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11 Facts About "Red Sparrow" That Will Absolutely Blow Your Mind


1. Red Sparrow is based on a book of the same name...

The book was written by Jason Matthews, who took up writing after completing a 33-year tenure with the CIA (just in case you didn't already feel like you're not doing anything productive with your life).

2. ...and the book is part of a trilogy.

Red Sparrow was published in 2013, followed by Palace of Treason and the upcoming third book, The Kremlin's Candidate.

3. Most of the characters, institutions, and scenarios in the book are based on real people, places, and events!

It's all based on actual Soviet spy activities that Matthews became familiar with during his time at the CIA.

4. "Honeypot" school was a real part of Soviet intelligence training. They taught young Russian women the art of entrapment, seduction, and blackmailing intelligence targets.

The candidates were really called "Sparrows," and the Sparrow School featured in the film is a real place that actually existed in the city of Kazan on the banks of the Volga River in Russia. We'll wait for a second while you search "honeypot spy schools near me." Go ahead. No rush!

5. The film's director, Francis Lawrence, has worked with J. Law previously...

They've already worked on three movies together, FYI. (Hint: They're about a girl who participates in some games while being very hungry.)

6. ...and he had J. Law in mind to play Dominika before they even began writing the script.

Lawrence discussed the book with her during the press tour for the third Hunger Games film. When she agreed to do it, he wrote the character for J. Law. But tbh, all characters are basically written for J. Law, aren't they?

7. J. Law was immediately drawn to the power of her character, Dominika.

"I would never put my character into a situation that I myself am not comfortable being in. But as you can see in the movie, it's this moment where she gains power, where she turns the table on the people that are trying to control her, and I felt that power." Preach, girl!

8. Joel Edgerton was also Francis Lawrence's first choice to play Nate Nash, the CIA operative in the film.

"Joel was my first choice for Nate," says the director. "[He] just has kind of an

organic honor to him and an honesty and he feels grounded, sort of very

earthbound, and I thought that was very important for that role so that you really

believe and understand where his allegiances lie and trust him.”

9. Edgerton was drawn to the film's more cerebral approach to the spy genre.

"I think it's somewhat more interesting that the operatives are not smashing cars and shooting machine guns. What they're doing is often a big psychological game of chess." Mmhmm. Yes. The sexiest game of chess ever.

10. The movie was filmed on location in Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, and London.

The filmmakers had originally planned to just pretend that Budapest was Helsinki (the setting in the book), but upon visiting the city, they decided to change the location in the story to "actually shoot Budapest for Budapest." More like Budabest, amiright?

11. And to ensure that her ballet performance in the film looked authentic, J. Law took three hours of ballet lessons every day for three months prior to filming!

Her dance partner in the film is played by famous Russian dancer Sergei Polunin, in his first film role. "Of course you're going to agree to do a movie if Jennifer Lawrence is in it!" he says. Same, Sergei. SAME.

Facts and images from 20th Century Fox

If you like edge-of-your-seat, totally-don't-know-what's-gonna-happen-next thrillers, then you're going to love Red Sparrow, in theaters everywhere March 2.

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