By signing on to play the heroic Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games,’’ Jennifer Lawrence, an Oscar nominee for 2010’s “Winter’s Bone,’’ has become an A-lister. She’s following in the footsteps of “Twilight’’ star Kristen Stewart as an actress trying to balance a love of indie films with the allure of mainstream, big-budget success. It’s not easy.
We caught up with Lawrence, 21, shortly after she started a mall tour to promote the movie, which opens Thursday at midnight. She sounded a bit like her “Hunger Games’’ character – overwhelmed and a bit shocked by the onslaught of attention, but determined to get through it.
Q. You just started a mall tour to promote “The Hunger Games.’’ I read that you’ve been mobbed.
A. I feel like ’N Sync. It was so weird . . . and insane.
Q. Is the scope of this franchise sinking in yet?
A. The size of it and all of the people. It just hits you and then it hits you again.
Q. I’ve read that after you were offered the role of Katniss, you took a few days to think it over. Were you really thinking about saying no?
A. It was a decision that couldn’t be made impulsively, and that warranted some thought.
Q. Your director says wonderful things about you.
A. Gary [Ross] and I have very different opinions of me. [Laughs]
Q. You took on a very relatable role in the recent love story “Like Crazy.’’ Not the lead, but your character is incredibly understandable. You play the girl who gets used.
A. I knew about the movie because I knew Anton Yelchin from making “The Beaver.’’ I had read the script. I knew I couldn’t play Felicity [Jones’s] part. I would have done anything to be in it.
Q. And those were both low-profile films, to some extent. Any perks to being involved with a much bigger film? Even though you’re suddenly being followed around?
A. I made somebody’s day yesterday just by shaking their hand. I get to be a part of that.
Q. You worked with Massachusetts native Elizabeth Banks in this film. Any thoughts about her?
A. She is absolutely hilarious. She was just the coolest. She’s just completely herself – no filter.
Q. And finally, while everyone is reading “The Hunger Games’’ trilogy, what are you reading?
A. I got turned on to Salinger while shooting with Gary. . . . And Donald Sutherland gave me “Anna Karenina.’’