Jennifer Lawrence recalled her body being at the forefront of conversations concerning her portrayal of Katniss Everdeen prior to filming The Hunger Games.
While her casting in the film is what brought Lawrence to mainstream fame and success, she shared with fellow actor Viola Davis that not all attention was focused on her talent. In fact, what people creating the film seemed to care about most was how Lawrence might alter her body to take on the role.
"There were so many different opinions on what is this, basically this action figure for children, gonna look like," she said in a conversation for Variety, noting that the book series had already garnered a young audience. "I remember the biggest conversation, of course, this was pre-#MeToo and I'm a woman so, it was weight, and you know, 'How much are you gonna lose?'"
Lawrence was 20 years old at the time and had fortunately considered the "awesome responsibility" that she was taking on by bringing Everdeen — a hero for young children — to life. Not only did she want to avoid dieting because she was "young and growing" herself, but also to avoid setting that example for those who would be watching.
"I don't know if I want all of the girls who are gonna dress up as Katniss to feel like they can't because they're not a certain weight," she said. "I can't let that seep into my brain either."
The actress hinted that the film's executives might have taken the movie's title to heart when considering what Everdeen would look like. "Well, it's called The Hunger Games," they had said. Nevertheless, the actress was focused on creating a positive role model on-screen, especially considering the lack of any similar representation.
"Nobody had ever put a woman in the lead of an action movie because it wouldn't work. We were told girls and boys can both identify with a male lead, but boys cannot identify with a female lead and it just makes me so happy every single time I see a movie come out that just blows through every single one of those beliefs and proves that it is just a lie to keep certain people out of the movies, to keep certain people in the same positions that they've always been in," she said. "It's just amazing to watch it happen."
Lawrence stayed with the franchise for four films, solidifying her identity as Everdeen. Now, at 32 years old, she's excited to see how others take on the same roles in the prequel set to release in 2023.
"Nothing has ever made me feel so old," she said.
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