Kentucky-born actress Jennifer Lawrence may be wielding a bow-and-arrow on the poster – and in the film – for her latest film, but the “Hunger Games” actress says she never saw the piece as an action movie.
“I saw this as a drama. I never saw this as a thriller or as an action movie or anything”, Lawrence, who plays contestant ‘Katniss’, in the Gary Ross directed film adaptation of the best-selling novel, says. “It’s not until now that it feels like, ‘Wow, this is huge!’”
Lawrence, who made her mark in the indy darling “Winter’s Bone” a couple of years ago, says she immediately felt a rapport between her and director Gary Ross.
“I knew that I had a really great meeting with him and we really hit it off, but that happens a lot and then you never hear from the people again,” the actress added. “Then I went into the audition and he was a lot nicer and everybody was kind of being more nice. But, I am so insecure that when people complement me, I am like, ‘You are just putting me down or you’re just being nice because then you’re going to never call.’ So I walked away thinking, ‘That was really nice that they would complement me so much before they greatly disappoint me.’ I just kept thinking they were softening the blow of not hiring me.”
Lawrence was hired and the rest is history.
Unlike other characters shes played, Lawrence was able to refer to the source material – the books by Suzanne Collins on which the film trilogy is based – to see where her character Katniss ends up. That mightn’t have always been the brightest idea, the actress admits.
“It was important to kind of leave that out of my mind, but at the same time, we are shaping a warrior,” Lawrence said. “So she had to be scared. She’s a sixteen-year-old girl fighting for her life. She had to be vulnerable because I never wanted anybody to feel, at any point during the Games, that she couldn’t die. I don’t feel like she felt like that for one minute, that she wouldn’t die. But at the same time, that kind of strength of a budding warrior, Joan of Arc, had to be there.”
But being so familiar with the books, Lawrence did recognize a fine adaptation when she read one.
“Reading the script was incredible. I called Gary right afterwards and I was like, ‘You did it,’ because it was nerve-racking. I was a huge fan of the books and I went into it, like a fan of the book, completely skeptical looking for every single flaw and I thought that it was absolutely beautiful and just marvelous. It was just a beautiful war drama.”
Much like Joan of Arc, Lawrence ended up with a few sore bones by the end of the shoot.
“There was running, free running, which is like agility, archery, combat, climbing and yoga”, she says of her training, adding that archery was her favourite “because it’s all a mind game and it’s all technique and when you get it wrong it with you on the inside of your arm and then you throw your bow. Then you have to do it again! But once you get it, when you get the technique and you can actually see something and be like, ‘I want to hit that,’ and then you hit it, then it’s great. I still have arrows in my car – Which is weird because I didn’t realize that until two of my friends were getting into the backseat of my car and they were like, ‘Why do you have spears back here?’ In case I get pulled over!”
“The Hunger Games” is now showing