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Jennifer Lawrence talks X-Men First Class and her doubts about Hunger Games, will return for sequels

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NOW in demand after her Oscar nod and numerous other nominations for a bleakly determined portrayal in Winter’s Bone, Jennifer Lawrence has ended up in two hot properties: Matthew Vaughn and Bryan Singer’s re-energised X-Men: First Class and the powerfully post-apocalyptic drama of The Hunger Games. Each franchise is developing further instalments, and Lawrence will be back in both. There had been talk that the untitled X-Men sequel and the Hunger Games follow-up Catching Fire could both film in August/September of 2012, creating difficulties.

We had heard that Fox’s solo spin-off The Wolverine was to shoot in autumn and that made it highly unlikely that First Class 2 would also be in production at the same time. Producers and executives don’t have the mutant power to be in two places at once.

However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, any such potential conflict between X-Men and Hunger Games has been resolved, with the First Class follow-up said to be preparing to shoot in January. If it had come to the crunch, Lawrence’s contractual commitment to X-Men would override her deal for The Hunger Games because it was signed at an earlier stage.

But the wranglings aren’t over yet for The Hunger Games, with a report by The Playlist saying that director Gary Ross has decided not to return to direct the sequel. He will instead pursue another project he has written rather than be tied into the same franchise for several more years.Even Lawrence herself had some doubts about The Hunger Games at first – and she says that it was a very different experience from X-Men.

“When I was doing indies and people were asking me why I don’t do a studio film, I always said the size of the film doesn’t matter. What matters is the script, the story and telling a story you care about,” said the 21-year-old in a recent press interview promoting the adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ gladiatorial best-selling novel.

“The Hunger Games was a story I cared about but I wasn’t going to do it because of the size of it. The books are important for our generation to read. We live in a world that’s obsessed with reality television and it’s completely desensitised us to the shock factor. People’s tragedies are used for entertainment – the more tragic, the higher ratings and more entertaining it is.

She adds: “The size of the film definitely made me pause – because it’s life-changing. But I don’t want to pass on something just because I’m scared.”Lawrence admits it was her mum who talked her into accepting the role.The actress revealed that X-Men: First Class, in which she played shape-shifting Mystique, gave her a taster of the training involved.”X-Men was more difficult because it involved gym work, whereas Hunger Games training was more running outdoors and working out in ways you don’t realise you’re working out. It’s like playing on a gigantic jungle gym and swinging around, as opposed to doing 100 pull-ups,” she said.

She and co-star Josh Hutcherson had to undergo gruelling and intensive training to get into shape. And despite being a natural sportsman, Hutcherson – who has appeared most recently in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island – had to pile on 15 pounds of muscle to play Peeta.

“I love stunts and physicality, so that was right up my alley. The dieting took about four weeks but it was a lot of eating. That was the hardest part – eating a lot of protein,” recalls the Kentucky-born actor.”I was eating things I don’t like. Not Pop-Tarts sadly, but always grilled chicken breast. By the 10th one of the day, I’m like, ‘I can’t swallow this bite. It’s too much!'”It was just as painful for Lawrence, who trained with an Olympic archer and had to learn parkour to play free-running expert archer Katniss.

“I had to do lots of running because Katniss never walks anywhere. But I’m not athletic, I move like an idiot, especially when I run,” she admits.

The actress, also from Kentucky, is quick to deny rumours that she damaged her spleen during training: “I was doing wall runs, where I had to run up the wall as hard as I could. All of a sudden, my feet stopped. So I hit the wall as hard as I possibly could have. I was unbelievably sore, but went to hospital for a scan and I’m totally fine.”

She believes the training has paid off: “Josh is faster than me, but I can hit a bullseye. If somebody stood really still, I could probably kill them with a bow and arrow.”

Lawrence confesses she once accidentally gave Hutcherson “a concussion” on set, but says it was revenge for a prank he played on her.He adds: “I got Jennifer pretty bad. I made her pee in her pants after I put a life-size dummy in her trailer. She went in to go to the bathroom and got terrified!”

Both insist that the film, which Collins co-wrote and is executive producer of, does justice to the book.”We are all genuine fans of Suzanne’s work and want to stay true to it. We love what she’s trying to say and want to say it,” says Lawrence.

“No matter what, my life will never be like this ever again,” she adds.And Hutcherson admits he’s been taken aback by the fans’ anticipation: “It doesn’t feel real. I’m a huge fan of the books, so to have so many people excited about the film is amazing.”He is aware of the comparisons with Twilight and Harry Potter but is careful to note it’s entirely different. “It’s a very fascinating world with a lot of interesting characters, so I hope people will feel that it fills the void.”

Source: Coventry Telegraph

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