Jennifer Lawrence appreciated the taking of a different direction for Katniss in Mockingjay Part 1. There are no Hunger Games in this one, and yes, a revolution is brewing, but the heroine has to find her place in this rapidly changing world.
“She’s in a very different place emotionally in the beginning of these movies. The games have completely changed her. She has to rebuild herself -- more her reaction, and less action,” Lawrence said.
“Katniss is completely stripped down and in a different place in the beginning of these films and kind of has to rebuild to get back to the Katniss that I know from the other two films. That doesn’t happen until halfway through this movie. But, at the beginning, she doesn’t know who she is. She’s playing the same character that people recognize. But, it’s very different.”
As you can tell from the Mockingjay Part 1 trailer, the battle of the death games may be over, but a new set of “games” has begun and that is a political volley between the evil and corrupt government of the Capitol, led by Donald Sutherland’s President Snow, and the free Panem government, led by Julianne Moore’s President Coin.
Lawrence sees her character as caught somewhere in the middle, and still questioning everything. “My version of being caught between the two is Katniss is representing the consequences of war. It’s not that she doesn’t believe what President Coin wants and she doesn’t believe that the Capitol is a terrible government that is only good for the one percent… but war is complicated,” Lawrence said.
“It affects everyone on both sides. I think for Katniss, we have the two strong points on opposing sides and the one person caught in the middle that is feeling the pain from both. There is no right way to start or end a war.”
As Mockingjay Part 1 hits theaters this week and Mockingjay Part 2 arrives in exactly a year, Lawrence can look back now and she hopes that her portrayal of Katniss will inspire.
“I think, or I hope, that Katniss can inspire by making this younger generation realize how powerful your voice can be and it’s hard sometimes. It’s easy to follow the feet in front of you,” Lawrence admitted. “It’s harder to speak out. I hope that what you take away from Katniss is to be an individual and think for yourself and not let other people think for you.”
But the Oscar winner is quick to dismiss any kind of connections between herself and the Suzanne Collins-penned heroine she plays on the big screen. “I always get nervous making comparisons because Katniss is the leader of a rebellion that changes the world and I’m just a pawn on a chess board,” she said and laughed.
And she also admitted that the success that this series has brought is, mostly, a gift. “It’s certainly a blessed life. There are also sacrifices. I get to do what I love and there’s a downside to every job.”
In the end, making The Hunger Games series has allowed her something quite unexpected -- some extremely close friends, particularly one young Aussie. “I would never expect a man this good looking to be my best friend,” Lawrence said of co-star Liam Hemsworth (who plays Gale).
“I would never assume those things would happen. But, he is. He is the most lovable, family-oriented, sweet, hilarious... he’s amazing. He taught me about how to be fair and to stand up for myself. I’m a wimp about standing up for myself. Liam is always fair. He’s good about making sure that things stay fair. I used to let people walk all over me. He’s teaching me to toughen up a little bit. I needed that.”
The movie series has been a part of her life for many years. But, we wondered, how did she feel as it was coming to a close?
“It was complicated because it was such a long shoot. We were there for 10 months and it was hard and exhausting. There was a part that wanted to wrap just so we could give our bodies a break. But, realizing that it was over was difficult. We always would break and do other stuff and come back and be together again. Realizing that was going to be gone was such a complicated mix of feelings,” Lawrence said.
“It was a relief because we were relieved, but so sad. We still see each other, but it will be different. If all I had was this friendship with Josh (Hutcherson) and Liam and that was all I got from this entire thing, that would be the greatest blessing in the entire world. I thought I was going to be relieved because I was so tired but it was heartbreaking. When they called ‘wrap,’ I just started sobbing.”
Get ready for the first part of the two-part finale and see where we left off and watch Catching Fire online.