Nina Jacobson on Jennifer Lawrence’s audition
Rewind to March 2011, when casting director Debra Zane, director Gary Ross and executive Rob Bissell were conducting auditions for more than 50 actresses for “The Hunger Games,” which was due to come out a year later. Zane was reading the scene in which Primrose Everdeen bids farewell to sister Katniss as she heads off to near-certain death at the 74th Hunger Games. Jacobson still remembers Lawrence’s performance.
“I teared up,” Jacobson recalls. “We had a lot of wonderful actresses at the audition, but it was game over at that point.”Jennifer Lawrence on returning as Katniss
“She really is the reluctant hero,” Lawrence says of her character. “She’s brave, but she’s also scared, and she knows that things may wind up being far worse.”
On the set, the actress is anything but reluctant about returning to the role, despite the pressure of portraying a screen personality that’s become iconic. “I love being here,” she allows. “It’s like going back to school where it’s a really fun school.”Nina Jacobson and Francis Lawrence on working with Jennifer Lawrence
“She’s not a diva — she’s the anti-diva,” she says of Lawrence. “One of my favorite moments is where she has the wedding dress on for the interview (scene) in ‘Catching Fire.’ It’s a big cumbersome dress, and she fell down, so we played that over and over on the monitors. There’s such a lack of pretense with Jen; she’s more than happy to laugh at herself.”
Jacobson recalls that one of the keys in choosing Lawrence was finding an actress who had not yet broken through in the public’s mind.
“We knew that we had to cast someone who wasn’t already strongly identified with another role,” she notes. “ ‘Winter’s Bone’ was an incredible audition. We wanted someone who was nurturing, with a sort of feminine ferocity.”
Francis Lawrence, who succeeded Ross as director for the franchise starting with “Catching Fire,” is equally effusive about his leading lady.
“Jen inherited me as a director, and was great about it,” he recalls. “I called her when she was in Prague, and gave her my pitch, and I was stunned at how easy that part of it was. She’s the most consistent person on the set.”Head over to Variety.com to read the full article.