While Jennifer Lawrence was sharpening both her bow-and-arrow and ‘award winning’ acting skills for the highly-anticipated sequel to ”The Hunger Games”, one of her “Catching Fire” co-stars seemed intent on reminding everyone on the set of the solemn, serious-themed film that making movies is supposed to be fun.
While the Silver Lining’s Playbook” head-turner was as channeling her inner Ellen Ripley, co-star Woody Harrelson was helping keep her and fellow cast-members cooled with his Charlie Chaplin routine.
“Woody is the worst”, laughs Lawrence. “Josh [Hutcherson] and I are crafty at being bad, like we’ll be bad but then when they start rolling we’ll get it together. And when someone else is goofing off camera I can hold a face, I will not crack. Woody on the other hand is the worst, he will just lose it.”
Probably a good thing someone was providing the light entertainment on the set of director Francis Lawrence’s film, particularly on a film so solemn and staid.
This time, Katniss (Lawrence) finds himself participating in a new battle-to-the-finish ‘Hunger Games’ when President Snow (Donald Sutherland) manages a way to instate a ‘Quarter Quell’ competition that could change Panem – and Katniss – forever.
“This one is huge, and emotional,” The 23-year-old says of ”Catching Fire”. “We see so much more of the world – the districts and the capitol – everything is more elevated. The stakes are much higher. It’s a lot more heightened and more emotional. In fact, I was really surprised how emotional the movie was.”
But Lawrence doesn’t need Harrelson reminding her to have fun – she shares her co-star’s sense of pleasure for playing make believe.
“Nah.. it’s not difficult doing these movies, or playing the role…they’re fun for me, I didn’t find it hard at all. It’s just fun. I have an incredible director by my side, and great material to work from, so it was always fun – wasn’t very difficult at all.”
And how could it not be fun, says the actress, when she gets to wear some of the coolest garb this side of an Elizabeth Taylor exhibition.
The actress loved the “gold dress that we wore on the chariot – it made me feel really powerful. It was like a Gladiator thing. I love all of [the costumes].”
Not that Katniss playing a ‘girly’ girl in the film – far from it, in fact. One might even suggest her love interest Peeta, played by Hutcherson, is the series’ ‘damsel in distress’.
“Ha-ha! damsel in distress”, laughs Lawrence of the designation. “But makes a pretty good damsel in distress, you have to admit.”
Joining our heroine and her beloved this time around are a band of new faces. The arrival of such newbies as Jena Malone and Sam Claflin was initially a bit of a worry, says Lawrence.
“We have such a tight rapport, this group, that I was a bit nervous about (the new additions)”, she admits, “It was like getting step brothers and sisters, like ‘What’s gonna happen?’. But we were so relived to discover they were great; from the first day, everyone just mixed-in so well , we all got along perfectly. It was awesome.”
If the interview is anything to go by, Lawrence remains jovial and down-to-earth – even after winning an Oscar (For “Silver Linings Playbook”), but more so, starring in one of the most successful film franchises in recent history.
“My life hasn’t really changed at all since Hunger Games – well, maybe professionally I’ve benefited, but my personal life hasn’t changed at all. That helps!”.
“The Hunger Games : Catching Fire” is out now