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Viola Davis, Jennifer Lopez Are Rogue, Vigilante Moms in ‘Lila & Eve’ Thriller: ‘This Is the Grittiest I’ve Ever Been’

TheWrap speaks with the two powerhouses on the eve of the debut of their Sundance film, which reteams the actresses for first time since 1998’s ”Out of Sight“

Jennifer Lopez and Viola Davis reunite onscreen for the first time since 1998’s “Out of Sight” for dark revenge movie “Lila & Eve,” which premieres at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday evening.

“I think this is the darkest, the grittiest I’ve ever been,” Lopez told TheWrap on Friday.

Davis, a producer on the film, plays grief-stricken Lila, a mother who has lost her teenage son to gang violence. In a support group, she encounters Lopez’s Eve, who has similarly lost a little girl.

“I did understand the emotions,” Lopez said, “being a mom and loving your child the way you do. What [my character] loses, it’s unspeakable. For me it was about digging into being a single mom, that loneliness, trying to do right by that.”

Alone with their rage and sorrow, it doesn’t take much to spur the duo to action.

“I wanted to create something where it was not a Hollywood version of what it means to seek revenge and to go on after the loss of a child,” Davis told TheWrap. “The posters show there’s a sense of ‘Thelma and Louise’ — badass women with leather jackets and guns and all of that — but I didn’t want it to be that, I wanted to see the heart behind all of that. So that’s what the film tries to do.”

The movie evokes the general badassness of films like “Thelma & Louise,” and the two stars embrace it — just don’t expect a silver lining. The film, an acquisition title repped by CAA, stirred up journalists in Park City with its frank depictions of violence.

“There’s a slight anxiety there,” Davis admitted, “but just slight. I wanted to really pay homage to these parents and what they went through, and the best way to do that is to accurately portray these stories.”

Lopez agreed that multiple shootings throughout last year that have sparked civil unrest and gun control conversations “are completely tragic. Mothers are losing their sons. But this is life.”

And about that silver lining or slick ending, there won’t be any convertible sailing over the Grand Canyon.

“I realized that there is no recovery. There just isn’t,” Davis said of both Lila and Eve. “There is a numbness. There is trying to navigate your way through the anger, which is prevalent. And there is no moving on. It’s almost like, you have to make peace with the face that it’s just always going to be with you.”

Then again, its not all shadows and vendettas for the two actresses, who met on the set of director Steven Soderbergh‘s “Out of Sight” — notably Davis’ film debut.  Seventeen years later, Davis is a bona fide star with two Oscar and three Golden Globe nominations and Screen Actor’s Guild Award win this year, and actress-singer-dancer Lopez is a massive triple threat, but their working-actress bond still exists.

‘My rapport with Jennifer is wonderful,” Davis said. “Her willingness to do this. She was the actress who said, ‘I will do anything. I love the script, I have children of my own. My heart is with this character.’ And I thought to myself, ‘That’s a perfect start.'”

Lopez agrees: “There is a certain element of fun, especially being with Viola and getting to [that moment of action]. There’s definitely a lot of talk, but these women are about action, and there’s something exciting about that.”