Winter's Bone to Hunger Games: Jennifer Lawrence's rise

Mar 23, 2012

Horrible troll or shining star? Lawrence is the new female action hero everyone is talking about

Alberto E. Rodriguez

JENNIFER LAWRENCE has gone from indie actress to blockbuster star overnight following the rapturous critical response to her performance in dystopian fantasy The Hunger Games.

The film is the first of a trilogy of 'young adult' books by the writer Suzanne Collins to be adapted for the screen. Lawrence plays the heroine, Katniss Everdeen, who appears in a horrific gladiatorial contest put on to entertain a cruel governing elite who rule over Panem, a country that has risen out of the ashes of the United States.

Despite describing herself as a "horrible troll" after seeing the film, Lawrence's performance has won widespread praise from critics, with Rolling Stone calling her a "shining star" and the New York Daily News "remarkable".

The 21-year-old actress, who left her home state of Kentucky as a teenager to audition her way into showbiz in New York, is no stranger to hype.

She won her 15 minutes of fame in 2010 with a compelling performance in another book-to-film adaptation, Winter's Bone, for which she was handed a best actress Oscar nomination. Lawrence had to learn how to fight, skin squirrels and chop wood to prepare for the role of Ree Dolly, a dirt-poor teenager forced to look after her mentally ill mother and two siblings following the disappearance of her father.

The Hunger Games will bring Lawrence to a rather different, younger audience - the kind who for the last four years have been hanging around the movie premieres of Twilight films to see Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.

Lawrence has already started to notice the difference, as her recent joke about sleazy paparazzi suggests: "I haven't actually had any swarms. I get the creepy ones that hide in the bushes outside my house that I don't see.

"I don't know how I get to trade them. I'd much rather walk through a wall of people than to see horrible pictures of me show up that I had no idea were being taken."

It seems Lawrence, who also starred in X-Men: First Class as shape-shifting Mystique, can be as feisty in real life as she is on-screen. The Daily Mail claims the filmmakers forked out $30,000 on renting wigs to test out hair colours after she refused to let them experiment on her naturally blonde hair in their search for the right shade of mahogany.

She has complained about auditions ("They want you to be likable all the time, and I'm just not") and is not a fan of people boasting about their love of the gym ("I hate saying, 'I like exercising.' I want to punch people who say that in the face.")

But she is happy that her Hunger Games character is being hailed as a heroine for children to revere: "I think we need more strong females," she tells the Metro. "This isn't a character who wants to be violent but she can completely take care of herself. I think that's one of the very powerful things about it. New female action hero? Sure, I'll take that."

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She is a hot slut,but that movie looks too childish