Well it appears that the very popular Hunger Games franchise is coming to an end with the release of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2,” in which Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear including the future of all mankind, hangs in the balance.
We caught up with Jennifer Lawrence, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Ca just a few days ago as they celebrated the final film in the Hunger Games series, to talk about end of the franchise, the impact of her character Katniss Everdeen, her film career and the recent letter Lawrence wrote about being a women in the film industry. Spoiler Alert: Beware of plot spoilers throughout.
Examiner: Could you talk about your last moments as Katniss?
Jennifer Lawrence: I feel l like I kind of had two final endings with Katniss. The one when we wrapped the film in Berlin with everybody, Woody (Harrelson) and Josh (Hutcherson) and Liam (Hemsworth) and everyone was there, and I was kind of saying goodbye to the movie. And then I had a last scene about a year later with my nephews, which was so special. They played my children. It was this amazing closure to this character who I have loved for so many years. To have my family there, my blood family instead of this family. I got to say goodbye to both.
E: Can you talk about the ending of the character, was it an accomplishment? Was it bitter sweet giving up this character?
JL: I don’t know. I think the feeling of accomplishment will probably happen more when the film finally comes out because we’re not really done working on it in some ways. We still have to represent it. I don’t really feel like I said good-bye to her. It’s funny, that’s what we do on every movie, we develop these characters and a few months later you never see them again. I guess I’m used to that. I didn’t really feel it so much character wise at the end of The Hunger Games. I think it will be pretty bizarre when the movie is finally out we finish this press story and everything is officially done. I think that’s going to be a pretty weird feeling just on a personal level. This movie has been my life for so many years.
E: Sewer sequence. How many days were you wet? Were your costumes water proof? How was it like to shoot the scene in such a claustrophobic environment?
JL: When we get to the fight sequence we are all just like complaining. When we had the fight sequence in the sewer all of our gear and our costumes were completely waterlogged. So it was an extra twenty pounds, but felt like an extra two thousand pounds. It was hard and rough. But Francis (Lawrence) is so organized.
E: This has had such an impact, and these movies have been so successful on catching fire. Do you feel the impact of this character and since you always look towards the future, would you consider Captain Marvel and play in that sandbox?
JL: I would love to play in a sand box with them. [laughs] First of all, thank you. That’s the nicest thing I have ever heard in my life. Thank you. I feel the impact of being a part of such a huge movie that does so much for so many people, it would be impossible not to and I think that this character is so overwhelmingly supportive of women obviously. As iconic, I don’t feel a personal impact; if you
ever become aware of that, then it kind of takes away from that a little bit. It’s the movie and the characters and they kind of have their own life and it’s kind like your avatar self.
E: Your character stopped fighting and came back to where she was from to have a family. She pursued ordinary life. How has her choice affected you? You want to move back to hometown in the future and have a family?
JL: We all have had to find a balance in feeling ordinary in our lives that are bizarre and finding a home from a place where we weren’t born. I don’t really feel like escaping from anything when I finish a movie; I still like to stay in New York or LA. I enjoy working; I don’t really feel…there’s certain things that I would like to escape from in this business. For the most part, I don’t feel like going ugh! Like going off into the country if I was in some place quiet, I would lose my mind. I’m sure one day I will, and I will want to retire and slow down. But as of now, I really love working. I love being busy. I love reading or writing or doing anything that will
keep myself busy.
E: You recently wrote about not making as much as your co-stars. Can you talk a little bit about what prompted you to write that?
JL: I would love to straighten out that I wasn’t writing about, not,…yes I did not make as much as my male co-stars, it wasn’t so much complaining about I wasn’t getting paid more because I’m a woman. It was more of how did my mentality get in my own way of fighting just as hard as the men to get a better deal. Is that because I’m a women? That’s the only point of view I have, is from a woman’s point of view. There definitely wasn’t any foul play involved on Sony’s part. They’re not going to give somebody more money if you don’t ask for it. No foul play from the men or anybody making that movie. A lot of things have to be rearranged and exceptions have to be made when you are going to have that many movie stars in one movie. I hoped to just write on how my own fears of how am I going to be portrayed, or how am I going to look, or how will people judge me, got in my way when obviously the men in the movie don’t think that way.
Even after writing it, there’s still, it’s been called, and I don’t remember what website it was, called Jennifer Lawrence’s bratty display. And I was like thank you for completely making my point that if a woman goes and speaks up and is assertive and has a voice, she will be called a brat. I don’t see a man being called a brat.
E: I don’t think most people in this room think you are a brat. Can you describe what the ride for you in the last 5 years has been? The best parts and the not so good.
JL: It’s a hard thing to sum up. Really honestly, it’s a job. I really love acting. I really do. I really just think of myself like a working woman. And I just go from set to set and work. You have to promote a movie; you have to work. People are going to have opinions and it’s weirdly very easy to kind of block out the world because you have your own. So I guess the five years had ups and downs. There are a few years to get used to it. Your entire world changes and now it’s very easy for me because I’m isolated. I have a new normal now and so I feel very stable and normal and happy but it took a few years to get used to being looked at differently it’s kind of a very alienating feeling because you don’t feel different but everybody reacts to you differently. The pressure. You just can’t think about it. It will just keep you up. I guess it’s just a few years of getting used to it and then I got used to it and then I was like OK, let’s get back to work. And then people react and can do whatever they want but that’s fine, that’s on them I just have a job and that’s how I think of it.
E: Looking back, you have said that movie has been your life for years and years now. How do you think you have changed or grown over the years?
JL: It’s hard to say. It’s probably still too soon to be able to look back and reflect. I hope I have grown up. It’s much easier to be mature on set. To Josh and Liam, I am sure I am unrecognizable with the people I’m working with. We all have helped each other to get a handle on everything. So going off and not doing movies with them was kind of like losing training wheels. And then it’s like OK I
can ride in the street. OK I can do it….Their jobs are so full on. You’re working thirteen to sixteen hour days every single day and then in a strange city where you don’t know anybody. You don’t know your surroundings. You don’t know anyone. And then you wrap and you’ve time off and you just go do nothing. It’s hard to find a balance. You go to being overworked and you’re like oh my God I’m exhausted, my body. Then you get time off and your mind is going crazy. Because I hate waking up without a goal and going to sleep without achieving anything. So now I just obsessively work. On weekends I meet with directors and pitch myself or write.
E: Katniss Everdeen has become a household name. To viewers today, in present time, what do you think Katniss symbolizes?
JL: Hopefully the same ideals. Audiences are growing up with this character. I don’t know. I hope everybody’s going to take away something with each film as they get older…I hope that they take away the same thing as they always have. But also our audience will grow and learn more or see more of themselves or see more what they want from this world or this country.
E: Regarding franchise films, we often see actors struggling with their success. But your success is blooming, why do you think that is?
JL: I’ve been really fortunate. When I shot the first The Hunger Games movie, and then I auditioned for David O. Russell for Silver Lining Playbook about two weeks after I wrapped so he had no idea what was about to happen. I remember there have been a few times where I would have really loved time off but I was very aware how overwhelming these movies and this character was and that was a big fear of mine when signing on to these movies. I want people to be able to lose themselves when they are watching the movie, not see the same character. This character however is remarkable and in my opinion the greatest female character ever. So I wasn’t too mad at that. I just try to keep working so that people could see other characters, other things that I can do instead of taking vacation time, and now I’m aging like the president. But it’s worth it.
The film is set to open on November 20, 2015.
Additional reporting by Izumi Hasegawa