Jennifer Lawrence, the 21-year old actress starring in "The Hunger Games"--which officially opens tonight but had midnight showings all around the country last night--is about to go from relative anonymity to superstardom.
Although Lawrence gained quite a bit of recognition for her performance in 2010's "Winter's Bone"--a performance which earned her the title of second-youngest actress to be nominated for an Oscar--she hadn't really broken into the mainstream until "The Hunger Games" trailer began making it's rounds across the internet. Now things are quite a bit different...and involve paparazzi lurking outside her house, which means she's really hit the big time.
An unfortunate side effect of becoming so famous so quickly, and at such a young age, is that the media likes to invent drama where there is none. Take, for instance, the "feud" between Lawrence and "Twilight" star Kristen Stewart.
"Things like this tabloid war shouldn't stress me out, but it's kind of like being in high school when one friend says you said something bad about your other friend and you know you didn't say anything. It gives you a knot in your stomach," said Lawrence in an interview. "I'm afraid that's what it's always going to be like."
The Louisville, Kentucky native said she was aware of the enormous impact the film could have on her career and personal life before she signed on, and weighed the decision carefully.
"I needed three days, I guess, to kiss my personal life away," she said. "I wanted to iron everything out so that when my life was completely flipped upside-down and different, it was because I thought everything through and was positive about the decision."
As Katniss Everdeen, Lawrence brings a strength to the role that was demanded by fans of the books, written by Suzanne Collins. The story, set in a dystopian future where teens are forced to compete in a televised battle to the death, takes on not only society's obsession with "reality" television, but the more serious issues of the wealthy vs. the under classes, as well as the human capacity for violence under certain circumstances.
"The thing I like about this movie, which is different from many others, is Katniss is focused on survival, focused on a revolution and not focused on who is going to be her boyfriend," Lawrence says.
And perhaps that, if nothing else, lends itself well to the creation of a superstar and role model to young girls everywhere.