A beautiful young woman with considerable ballerina training is transformed by her nefarious Russian superiors (through a covert-ops program) to be a world-class assassin and spy. Once a master of deception, however, she finds her allegiances torn between her cruel Soviet overlords and an American whom she’s tasked with handling — and with whom she falls into a relationship. Sounds like that long-awaited standalone origin story for Marvel’s Black Widow film starring Scarlett Johansson, right? And yet it’s actually the premise for the (oh-so-similarly titled) Red Sparrow, an upcoming “original” thriller headlined by Jennifer Lawrence and helmed by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence. And Fox has just released its first trailer.
In the above clip, Lawrence’s heroine is compelled to become a Soviet spy to save her mother — a job that involves her having to repeatedly take off her clothes and use sex to deal with her targets. Amid such erotically devious behavior (taught to her by Charlotte Rampling and Matthias Schoenaerts), Lawrence falls into an amorous affair with a CIA agent (Joel Edgerton), who clearly wants her to defect, in large part because he realizes (as Jeremy Irons’s bigwig intones) that she has a “soul” that makes her different than the rest of her “sparrow” compatriots. Cue lots of Cold War badassery, replete with Lawrence in an Atomic Blonde-ish blond wig.
Whether Red Sparrow can differentiate itself from its obvious fictional predecessors remains to be seen, especially since the project seems extremely indebted to Marvel’s preexisting character (who was even trained in a “red room”!). We’ll know soon enough