in the script] about a man who seemed to be really good at hiding his wounds.”
For a film so personal, it’s tempting for the creators behind it to be wrapped up in its reception — especially when the awards show begins. But for Henry, the way he measures Causeway success is simple. “Since the movie came out, the biggest journey I’ve seen has been for people to be able to come up to me and say, ‘I’ve lost someone too,'” he said. “After watching this movie, it feels like a little bit easier for people to let go of their burdens, which is definitely worth it because honestly, all I really want is to watch people heal.”
This edition of THR Presents is sponsored by Apple TV+.