Hollywood Confidential

Published: Thursday November 20, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday November 20, 2014 MYT 8:49:43 AM

Jennifer Lawrence’s fame game

Her saving grace: ‘Every part of me feels fulfilled though acting,’ says Jennifer Lawrence. -AFP

Her saving grace: ‘Every part of me feels fulfilled though acting,’ says Jennifer Lawrence. -AFP

Having a good sense of humour helps Jennifer Lawrence survive the fame game.

Is she the biggest star in the world today?

That’s the buzz at the London premiere of her latest Hunger Games movie.

But tell it to Jennifer Lawrence and she’d laugh in your face.

She may not take herself too seriously, but she knows exactly what she wants and she’s determined to get it. 

After her first Oscar nomination for Winter’s Bone, she was chosen by Bryan Singer to play Raven/Mystique in the X-Men sequels and then, as if by a stroke of providence, she landed her career-defining role of Katniss in The Hunger Games.

In between, she snuck in her two Oscar-nominated performances in Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle.

In London for the international press junket for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (Part 2 will be released late next year) she’s as sprightly as ever.

How important is The Hunger Games to you?

I probably wouldn’t be working as much if I wasn’t in The Hunger Games, but even though it’s completely a passion of mine and I love it and I love the character and couldn’t be happier to be a part of it, I did want some time in between to show audiences that I can also do other characters. 

I didn’t want it to be my sole identity. So it was important to get some smaller, different things in between.

​​Is there a downside to fame?

A loss of privacy and control over things that, just out of human decency, you should have control over. 

I love what I do. But the technology has changed a lot, the media has changed, but the laws haven’t changed at all; so it’s become really difficult. 

Being chased every day, it takes a toll on you, it’s a feeling of being invaded, of being alienated. I feel like I have to give up some things that I shouldn’t have to give up.

Your character in The Hunger Games, Katniss, has also changed?

That’s what’s great about making these films: you are growing with somebody and growing into somebody. 

You’re playing the same character that is growing and changing, and this time she is somebody who is completely lost, and has to rehabilitate and rebuild herself.

​​Do you share Katniss’s leadership qualities?

I guess I can be equally bossy, but being a leader is not something you can claim for yourself. 

I mean, I am just an actress, not the leader of anything important, but I knew that becoming a role model was going to come with this job, and if young people are listening to you, you have be careful about what you’re saying, which is not my strong suit, so I’m trying to work on that. 

Sometimes it’s frustrating because there can be so much backlash for just saying something silly.

You evoke tears so easily on screen. Is that also true in real life?

I don’t really cry very much in real life, and there are times when I struggle to cry, but having empathy for somebody else is always easier than having sympathy for yourself, and that’s all that acting is, understanding somebody’s situation and taking it in and having sympathy for that. 

So, it’s  actually easier for me to cry on camera than it is in real life.

You obviously have a good sense of humour – are you consciously aware of that?

Yeah, humour has helped me survive; my dad has this sense of humour and he’s taught me to just laugh at myself.  

I guess I can have an intellectual conversation with somebody and it can be fun for five minutes, but at the end of the day I just want to get back to laughing.

What was the stupidest question you were ever asked?

I don’t want to hurt this person’s feelings but I was doing a red carpet and one person went, “Jennifer, in The Hunger Games films you always wear a Mockingjay pin on your clothes but your clothes are so tight in Catching Fire, did you have to pierce it into your skin?”  

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by art of any kind, music, an amazing movie, or a beautiful painting, or watching somebody dance or do something physically that I could never dream of doing.

You have said that you eat spaghetti and meatballs for breakfast. How do you maintain your weight?

On these movies I really don’t need to because they’re so physical. 

I am 24 and I’m going to hang on to this metabolism for all it’s worth. I know one day I’ll have to diet but not today.

What keeps you grounded?

I don’t know, I think I have perspective. I didn’t grow up in this business, I didn’t even grow up in LA; I grew up in Kentucky and I didn’t really become successful until a few years ago. 

So I’m very aware of what the real world is, and how much things cost. A lot of anxiety comes from something as simple as going to the grocery store. I have nightmares all the time that I’m just walking through a shopping mall and all of a sudden people start surrounding me, and there’s nowhere I can go. 

Sometimes, I have to call one of my friends and say​:​ “Could you pick me up some bananas because I don’t want to go to the grocery store.” 

I​f you hadn’t become an actor what might you have done?

I don’t think I could have done anything else. Everything in my being, everything in my mind, the way that I think, my memory, every part of me feels fulfilled though acting. 

Acting for me was my saving grace. I don’t know what else I could really do.

Philip Berk, eight times president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, hobnobs with celebrities to report exclusively from Los Angeles. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 opens in cinemas nationwide today.

Tags / Keywords: Jennifer Lawrence, fame, The Hunger Games, Mockingjay, surviving fame, acting, inspiration, interview

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