February 04, 2013

INTERVIEW: Jennifer Lawrence talks about returning to Katniss for 'Catching Fire' & directing in the future

In a new interview with Collider, Jennifer Lawrence talks about working on Silver Linings Playbook, her two Oscar nominations, filming The Hunger Games, returning to Katniss for Catching Fire and her plans for the future.

Why were you hesitant about taking on the role of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games?

LAWRENCE: Because it’s really rare in your life that saying yes to something will completely change your life. I was happy with my life and I just didn’t know if I wanted it to change. I’ve always had this imaginary future in mind where I would be a soccer mom that drove a mini-van and my kids were normal and I had the same family that I grew up with. That just didn’t fit with taking on a giant franchise. So, I took three days, and each day was a different answer. I finally talked to my mom. I had only really done indies before that, and she said, “Every time people ask you why you don’t do studio movies, you always say that it’s because you don’t care about the size of the movie, you care about the story and the character. But, you’re a hypocrite because now you have a story and a character that you love, but you’re not saying yes to it because of the size of it.” So, I said yes, and I haven’t regretted it. I expected to, but I haven’t, so far.
How do you feel about so many young women looking up to you now, since having taken that role? 
LAWRENCE: It’s exciting! It’s really nice. And I’m so happy that I don’t have a secret life because that would be so stressful.

What was it like to revisit the character for the second film, Catching Fire? 
LAWRENCE: If possible, there’s even less preparation because I was like, “I’ve done this before.” It was incredible because it was like going back to high school. We had a lot of the same crew, and obviously Josh [Hutcherson] and Liam [Hemsworth] were there. Normally, when I do a movie, I’m meeting people for the first time, so it was just amazing to be able to have the same group of people. It was so fun. And it’s a character that I love, and a story and message that I’m passionate about, so I haven’t managed to get bored. That’s a pretty hard character to get bored with, though.
When you’re acting, you seem to naturally be able to tap into any emotion. Does that just come easily for you? 
LAWRENCE: I guess, but I feel like everybody has that. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t take pictures. I’m a horrible photographer. There are people who are just so visual. My friend can write the most beautiful songs you’ve ever heard in your entire life, in 10 minutes. I could never do something like that. Everybody has their gifts. Fortunately, mine is very lucrative.

Are you going to continue to pursue indie films?
LAWRENCE: I still think of myself as an indie actress. The only actual studio movies I’ve done are The X-Men andThe Hunger Games. There’s a feeling when you do indies, when you’re on your 20th hour into overtime and everyone else is too, and everybody is freezing cold, and the only reason that you’re there is because of this passion for this tiny little thing that you love and you believe in, but you don’t even know if anybody in the world is going to see it or care as much as you do. You know that 100 people have the same feeling about this tiny little thing, and you can’t get that on a studio film. You can get different feelings from better food and bigger trailers, though.

Do you see a pattern in the type of roles you’ve played and that you’re attracted to? 
LAWRENCE: I think that good stories follow really strong characters. I remember Jodie Foster telling me that, one day, I was going to look back and see a pattern in the movies that I was doing, and that it would reflect something that was going on in my life that I didn’t really know about. I don’t know yet. When I look back at them now, it’s like I was a young person with way too much responsibility, and then I turned into an ex-sex addict. Hopefully, a few more movies will help give me a better perspective about what’s going on in my life and what that means.
Of all the characters that you’ve played so far, which is the one that feels closest to who you are? 
LAWRENCE: I don’t know. I think it’s dangerous to compare your characters to you, or try to make something about them come from you. I feel like it’s important for them to be a different person and a different entity. Tiffany didn’t react to anything the way that I would have reacted to it, and I would have never been able to do half the things that Ree or Katniss have done. So, I don’t know. I don’t ever really feel like I have anything in common with characters. It takes other people saying it. David O. Russell always calls me stubborn and tells me I have that in common with Tiffany. It takes other people to point it out. I don’t really know because I never really felt like, personally, I had a lot in common with any of my characters. When David wrote Tiffany, he had no idea who I was. One of my favorite parts of making a movie is creating this person, at the very beginning, and watching it evolve with the director and other actors, and then the costumes. They just kind of form.

Do you have any interest in directing? 
LAWRENCE: Yeah, I would love to direct. I’ve wanted to direct since I was 16 and I saw Lori [Petty] directing. And I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the best directors in the world that I can hopefully learn something from, but I don’t think I’m ready. I try to soak up and learn, as much as I can. I just don’t want to annoy anybody.

How does the Oscar nomination feel, the second time around? Are you enjoying it more, this time? 
LAWRENCE: I think I am, yeah. The first time, it was just terrifying. I was so new to the industry that it was my introduction into this business, which was terrifying. I felt like I didn’t really get a chance to enjoy it because I was so scared. Now, I’m still scared, but I know more people. And I know that I made it through the first time, so if I did it once, I can do it again. It’s an incredible honor. The first nomination hasn’t really set in. I’m afraid I’m going to go my whole life, just being scared like a Chihuahua. It’s not my comfort zone. Making movies is where I belong. I don’t belong on a stage. I shouldn’t be heard, just talking. So, when I’m doing movies, I’m really happy. That’s where I’m comfortable. That’s my home. When you put me on a red carpet or on a stage, I turn into Chihuahua Jennifer, so awards season is always terrifying for me.
Read the entire interview at Collider.


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