First look at Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in The Hunger Games

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Hunger Games fans, fear not! When news first came out that Jennifer Lawrence was cast as Katniss Everdeen, true fans of the Suzanne Collins novels were in an uproar but after seeing the latest issue of EW, they have nothing to worry about!

In the new issue, Lawrence talks about her first encounter upon meeting director Gary Ross:

“He was asking me what the experience was like,” she recalls, “and I just kind of opened up and said, ‘I feel like a rag doll. I have hair and makeup people coming to my house every day and putting me in new, uncomfortable, weird dresses and expensive shoes, and I just shut down and raise my arms up for them to get the dress on, and pout my lips when they need to put the lipstick on.’ And we both started laughing because that’s exactly what it’s like for Katniss in the Capitol. She was a girl who’s all of a sudden being introduced to fame. I know what that feels like to have all this flurry around you and feel like, ‘Oh, no, I don’t belong here.’”

On getting the lead role in the film:

She describes her response as a mixture of elation — and desperate anxiety. “I knew that as soon as I said yes, my life would change,” she says. “And I walked around an entire day thinking ‘It’s not too late, I could still go back and do indies, I haven’t said yes yet, it’s not too late.’”

On the character:

“I love this story,” she says, “and if I had said no, I would regret it every day.” After officially signing on, Suzanne Collins herself called to offer a starstruck Lawrence her most hearty congratulations. “I feel like when you said yes,” the author told her, “the world got lifted off my shoulders.”

And for a refresher, here’s The Hunger Games‘ full plot:

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. Part twisted entertainment, part government intimidation tactic, the Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains.

Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

THE HUNGER GAMES will be directed by Gary Ross, and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. Collins’ best-selling novel, which has over 3 million copies in print in the United States alone, is the first in a trilogy of novels which have developed a global following.