At a bustling New York City movie theater, invitees gathered for the U.S. premiere of Red Sparrow, a new film starring Jennifer Lawrence. Red Sparrow follows the expedition of a young Russian ballerina turned spy, played by Lawrence, who is trained to seduce and manipulate an American spy played by Joel Edgerton. It’s an action movie filled with double-crosses, European exoticism, car chases, and impeccable style. Equal parts femme fatale and black widow, Lawrence uses her sexuality to conquer her enemies. While the movie is a serious, edge-of-your-seat thriller, the red carpet was all cheers and levity.

As guests collected their bags of popcorn and sauntered toward their seats, movie stars like Lawrence, Edgerton in Brunello Cucinelli, and Mary-Louise Parker in Adrian stepped onto the red carpet. Also in attendance was the movie’s director, Francis Lawrence. On why he decided to take on Red Sparrow, he explained, “I fell in love with the character Dominika. I am very attracted to lonely characters and isolated journeys. I also love survival stories, and though the spy genre is a very well-worn genre, I think that they tend to often be very political, or mission and action-based. This was a very different and easy way in. I was drawn to the character and the world I got to build and the unique qualities of it.”

On the Red Sparrow red carpet, Jennifer Lawrence wore a sheer black Dior haute couture gown and Lorraine Schwartz emerald jewelry. Lawrence explained that a large part of getting into character was about the costumes: “For me, the costumes are always incredibly important for building the character. That’s when I really start figuring out and feeling somebody, through the clothes. It’s paramount for me to have a good costume designer.”

Aside from costumes and her Russian accent, physically preparing for Red Sparrow was no small feat for the talented actress. “It was a lot of training. I had to really put the work in, and I had an amazing instructor. He taught me how to move my body completely differently. We worked for 3 months to literally move my arm differently.” That instructor was Kurt Froman, who also joined for the evening’s festivities. In collaboration with choreographer Justin Peck and American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Isabella Boylston, Froman trained Lawrence for her ballet routines. He explained: “Because Jen didn’t have any ballet training, we started from square one: alignment, where her arms needed to be, what angle was more beautiful. I explained the art form in the most basic language possible.” This also included extensive training on how to position her posture, fundamental ballet moves, and meetings with a nutritionist. For routines that were particularly challenging, Boylston stepped in as Lawrence’s dance double. On the red carpet, wearing a pink Valentino gown, Boylston remarked how impressed she was by Lawrence’s dancing. “She literally had to learn the choreography and had to perform in front of an audience. I can’t imagine how terrifying that would be. It’s terrifying for me sometimes, and I’ve been doing this since I was three! I really admire her gusto and willingness to go for it and try something new.”