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Enjoying the Hunger Games ride

Published: March 13, 2012 | 10:08 am
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Stardom at an early age has its pitfalls and Hollywood’s next big thing, Jennifer Lawrence, admits to some odd behaviour while coping with the pressure.
Just days before the worldwide release of The Hunger Games, the first of what will likely be a four-film series to rival the box office record of the Twilight franchise, 21-year-old Lawrence has been waking up early in her Los Angeles home.
That’s when the odd behaviour starts.

“Some people turn to drugs and alcohol,” Kentucky-born Lawrence told AAP during an interview at a Beverly Hills hotel.

“I have turned to the mop.”

The Oscar-nominated Lawrence, who beat every young actress in Hollywood to be cast as 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, the central character of The Hunger Games, has become a cleaning fanatic as movie’s release date approaches.
“I have been having cleaning attacks where I have been cleaning obsessively,” Lawrence laughed.

“I’m like ‘I’m fine. I don’t care’ but then at 7.30am I’m scrubbing everything and will say

‘I’m totally fine as long as the whole house is spotless’.

“I’m wondering if that’s my anxiety letting itself out with cleaning.

“My house is so clean I’m starting to rub holes in things.”

Lawrence should not be worried as the record number of pre-release tickets sold, coupled with the hype and anticipation for the film, almost assures a world-wide box office hit.

The movie has a huge built-in fan base, thanks to The Hunger Games, the best-selling novel penned by Suzanne Collins.

Set in Panem, a post-apocalyptic nation where North America once existed, the novel has been a sensation since its 2008 release, selling more than 27 million copies and spending more than 180 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

Panem is divided into 12 districts and each year a district sends a teenage boy and girl to Panem’s capital to compete in a televised fight to the death.

When Everdeen’s younger sister is announced as the representative for their region, District 12, Everdeen volunteers to take her place.

Everdeen, a skilled archer, is then tossed into a forest with 23 other teenagers.
With the novel enjoying such a fanatical fan base, Lawrence knew she had to become Everdeen so underwent intensive training in archery, hand-to-hand combat, tree climbing, free running (parkour) and yoga.

“It’s a character millions of people have pictured in one way or this way,” Lawrence said.

“That is a lot of pressure.

“But once you get on set you have to let that go and just do your thing.”

Just as The Hunger Games, which also stars Aussie actor Liam Hemsworth, has little chance to fail at the box office, it appears the level-headed, quick-witted Lawrence will have a long and successful career in Hollywood.

Born and raised in Louisville, Lawrence graduated from high school two years early so she could embark on an acting career. Her first big break was the TV sitcom The Bill Engvall Show in 2007 and in 2009 Jodie Foster was blown away by Lawrence’s audition for the dark comedy, The Beaver. Foster directed and co-starred with Mel Gibson in The Beaver, but Gibson’s personal troubles delayed the film’s release until 2011.

In the meantime, Lawrence was cast in the independent drama Winter’s Bone, a story set in the poverty-stricken US region The Ozarks, with the actress playing a 17-year-old looking after her catatonic mother and desperate to find her drug dealing father.
The film won the drama grand jury prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and last year scored Lawrence the first Oscar nomination of her career, pitting her against Nicole Kidman, Annette Bening, Michelle Williams and eventual winner Natalie Portman.
The nomination catapulted Lawrence into the top echelon of Hollywood leading ladies and led to her casting as Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

Lawrence, after appearing on the Oscar red carpet in a stunning, body-hugging red Calvin Klein dress, also became one of the most desired clients for the world’s top fashion designers.

“I just love her,” Gary Ross, director of The Hunger Games, said.

“Jen is peerless.

“You are not going to find an actor like this for a long, long time.

“I honestly feel like I am just one of the people who got to work with her first and even

when we were shooting I didn’t think ‘Oh, it’s great to work with Jen’.

“I thought ‘I’m one of the first people who will work with Jen’.

“I was aware of that because I know what kind of a career she is going to have.”

Lawrence, apart from frenzied house cleaning, does not appear to be letting the meteoric rise go to her head, despite enjoying the pick of major Hollywood roles.

Last year she starred as Mystique in the latest instalment of the sci-fi action franchise X-Men: First Class and as well as The Hunger Games, audiences will see Lawrence this year with Robert De Niro in the comedy, The Silver Linings Playbook, the drama Serena with Bradley Cooper and the horror film House at the End of the Street.

When Lawrence is asked what it is like to transform from someone little known two years ago to one of Hollywood’s biggest stars today, she corrects the question.

“Nobody would know who I was two months ago,” she said.

And, how is she dealing with instant fame?

“OK,” she replied.

“Other than the cleaning I’m fine.”


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