Director Francis Lawrence has addressed comparisons between Red Sparrow protagonist Dominika Egorova and Marvel's Black Widow, insisting the two characters are fundamentally different.
"There's people who think it's very similar to the Black Widow story," Lawrence told Screen Rant. "This is not pulled from BW, this is pulled from Red Sparrow. You know, it's just like written by a guy who was in the CIA. It's like, his references are coming from a very very different place from that. But there'll always be that. People like to put things in boxes, and I think is a really unique film. This is a thriller, it's not action, again it's not gadgety. It's a hard-R. There's violence, it's a bit perverse, it's suspenseful, a lot of intrigue. It's a very different kind of spy film."
Lawrence also talked about the presence of ballet in the film, one of the key points of comparisons between Dominika and Black Widow. "Most of the movie takes place after she's injured," he said. "There's a big sequence up front where we have a big ballet, choreographed piece that we worked quite hard on and Jen did a bunch of training for and we had great dance doubles and all that great stuff. Which is very cool, but no that's almost right away."
The director also addressed the comparisons to 2017's Atomic Blonde, which starred Charlize Theron, saying, "Some people aren't that aware of Atomic Blonde that won't see those comparisons right up front, at least in terms of some of the imagery."
Based on Jason Matthews' 2013 novel of the same name, Red Sparrow tells the story of Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence), who is recruited to the deadly "Sparrow School." Her loyalty becomes strained when she meets American CIA agent Nathaniel Nash. In addition to her ballet background, the comparisons to Black Widow come about due to the presence of brainwashing in her backstory and her ambiguous motives.
Opening March 2, Red Sparrow stars Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker and Jeremy Irons.