Gary Lawrence stood in the lobby of Louisville’s Tinseltown USA theater, greeting family and friends Thursday evening with his 21-year-old daughter looming large above him.
On the wall was a photo of his youngest child, Jennifer Lawrence, on a poster for “The Hunger Games,” a movie in which she stars.
The film, based on a novel for young adults that has sold 11 million copies, is an expected blockbuster and was to debut nationwide at midnight. But about 300 friends and members of the Lawrence family got a screening at 7 p.m.
“It gives me goosebumps,” he said of the poster.
Gary Lawrence already had seen the film earlier this month at its world premiere, where he was astonished by the fans screaming for his daughter as she entered the theater. This was a lower-key affair, with mostly hugs and congratulations in the lobby on the actress’ successes.Lawrence said his daughter, who was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for her role in “Winter’s Bone,” used to joke that she hadn’t made it until she was in a movie at Tinseltown, the theater at which the Louisville native would likely have seen films.
That happened last year when she co-starred in “X-Men: First Class.” But “The Hunger Games” promises to be a bigger affair.
The excitement was already noticeable before the screening, as fans were beginning to line up for the later showings still hours away.
Jennifer Lawrence’s brother, Ben Lawrence, said he was glad the special screening could be organized for their family and friends.
“All these people here made her who she is,” he said, adding that he’s “super proud” of his sister.
Dr. John Penta, the obstetrician who delivered the actress, is a longtime family friend.
Penta said she was a good fit for lead role of Katniss, who relies on her wits and hunting skills when she enters a televised battle to the death with 23 other youngsters in a dystopian future.
“Jennifer has always been a little bit of a tomboy,” Penta said.
She moved to New York City at 14, and later California, to pursue acting, which Penta said was a sacrifice for her parents.
Source: Courier Journal