Jennifer Lawrence is preparing for life after one of the world’s biggest movie franchises, The Hunger Games
She’s a movie star in the old-fashioned sense: glamorous, but still as earthy as the girl next door. Jennifer Lawrence is wrapping up the franchise that made her a star, and not a moment too soon, as this Oscar-winning actress seems to have permanently ensconced herself on Team Russell. That’s David O Russell, the man who directed her to an Oscar for her part in American Hustle and with whom she’ll team again this winter in Joy, co-starring other Russell regulars Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro.
Here, Lawrence talks about saying goodbye to The Hunger Games, and unequal pay between men and women in Hollywood.
Q What stands out for you, in regard to your last moments as Katniss?
A I feel like I had two final endings with Katniss. There was the one when we wrapped the film in Berlin, when everyone was there and I said goodbye to everyone in the movie. And then, I had a last scene, about a year later, with my nephews, which was very special. They played my children in the scene that I shot. It was amazing closure to this character who I have loved for so many years, and I had my blood family there. I got to say goodbye to both, at different times.
Q When you finally wrapped, what did it feel like to know you were finished with this character? Did you feel like you had accomplished what you set out to do?
A I think the feeling of accomplishment will happen more when the film finally comes out. We’re not done working on it, in some ways. We still have to represent it. I don’t know. I didn’t really feel like I said goodbye to her. It’s funny, that’s what we do on every movie. We develop these characters and, a few months later, we never see them again. I guess I’m used to that, so I didn’t really feel it so much, character wise, at the end of The Hunger Games. I think it will be pretty bizarre when the movie is finally out and we’ve finished this press tour and everything is officially done. I think that’s going to be a pretty weird feeling, just on a personal level. These movies have been my life for so many years.
Q These movies have had such an impact on the box office and their success has helped other female-led movies get made. Do you feel the impact of this character?
A I feel the impact of being a part of such a huge movie that does so much for so many people. It would be impossible not to. And I think that this character is so overwhelmingly supportive of women. I don’t feel a personal impact. I think if you ever become aware of that, it takes away from it a little bit. It’s the movie and the characters, and they have their own life. It’s like your avatar self.
Q: By the end of this story, Katniss leaves the fighting behind and returns home to live a peaceful life. Do you prefer to leave Hollywood and return to a quieter life, when you can?
A: We’ve all had to find a balance in feeling ordinary in our lives that are bizarre, and finding a home in a place where we weren’t born. I don’t really feel like escaping from anything. When
I finish a movie, I still like to stay in New York or LA. I really enjoy working. There are certain things that I like to escape from in this business, but for the most part, I don’t feel like going
off into the country. If I was someplace quiet, I would lose my mind. I’m sure one day, I will want to retire and slow down. But as for now, I love working. I love being busy. I love reading or writing, or doing anything to keep myself busy.
Q How do you think you’ve changed and grown personally and professionally over the course of making these films?
A It’s hard to say. It’s probably too soon to be able to look back and reflect. I hope I have grown up. It’s easier to be mature on sets without Josh [Hutcherson] and Liam [Hemsworth]. I’m pretty sure I’m unrecognisable to the people I’m working with. We’ve all helped each other get a handle on everything. Going off and not doing movies with them was like losing my training wheels. I was like, ‘Okay, I’m riding in the street. I can do it.’ Now, I just obsessively work. On weekends, I meet with directors and pitch myself, or I write stuff that nobody will ever see.
Q What was it that inspired you to write that letter about not making as much as your male co-stars?
A I would like to straighten out that, yes, I didn’t make as much as my male co-stars, but it wasn’t so much complaining about not getting paid more because I’m a woman. It was more about how my mentality got in my own way of fighting just as hard as the men to get a much better deal. Is that because I’m a woman? The only point of view I have is a woman’s point of view. There wasn’t any foul play involved on Sony’s part. They are not going to give somebody more money if they don’t ask for it. There was no foul play from the men or anybody making that movie. A lot of things have to be rearranged and exceptions have to be made when you’re going to have that many movie stars in one movie. I hoped to just write more about how my own fears – of how I was going to be portrayed or how I would look or how people would judge me – got in my way when obviously the men don’t think that way. Even after writing it, I don’t remember what website it was, but it was called, ‘Jennifer Lawrence’s bratty display’, and I was like, ‘Thank you for completely making my point’. If a woman speaks up and is assertive and has a voice, then she’s going to be called a brat. I just don’t see a man being called a brat.
Q How would you describe the ride you have been on with your career for the past few years?
A It’s a hard thing to sum up. Really honestly, it’s a job. I really love acting. I really do. I really just think of myself as a working woman, and I just go from set to set and work. You have to promote
a movie and work, and people are going to have opinions, but it’s weirdly easy to block out the world. There’s just a few years of getting used to it. Your entire world changes. Now, it’s very easy for me, because I’m isolated. I have a new normal now. I feel very stable and normal and happy, but it took a few years to get used to being looked at differently. It’s a very alienating feeling, because you don’t feel different, but everybody reacts to you differently. But you can’t think about the pressure or it will just keep you up. So, there were a few years of getting used to it, and then I got used to it and was like, ‘Okay, let’s get back to work’. People react and can do whatever they want, and that’s fine. That is on them. I just have a job. That’s how I think of it.
Q There have been rumours that Marvel wants you to be Captain Marvel. Would you ever want to do that and play in that sandbox with Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt and the rest?
A I would really love to play in a sandbox with them.
Q Some actors can often struggle to find success after completing a big film franchise.
A You think I’m doomed, don’t you?
Q Why do you think you have been able to continue to find success?
A I’ve been really fortunate. I shot the first Hunger Games movie, and then I auditioned for David O Russell for Silver Linings about two weeks after we had wrapped. So, he had no idea what was about to happen. I remember there have been a few times when I would have really loved time off, but I was very aware of how overwhelming these movies and this character was, and that was a big fear of mine, signing on to the movies. I want people to lose themselves when they’re watching a movie, and not see the same character. But this character is remarkable. I think she is the greatest female character, ever, so I wasn’t mad at that. I just tried to keep working, so that people could see other characters and other things that I could do, instead of taking vacation time. Now, I’m ageing
like a president.