Jennifer Lawrence may have earned incredible acclaim and an Oscar nomination for her turn as Ree in Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone, but that’s nothing compared to what’s in store for her as The Hunger Games is about to be released. Playing one of the most popular characters in modern fiction, Lawrence is no longer going to just be seen as a talented actress, but also as Katniss Everdeen, the bow-and-arrow sporting mountain girl who competes for District 12. And that particular brand of madness has already begun.

A little over a week ago I had the chance to participate in a roundtable with Lawrence during a press event for The Hunger Games and it happened to follow the first time that the actress had interacted with fans. The day before Lawrence had made her first stop on the previously announced nationwide mall tour, but what she discovered is that people seem to be a bit more interested in the male leads.

“Yesterday was our first one and I felt like Justin Timberlake from ‘N Sync,” Lawrence said. “It was nuts. One girl almost fainted. But it’s never over me. I sit in between the guys, and they start with Liam [Hemsworth] and they say ‘Say something! Say something!’ and he speaks in his Australian accent and someone passes out, and I barely get a chance to put my name on [the poster] before it’s slid over to Josh [Hutcherson]. ‘Oh my god so I loved you in…’ and then crying.”

Fans weren’t the only thing that put pressure on Lawrence while she was making the film. Because the book is told from Katniss’ perspective, we are constantly in the character’s head and have access to every feeling that she has. While Lawrence found it “an amazing thing” to have access to her character’s inner dialogue, there was a point where she eventually had to step away.

“When you’re making a film, the book is a good tool, but once you have the script and you’re making a movie, you have to let go of the book,” Lawrence said. “I held onto the inner dialogue, but yes, you do have to let go.”

Having access to the character’s thoughts is certainly one way to help prepare for a role, but playing Katniss also involved plenty of physical training as well. To get ready for the challenges that playing the story’s protagonist would present, Lawrence had to train in free running (for agility), archery, climbing, combat and yoga. When asked about her archery skills, the actress replied that she had been trained by an Olympian, so if her skills were anything less than “good” it was her own fault. She has also taken care to keep herself in shape so that she will be ready when it comes time to make the sequel. “As far as exercise goes I like to stay in relatively good shape anyway, running and doing something. And it also so when training comes along I don’t have to start from square one. There is relative maintenance. Just being able to withstand cardio.”

I’ll be running more from our conversation with Jennifer Lawrence as The Hunger Games draws closer to release. In the meantime, you can read more about the movie in our Blend Film Database.

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