Jennifer Lawrence says she was about six years old when she first gave acting a shot. It wasn’t in a community theatre production or a fast-food commercial; it was in her aunt’s loo.
“I remember watching my aunt just tell a story, I was probably five or six, and I went into the bathroom. I didn’t even look in the mirror, it wasn’t about imitating or anything, but I remember I watched, I watched her mannerisms,” recalls Lawrence, now 24, over the phone from an LA junket for ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay’, the third of four movies based on the books. “In that bathroom, at her house, when I was six was the first time I ever felt myself like somebody else, if that makes any sense and doesn’t make me sound like a psycho.”
To this day, observing people is the only acting lesson the three-time Oscar nominee has ever taken.
“Your whole acting class is out there in the world.” Lawrence says matter-of0-factly. “You’re portraying real people, so watch real people. And, sometimes, whether it’s a mannerism or physicality, sometimes it sticks with me and then I’ll start maybe feeling like that kind of person in the middle of a scene. I know that sounds weird.”
Since we’re here to talk about ‘The Hunger Games’, I wonder whose mannerisms inspired her portrayal of Katniss Everdeen.
“I borrowed from men, mostly, who were quieter than me.” She says.
“Yeah, I know that’s a very weird thing to say but I never really channelled a woman for Katniss. I was the only feminine part of Katniss and I felt like that was enough because I’m not very feminine anyway.” She says with her famous throaty laugh.
Last years Hunger Games movie ended abruptly as Katniss was unexpectedly rescued from her second round of games by her mentor, Haymitch and Plutarch, who, until that moment, we thought was working for the government. It was a rescue that left out heroine as surprised and disorientated as the audience. So, where do we pick up with Mockingjay?
“Katniss wakes up in District 13, a District that she didn’t know existed, an her entire home is gone, Peeta is gone.” Explains Lawrence. “So she really has to kind of rebuild herself from scratch. She’s had a nervous breakdown from everything that’s happened in the two back-to-back games, and losing Peeta.”
As in the norm these days, the final book has been split in to two films. So where does this month’s move leave off?
“Oh God, I don’t want to tell you that.” Says Lawrence. “It’s a really great ending, and you guys are going to be pissed.”
The Louisville native is a journalists dream. Perhaps the most in-demand actress in Hollywood, she answers every question so thoroughly you feel likes it’s the first time she’s done an interview – until she cuts herself off with a self-deprecating jab like, ‘that sounds weird’ or ‘I’m rambling’ or ‘I’m afraid that I sound psychotic.’
She’s as quick and funny as you’d expect. When asked to describe her surroundings she says “I’m in an empty, giant conference room by myself. It looks like ‘The Shining’.” When I start a question with ‘In person, you come off as quite goofy and fun,’ she jumps in with “…but in real life I’m evil!”
What’s so different about her?
“I don’t really know how I am able to get so lucky. I just know that I didn’t want to stop. There were times when I was tired, and well, I did want to stop. I id want a break, and that’s when David told me about ‘America Hustle’ [laughs] and I went ‘Well….’
“A really big fear of mine going in to this franchise was people would only be able to ever see this character when they looked at my face, and that’s one of the worst things that could ever happen. In my job I want somebody to lose themselves in whatever character I am at the time.”
Lawrence is currently prepping for her third movie with Russell. She’ll play the title character in ‘Joy’, about a struggling single mom who invents the Miracle Mop and becomes rich. “I’m blessed to know David, to have a relationship with him, and that he wants me to be in his movies.” She says, Russell must feel equally blessed to have found her, and for the Oscar nods and win she’s brought to his projects.
Speaking of which, Lawrence became a member of the Academy in 201, after her nomination for ‘Winter’s Bone’. So did she vote for herself for Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle?
“I voted for Lupita. I voted for Lupita. I’m kidding. I’m basically hinting that I maybe voted for myself the first time. In my defense, it was not me, my mother did it and I told her not to, but I was secretly not that upset that she did.”
It won’t be surprising if Jennifer Lawrence has the opportunity to vote for herself again in the near future, maybe even for one of the final Hunger Games movies.