HUNGRY TO STAY SMILING
Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 – but life is a challenge with the madness that surrounds her
It’s not Jennifer Lawrence who has changed – it’s the world around her. Or so she hopes. Still only 24, Lawrence has already won an Oscar (in 2012, for Silver Linings Playbook), a SAG Award, a BAFTA and two Golden Globes. She was also nominated for an Academy Award for Winter’s Bone in 2011 and last year for American Hustle.
There’s not been an actress her age who has enjoyed such critical and commercial success in so few years.
Her veteran Hunger Games co-star Donald Sutherland rapturously refers to her as “Jennifer Lawrence Olivier’’, while director of the first Hunger Games film, Gary Ross, said she’s a “once-a-decade’’ talent who gave the best audition he had ever seen.
Now, with the release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, she finds herself front and centre once more of a $1.5 billion franchise. But in August, Lawrence also tasted the dark side of fame she so feared when she took the lifechanging role of Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen after becoming the victim of a hacking scandal in which naked photos of her were leaked on to the internet.
With all that she’s experienced – mostly good and very little bad – can this unfailingly likable young woman from Kentucky remain genuine and unaffected?
“I hope so,” she says, in an earnest moment. “Sometimes it’s frustrating. There can be so much backlash for just saying something silly but then it’s confusing because everybody is like, ‘Don’t change.’ And then even I say to myself, ‘Don’t say that.’ But I can understand why it is difficult not to change because the entire world around you changes.”
Whether it’s falling up the stairs at the Oscars, clowning around with Jimmy Fallon, or crashing Hunger Games co-star Woody Harrelson’s Saturday Night Live monologue, Lawrence says her sense of humour has helped her survive the madness around her.
“My dad has this sense of humour and he’s always taught me to laugh at myself,” she says with a smile. “I really feel like I have to laugh every day. I can have an intellectual conversation with somebody but, at the end of the day, I just want to get back to laughing.”
Mockingjay, Part 1, on the other hand, is no laughing matter. For those unfamiliar with the best-selling young adult novels, the third and final book of the trilogy (which has been split into two movies a la Harry Potter and Twilight) is the darkest and most political. Director Francis Lawrence came on-board for the second chapter, Catching Fire, and has stayed for the final two episodes, shot simultaneously with a shared budget of $285 million ( Part 2 will be released November 2015).
The movie was shot in Berlin and Paris and introduces new cast members including Natalie Dormer ( Game Of Thrones) as rebel propaganda director Cressida, Julianne Moore as the president of District 13, Alma Coin and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee in one of his final cinema performances. (The Academy Award-winning actor died in February of acute mixed drug intoxication.)
The storyline leaves the arena of life and death survival and positions Everdeen as a symbol of hope in a revolution against the oppressive government of Panem. There are moments you could be mistaken for thinking you’ve turned on the evening news. The images of innocent civilians, wearing black bags and forced to their knees, are a reminder of gravely familiar acts of real-life terrorism.
“It’s hard not to feel that, being aware what’s going on in our own country and around the world,” Lawrence agrees.
“There are a lot of unfortunate parallels with our world and the world of Panem. The inequality between the rich and poor, the consequences of war. But it also addresses the importance of having a voice. That’s an important thing that I hope our younger generation takes away from this movie – that is, if you don’t have a voice, somebody will have it for you.”
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
stars Natalie Dormer and Jennifer Lawrence and is darker than the previous chapters.