To get right to it: Around here at Glamour, we're obsessed with The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins' best-selling fantasy series about a violent world on the brink of revolution. So is the rest of America. There are already more than 23 million copies of the book in print. And when the first film in the trilogy arrives in theaters, all eyes will be on 21-year-old Jennifer Lawrence, who beat out scores of young actresses for the kick-ass role of Katniss Everdeen.
The Kentucky-born Lawrence, who was nominated for an Academy Award last year for her gritty work in Winter's Bone, knows that her life is about to change. Big-time. The Hunger Games is being heralded as the next Twilight, with all of the box office expectations that entails. But instead of vampires, this story has a fight-to-the-death reality show, political conspiracies and the brutal deaths of small children. In other words, Lawrence isn't just playing the next Bella Swan; she's also playing the next Jason Bourne.
In the weeks leading up to the release of the film, Lawrence, who laughs often and quickly-at herself as much as everything else-has intentionally been taking it easy, hanging out with her friends, surfing, going grocery shopping and mentally preparing for what's to come. May the odds be ever in her favor.
Glamour:So, are you ready?
Jennifer Lawrence:I feel like I'm in the eye of the hurricane right now. I just recently started cleaning like I'm insane, and I'm starting to think it's my anxiety over the movie. I think it's a bit like, ''I'm just cleaning the refrigerator handle. The movie's not coming out. I'm going to clean it spotless, and my life will not change.'' It's just scary. I feel like I got a ticket to another planet and there's no turning back, and I don't know if I'm going to like that other planet or have friends there. It's daunting.
Glamour:But you thought about all of this before you took the job, right?
JL:I gave myself three days. I knew from reading the books that I loved The Hunger Games. I just didn't know if it was worth changing my life for. I'm at a peaceful place right now. The people who used to ignore me at parties, now they're nice to me and kiss my ass. But nobody's staked outside of my house. I wanted to make sure that when I said yes, I wouldn't regret it. And I don't regret it. I would have said no because I was scared, and then I would have been that bitter actress telling my grandkids, ''I'm the one who turned it down.''
Glamour:Being famous does seem crazy-making....
JL: In some ways, it's a hard life, but it's a great professional life. I'm doing what I love, and then I get months and months of rest. I have a lot of money for a 21-year-old. I can't stand it when actors complain.
Glamour:Gary Ross [the director] has said you nailed the audition. Did you know you were going to get the part?
JL:When I heard they were making the movie, I was like, ''Oh, that's nice-they're going to ruin another great book.'' But then I met Gary, and he was unbelievable and brilliant and genius. I thought our meeting went well, but I do have this mentality where I think I suck. So in my head, every time somebody tells me that I gave a really good audition, I think they're just being really friendly because they know I'll never work again.
Glamour:You've said before that if you don't get a part you really want, you worry that whoever does will screw it up. Did you feel that way about Katniss?
JL: This is why you don't do interviews when you're young. When I said that, I was just a cocky asshole. That was something I worried about when I was 14 or 15 and was an idiot.
Glamour:The books have a lot of violent parts. I'm thinking specifically of when Rue, the youngest competitor in the games, is killed. Was it harder to shoot those sections, to participate in them, than to read them?
JL:It's one thing when there's an 11-year-old being shot and dying in a book, and another when you are actually holding that 11-year-old. Even knowing it's all fake-it's just horrible. That was one of the hardest scenes I ever shot. When we shot it, we were like, ''People are going to walk out of the theater. This is absoulety awful. This can't happen.''
Glamour:The other deaths weren't as bad?
JL:Compared to that, the other tributes had it coming.
Glamour: So are you Team Gale or Team Peeta?
JL:I went back and forth. In the beginning, of the first book, I was Gale, Gale, Gale, and then when I was reading the parts about the games, I was like, Peeta.
Glamour:What sort of prep went into playing Katniss?
JL:It was just training, training, training. There was a lot of running. I've asked that the second movie have us walk in some scenes! I was trained by an olympian in archery. Unfortunately, I'm never really in any real-life situations where I can use it. I'm not like, ''Oh, a deer. Let me go get my bow and arrow.'' Or, ''It's OK. I know hand-on-hand combat.''
Glamour:The hand-to-hand thing could be useful one day.
JL:I hope not! I did give Josh [Hutcherson, who plays Peeta Mellark] a concussion, though. I did a death kick-a fake death kick, but the snap was perfect, right on the temple. His head swelled up. I started bawling. The next night Gary came into the trailer, and he's like, ''Hey, I don't want you to start crying again, but Josh can't work tonight because he has a concussion.'' I just broke out in sobs. I went up to Josh and said, ''I'm so sorry, I'm sorry.'' He was like, ''It's OK. It hurt you more than it hurt me.''
Glamour[:You must be in amazing shape.
JL:I hate saying, ''I like exercising.'' I want to punch people who say that in the face. But it's nice being in shape for a movie, because they basically do it all for you. It's like, ''Here's your trainer. This is what you can eat.''
Glamour:Is the food stuff hard?
JL:I don't diet. I do exercise! But I don't diet. You can't work when you're hungry, you know?
Glamour:Did you get to keep your bow and arrow?
JL:I have arrows! The other day my friends were in my car, sitting in the backseat with all my junk, and they're like, ''What are these? Spears?'' I'd been driving around with my arrows in the car. I'm not even sure if that's legal.
Glamour:You get to wear some pretty far-out clothes for the movie. Was that fun?
JL:Those were great because we had wrapped the woods scenes, and for two months I had been running around in cargo pants and a jacket. And peeing behind the bushes after a while gets tiring and exhausting.
Glamour:You had to pee in the woods?
JL:I didn't have to. I just thought they were cleaner than the Porta-Pottys. I was so ready for heels. I wanted to be in a dress. I wanted to put makeup on.
Glamour:You have two older brothers, right?
JL:Yep. I was a tomboy. I was the only girl, so nobody taught me how to put on a bra or wear lipstick. But my brothers are my biggest supporters. When I decided I wanted to act, they called my parents and were like, ''You guys have been to every baseball game with us. You traveled around the country going to sports games with us. This is her sport, and you have to do the same for her as you did for us.'' It was so great of them.
Glamour:You started acting when you were 14. What appealed to you so much about it?
JL:I read a script. I wasn't the best student. I got A's and B's, but I remember being in the classroom and looking around and being like, ''Oh, all of you get this'' and just feeling stupid. And then I read a script, and I just fell in love. I didn't feel stupid anymore. I just found something I was good at.
Glamour:Do you have ''Holy shit, I can't actually believe this is my life!'' moments?
JL:Yeah, I have those a lot. Just recently I started letting myself eating things from the minibar. When we were kids, we would never open the minibar. A $6 Snickers bar? But the other day I was in a hotel and I was staring at a Snickers bar, and I finally just ate it. Then it was like something in me snapped. I opened all these drinks. I thought: I can do it now. Now I'm a grown-up. I can eat things from the minibar.
Credit to: Glamour Magazine April 2012 Edition