Sunday, December 17, 2017
Movies

'Hunger Games' star Jennifer Lawrence steps into blockbuster with anticipation, trepidation

By Steve Persall

Times Movie Critic

Jennifer Lawrence sounds relieved having only one voice in her ear for a few minutes.

She's calling from a quiet place in a South Florida shopping mall, another stop on a promotional tour for The Hunger Games giving Justin Bieber a run for his decibels. In a few minutes, thousands of fans will be shrieking their devotion to Lawrence, or at least her heroic character Katniss Everdeen.

The 21-year-old Oscar nominee is where only Kristen Stewart and Emma Watson have been before, in a spotlight blazing with anticipation, before a built-in audience of readers raring to be thrilled at the movies.

Lawrence isn't sure if her ears, or her career, can handle it.

"It's crazy. I had no idea what to expect," she says. "There's a lot of crying and just so much more screaming than I expected. Good screaming, I hope. I mean, they're not screaming at me but for me."

Before the din begins again, Lawrence frets about success, ponders the change it brings and reveals that Katniss is actually a budding couch potato, in these interview excerpts:

This is a terrific role in a guaranteed blockbuster. Why were you hesitant at first to take it?

I was just scared. There was never any doubt in my mind that these movies wouldn't be great. As an actress I was just afraid that I'd be so known for one role that nobody would ever be able to lose themselves in another character: 'Oh, look, it's Katniss playing in a period drama.'

Obviously that's scary. It's a different path than I had expected. I was going to keep doing indies and maybe a few studio movies once in a while. Just live a simpler life than joining a huge franchise. The day will never come when I say I've graduated from indie films, but this may make it harder.

What concerns you most about what's happening with your career?

All this anxiety I'm getting is not about whether I'm doing the right thing. I know these are all good things happening to me and my career. But I don't know what's going to happen to me, Jen. What happens when you can't go outside without signing autographs or someone's taking pictures? I don't know how that changes you as a person.

Are you ready for the responsibility of being a role model for fans?

It's a huge thing to be aware of, to know that whatever I do from now on, whatever I wear or say, it doesn't just affect me anymore. But I don't really have a problem with that. I remember being 12 or 13 and looking at magazines, wanting to find someone to look up to, like Charlize Theron, acting-wise. I'm happy there are the Taylor Swifts of the world . . . classy girls who stay true to themselves and their fans. It's one of those things I do take into account.

What is it about Katniss and The Hunger Games that connects with people?

She's this amazing character to follow, this young girl who's kind of made into a hero by default, becoming this warrior, this Joan of Arc. I think people connect with the story because we're a generation obsessed with reality television, viewing other peoples' tragedy for entertainment. On a deeper level it's kind of a disgusting reflection on humanity.

Has anything ever made you geek out like Hunger Games fans?

Oh yeah, Harry Potter. When I was in elementary school I started reading them and oh, my god, I was the craziest Harry Potter person. Now I'm an older, taller version of the crazy Harry Potter kid I was. That doesn't go away.

So, what will you be doing March 23 when the movie opens and there's no more promoting to do?

Hopefully I'll be on my couch. If everything goes well, that's where I'll be. Even when I'm at parties and having fun I'm still thinking: 'Man, my couch would be a lot better than this.' I mean, that's not where I spend my days; let's get the record straight.

Normally I'm reading, but I just learned how to work my TiVo, so I'm just getting to all these shows that you keep on watching, fast-forwarding through all the commercials. It's absolutely amazing. I never knew about this.

Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365.

Comments
Disney buying large part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4 billion deal

Disney buying large part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4 billion deal

NEW YORK — Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox for about $52.4 billion in stock, including film and television studios and cable and international TV businesses, as it tries to meet competition from technology compa...
Published: 12/14/17
Now isn’t a good time for Woody Allen to make a bad movie but ‘Wonder Wheel’ is awful

Now isn’t a good time for Woody Allen to make a bad movie but ‘Wonder Wheel’ is awful

Now isn’t a good time for Woody Allen to make a bad movie, while broken silence resurrects whispers of his own alleged sexual misconduct.Wonder Wheel (PG-13) is exactly what the 82-year-old Oscar winner doesn’t need, a reason beyond social outrage fo...
Published: 12/13/17
Star Wars: The Last Jedi has everything The Force Awakens was missing

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has everything The Force Awakens was missing

When The Force Awakens landed two years ago, it was everything Star Wars fans wanted yet not entirely what we needed. It was a rousing tribute missing its own vision, introducing new characters and crises hinting at old ones. Star Wars: The Last Jed...
Published: 12/12/17
13 new movies you have to see over the holiday season

13 new movies you have to see over the holiday season

Hollywood has enough movies left to get everyone through the holidays plus any New Year’s hangover. Many are aiming for awards glory, a few are just here for the party. The really serious contenders won’t open nationwide until early 2018...
Published: 12/12/17
Six places to see a movie and eat dinner at the same time

Six places to see a movie and eat dinner at the same time

Back in my day ...Go on. Say the words. Apply it to the cost of movies. Once a casual weekend outing, seeing a flick can be an enormously expensive experience in streaming-happy 2017. Tickets can climb upwards of $15 these days, depending on the thea...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Golden Globe-nominated movies and when to see them in Tampa Bay

Golden Globe-nominated movies and when to see them in Tampa Bay

Guillermo Del Toro’s romantic creature feature The Shape of Water soaked up seven Golden Globes nominations Monday, kicking off another marathon awards season. The Shape of Water is nominated for best dramatic motion picture alongside Christop...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17
‘Shape of Water,’ ‘Big Little Lies’ lead Golden Globes

‘Shape of Water,’ ‘Big Little Lies’ lead Golden Globes

Guillermo del Toro’s Cold War-era fairytale "The Shape of Water" swam away with a leading seven nominations from the Golden Globes, while the HBO drama "Big Little Lies" led television nominees with six nods. In what’s being viewed as a wide-open Osc...
Published: 12/11/17
Five offbeat movie choices to get you away from the multiplex this week

Five offbeat movie choices to get you away from the multiplex this week

Hollywood is backloading December, waiting for Star Wars: The Last Jedi to bring moviegoers back to multiplexes. After no major releases last week, only James Franco’s The Disaster Artist is making any new impression at box offices this weekend. (Cli...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/12/17
Olaf is being let go: Olaf short is being dropped from Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’

Olaf is being let go: Olaf short is being dropped from Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’

Winter is still weeks away but everyone’s favorite snowman is already melting from view.In a cruel twist on Frozen’s showstopper, Olaf is being let go.Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, the 21-minute animated "short" preceding Disney-Pixar’s Coco in theaters w...
Published: 12/05/17
‘The Disaster Artist’ takes us inside ‘The Room’ as it notoriously happened

‘The Disaster Artist’ takes us inside ‘The Room’ as it notoriously happened

James Franco found a kooky, kindred spirit in Tommy Wiseau, The Disaster Artist whose 2003 cine-trocity The Room is hailed as one of the worst movies ever.Like Wiseau, Franco can be accused of stretching his talent way too far. Unlike Wiseau, Franco ...
Updated one month ago