September 17, 2012

INTERVIEW: Jennifer Lawrence on Gary Ross not directing Catching Fire: "I was devastated."

In a new great interview with Inquirer Entertainment, Jennifer Lawrence talks about how fame has changed her life, her initial reaction to finding out that Gary Ross would not be directing The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, and her thoughts on the new director, Francis Lawrence.

On Fame:
LOS ANGELES—“I’m young so I still have that meltdown potential,” Jennifer Lawrence said during our recent interview at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. “Stay tuned,” she added. 
Keeping a grip on reality, especially for a young woman like Jennifer—who was thrust into fame after bagging the Katniss Everdeen role in “The Hunger Games” trilogy—was the main subject of our conversation. It was brought on by the theme of her Toronto Film Festival entry, David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook,” in which a man (played by Bradley Cooper) returns home after a long stint in a mental health facility.
In a charcoal grey jumpsuit, Jennifer, a Kentucky native, often flashed her trademark knowing smile. She’s a no-nonsense, practical girl. 
The Golden Globe and Oscar best actress nominee for “Winter’s Bone” is back to being a brunette for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” the second movie in the trilogy based on Suzanne Collins’ book series. “I think dark gets more like, ‘Whoa!’ but that’s probably just because I’ve always been blonde,” she explained people’s reaction to her hair color changes. “No matter how many times I dye my hair black for the movies, my family still can’t get used to it. Every time they see me, they’re like ‘Whoa!’ I still have trouble getting used to it.” 
With a grin, she continued: “If I wake up in the middle of the night to pee and I see myself in the mirror, I’m always scared at first.” 
The actress maintained that nothing had really changed significantly for her. “Fame and celebrity are such simple, predictable things that I’m not totally in awe of them,” she said in her husky voice. “It makes complete sense. You have a job where people recognize you. For some reason, they think you’re not human. I do that, too, so I get it. I met John Travolta two weeks ago and I almost threw up. [But] I’m not really freaked out by it. It’s not really dramatic. I just move on.” 
There’s been only “one really traumatic day” for Jennifer and that was when “The Hunger Games” came out. She recounted, laughing: “I went to Whole Foods, like I did every morning, to get my coffee and a smoothie. There were 15 paparazzi. It happened so quickly—overnight. It’s jarring to watch these freedoms in [my] life being taken away. Two weeks ago, I made the mistake of thinking I could pump my own gas. It’s heartbreaking.” 
She clarified: “At the same time, it’s not as dramatic as you think because it happens only in LA. As soon as I’m out of LA, it’s over and gone.” 
Jennifer revealed that she didn’t have famous friends to advise her. Not that she’s griping. “There are normal friends that I’ve had for most of my life. I find that it’s more comforting to keep things the same and just be normal, than to have people tell me how to act now that I’m famous.” 
Now chuckling, the actress said, “Well, my hotel rooms are nicer; the apartments, bigger. A friend told me that, for her, that was the only thing that had changed. I was wondering how my fame had affected my friends. They were like, ‘We’ve got nicer places to hang out.’” 
Home for Jennifer is still the two-bedroom condo in LA that she’s had for several years. “It’s the same place since I moved to LA,” she pointed out. “It’s pretty low-key. I should probably get a house but I don’t really know if I do want to live in LA. I don’t like going out that much. I’m kind of an old lady. After 11 p.m., I’m like, ‘Don’t these kids get tired?’” 
Reminded that she’s only 22, the “old lady” smiled and remarked: “I know! Every time I’m out, I think about my couch. I’m like, ‘That would be awesome right now—I bet there’s a new episode of ‘Dance Moms’ on [or] a new episode of ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ that I’m missing. I’d like people to come over to my place. My condo is the reality TV show cave. I just learned how to work TiVo—that has changed my life. I don’t even want to work anymore.” 
That’s her “silver lining”— watching reality television. She dished: “At the end of the day, nothing makes me feel better than junk food and reality TV.” 
Even with her reported eight-figure pay for the “Hunger” sequel, Jennifer admitted that she still often experienced what she called “phantom pockets.” She explained: “I’m in the grocery store and I’m like, ‘$12 for a case of water? That’s crazy.’ But I get valet. I used to always drive, never valet, because it was like $6 which really means $10 because it’s embarrassing to ask for my change.” Again laughing, she said, “Now, I valet. I tip a lot bigger because that’s fun.” 
Asked about the strangest fan mail she ever got, Jennifer answered: “Probably the ones that are addressed to my home and arrive in my home mailbox—which is very unsettling and bizarre. Then in the entire letter, they’re telling me how it’s not crazy that they got a hold of my home address. 
On Gary Ross and Francis Lawrence:

Jennifer revealed she was “devastated” when “The Hunger Games” writer-director Gary Ross decided not to return for the second film, which Francis Lawrence is directing. “When I first heard the news, I was devastated because I adore Gary,” said Jennifer. “I didn’t see it coming. I couldn’t understand. I called him and he basically said, ‘I don’t have time to give 100 percent to this movie.’ My devastation was replaced with respect for him for stepping out when he felt that he couldn’t give his all. So, as much as I miss him, I completely respect him for making that decision.” 
Of the new director, she said: “Francis is absolutely amazing. The actors feel very free; he’s not controlling at all. He knows everything inside and out so you feel supported. I’m really happy.”


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