Jennifer Lawrence Discusses The Challenges Of Creating Massive Movies Like The Hunger Games And X-Men

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique in Dark Phoenix
(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Actress Jennifer Lawrence has had a wildly successful career, including winning an Academy Award at the age of 22. Aside from her work on prestige dramas, she’s also got a ton of experience with major franchises. And Lawrence recently discussed the challenges of creating massive movies like The Hunger Games and X-Men.

Jennifer Lawrence was working on both X-Men and The Hunger Games at the same time, appearing in four movies per franchise over the years. Both Katniss Everdeen and Mystique are beloved characters, with the properties being massively popular. Lawrence recently spoke to Viola Davis in Variety’s actors on actors series, where she spoke about the reality of working with over the top concepts. As she shared about her tenure as a mutant:

When I was doing X-Men, it’s hard to not have that perception of the movie that’s like, ‘Oh, well, it’s just one of those.’ Especially when you’re painted blue with scales on your face. If you start thinking, ‘I look ridiculous, I feel ridiculous,’ there’s nowhere to go.

I mean, can you blame her? While acting is all about transforming into a character, it can also feel pretty silly sometimes. That was seemingly the case for Jennifer Lawrence, who was tasked with bringing an emotionally grounded performance while rocking Mystique’s blue makeup and scales. She did just that, but it’s clear that it took some effort on her part.

Jennifer Lawrence’s comments to Viola Davis come as the two Oscar winning actors were comparing stories from within the action franchise. Davis recently became an action hero in her own right, thanks to her acclaimed performance in The Woman King. Of course, Lawrence isn’t known only as Mystique, but as The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen. She opened up about the pressure that came with bringing that YA her to life on the big screen. As she put it,

In Hunger Games, it was an awesome responsibility. Those books were huge, and I knew that the audience was children. I remember the biggest conversation was ‘How much weight are you going to lose?’ Along with me being young and growing and not able to be on a diet, I don’t know if I want all of the girls who are going to dress up as Katniss to feel like they can’t because they’re not a certain weight. And I can’t let that seep into my brain either.

Pretty wild stuff. Jennifer Lawrence got honest about some of the inappropriate conversations that occurred when she was gearing up to lead the Hunger Games movie franchise. It looks like she was pressured to lose weight, presumably because the denizens of District 12 are so starving in the novels. But Lawrence pushed back, partly due to the message this might send young fans who were looking forward to seeing the beloved novels on the big screen.

As previously mentioned, Jennifer Lawrence also did a number of prestige projects while balancing her franchise responsibilities, such as Silver Lining’s Playbook, American Hustle, and Joy. She revealed to Viola Davis that this was a purposeful choice for herself, seemingly to counteract the big blockbuster work she was doing. As she shared:

I’ve been doing this since I was so young. When Hunger Games was out, I couldn’t really be an observer of life because everybody was observing me. I could feel my craft suffering. And I didn’t know how to fix it. I was scrambling, trying to fix it by saying yes to this movie and then trying to counteract it with that movie. And not realizing that what I had to do was no movies until something spoke to me.

Indeed, Jennifer Lawrence has seemingly pumped the brakes in recent years, taking on less acting projects. Now she’s waiting until projects truly speak to her, such as Don’t Look Up or Causeway. The latter movie has been getting her a ton of positive attention, so we’ll just have to wait and see how the coming Awards Season shakes out.

Causeway is currently available to stream on Apple TV. Be sure to check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your trips to theaters in the New Year. Jennifer Lawrence’s next movie is titled No Hard Feelings, and is in production now.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.