In Netflix's Lou, Allison Janney takes on a role unlike any in her accomplished career: action star. The film sees Janney play the titular Lou, a woman who thinks she's put her dangerous past behind her only to have her peace interrupted when a desperate mother — played by Jurnee Smollett — begs for her help finding her kidnapped daughter. As part of their journey, the two women face major risks and obstacles and in making the film, Janney and Smollett performed nearly all of their own stunts. For Janney, playing Lou was an exciting challenge and one that she enjoyed taking on.
"It was an exciting thing for me to take on, because I've always wanted to do this genre. I've never done it, never got the opportunity. I was like, who's going to give a 62-year-old woman the opportunity to be an action star," Janney told ComicBook.com. "J.J. Abrams comes along with this incredible script with Anna Foerster directing it and Jurnee Smollett coming along and on this journey with me. I loved it. I've always been very athletic and physical, and I did a lot of training with Daniel Bernhard our fight choreographer, stunt choreographer. It was great fun. I loved the training. It made it more fun to work out because I don't like to work out really at all, but somehow when you're getting paid to do it, it's really fun. This is my job, to workout. I loved getting paid to work out."
For Smollett, she came into her role in Lou having already played another action-oriented character, Dinah Lance/Black Canary in Birds of Prey and Smollett told us that while her character in Lou is different from Black Canary, they share some core elements as well.
"I think with Hannah in Lou, she's a survivor. She comes from a very broken background and a very abusive background, but she is so resilient and it's really that resilience that women have that we really wanted to tap into with this story," Smollett said. "While these women feel so very different, there's a lot more in common that they have together, and they find this out when they're forced to work together and work against the elements and work against conquering this villain."
She continued, "While yes, my research for Hannah was very different than my research reading a bunch of comic books for Black Canary, I think it's about just tapping into the truth of the color of womanhood and how complex it can be. For Lou, she's spent her whole life in service. For Hannah, she's dedicated her life to motherhood. It's a very different conversation we're having about womanhood in the film."
Here's how Netflix describes Lou: "Thinking she'd put her dangerous past behind her, Lou (Allison Janney) finds her quiet life interrupted when a desperate mother (Jurnee Smollett) begs her to save her kidnapped daughter. As a massive storm rages, the two women risk their lives on a rescue mission that will test their limits and expose dark and shocking secrets from their pasts. Academy Award winner Allison Janney and Emmy Award nominee Jurnee Smollett star in Lou, alongside Logan Marshall-Green and Ridley Asha Bateman. The film is directed by Anna Foerster from a screenplay by Maggie Cohn and Jack Stanley, with Bad Robot's JJ Abrams, Hannah Minghella, and Jon Cohen producing."
Lou debuts September 23 on Netflix.