Jennifer Lawrence Didn't Want The Hunger Games To Influence Young People Negatively

Starring in a major teen franchise — and being a role model for countless young girls — is definitely tricky. It's probably even harder when that franchise involves teenagers who are put into an arena and made to fight to the death as punishment for a revolution none of them were even alive to see. But according to Jennifer Lawrence, that wasn't the specific problem she had while starring in "The Hunger Games."

When the Academy Award-winning actor spoke to fellow Oscar-winner Viola Davis for Variety's "Actors on Actors" series in December 2022, she revealed that the pressure to look a certain way for her role as Katniss Everdeen was very intense, and she had genuine concerns about how it would impact younger fans. When Davis asked what it was like to do huge tentpole movies — aside from the "Hunger Games" franchise, Lawrence also appeared in several of the "X-Men" films as Mystique — Lawrence admitted that it was more of an ordeal than one might think. 

"In 'Hunger Games,' it was an awesome responsibility," Lawrence told Davis. "Those books were huge, and I knew that the audience was children. I remember the biggest conversation was 'How much weight are you going to lose?' Along with me being young and growing and not able to be on a diet, I don't know if I want all of the girls who are going to dress up as Katniss to feel like they can't because they're not a certain weight. And I can't let that seep into my brain either."

Jennifer Lawrence has faced body-shaming in Hollywood before

During the heyday of the "Hunger Games" franchise, Jennifer Lawrence told Elle (via Reuters) that she refused to go on any major crash diets for her role as Katniss. "I'm never going to starve myself for a part," she said at the time. "I don't want little girls to be like, 'Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I'm going to skip dinner.' That's something I was really conscious of during training...I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong, not thin and underfed."

Lawrence was right to make sure that she set a good example for her fans, as well as not letting any executives pressure her into losing weight. Yes, in the books, Katniss is depicted as extremely lean — largely because she lives in District 12 of Panem, which barely has enough food to keep everybody alive — but she illegally hunts for herself and her family, ensuring that they're decently fed. Whether or not Lawrence's appearance was perfectly accurate isn't really the issue, though, and it's commendable that she didn't want any fans skipping meals to "look like Katniss."

What's Jennifer Lawrence doing these days?

After appearing in four "Hunger Games" films and winning an Oscar for her role in "Silver Linings Playbook," Jennifer Lawrence became Hollywood's "it girl" overnight ... but before long, her public image spiraled out of control. People accused her of putting on an act to seem "cool" based on things like the time she tripped en route to accept her Academy Award, and she released 11 movies between 2012 and 2015. According to the star, it all just became too much, and she noticeably stepped back from the spotlight later in the 2010s.

Speaking to Variety in 2022 about her time out of the spotlight, Lawrence said, "I think I lost a sense of control. Between 'The Hunger Games' coming out and winning the Oscar, I became such a commodity that I felt like every decision was a big, big group decision. When I reflect now, I can't think of those following years, [because there was] just a loss of control." Ultimately, she was able to revive her career the way she wanted, telling the outlet, "It feels personal for me the first time in a long time." Lawrence has since returned to the big screen, appearing in buzzy projects like 2021's "Don't Look Up" and 2022's "Causeway," and now, it seems she gets to handle things on her own terms.