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Jennifer Lawrence On Hunger Games: Catching Fire
On flipping the bird at the Oscars and why Katniss is the unluckiest person in film...

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Jennifer Lawrence is an interview goddess. More charming than you ever thought she could be, the Oscar winner was on very good form when Empire spoke to her in Cannes earlier this year. As The Hunger Games: Catching Fire hits cinemas this week, we thought we'd run the extended interview first seen (in part) in the November 2013 issue of Empire. This time around, you'll hear more about sandwiches, swearing and what to call an ear infection...

Jennifer Lawrence On Hunger Games: Catching Fire

You've won an Oscar. What's the plan next?
I don't know... go into television? Or do something totally unexpected. I'll start doing voiceovers for Animal Planet. No, but seriously now, that's something I really want to do. (Laughs)

But after the awards is there a feeling that you're better than this blockbuster malarkey now?
You know, it's funny how much it doesn't change things. When you think about it, it's just a little statue. It's really only... a positive thing. A really nice honour, a really lovely thing to say that you've done, and then you move on. You keep working!

Is the sequel going to be better than the original?
I don't know... I have not seen it yet. (Laughs) Hopefully! It's what you hope for from any sequel - that it's as good, or better. Nobody wants worse. I just don't know if it's going to be better. I really hope so!

Did you pick up any injuries this time around?
During filming, I went deaf for a week, and yep, I'm still having ear problems, so that's cool.
In the first one I ran into a wall, but that was during training. Once we got into filming, there were no more bizarre injuries. In this one, I went deaf for a week, and yep, I'm still having ear problems, so that's cool. My ear pretty much covers it. It was the star of the injury show on this last one.

What caused the ear problem?
First, I had to jump into stagnant water for a stunt, which caused a double ear infection. Then I had to jump into water jets, and one jet went into my ear, making a 'PSHYOOOOOV!' noise, which made me deaf for a week, but I didn't go to the doctor because I'm a genius. So I eventually got my hearing back, and now I get this tearing noise every time I yawn. I really should go back to the doctor and ask them what that means. 'Tell me, is this normal?' I'm in pain. 24/7. Help me.

How is your hair handling the dying back and forth?
Not well. (Laughs) I knew I had to cut it short because I don't like staying brunette - I keep having to touch it up because I am actually a blonde. So I knew I wanted to go blonde and I knew I had to go short because there's really only so much hair can handle. It's held up for a long time, so I'm very pleased.

What advice would you have given yourself, your younger self, before you started The Hunger Games?
(Laughs) I got something to say, but I can't...

You know, I think I'm doing everything perfectly. I think I've just about nailed it. 100%. And also, I know me, and I know I wouldn't have listened, because I had a lot of people tell me what to do before and I did not listen. I don't think I would have made an exception, not even for myself. No-one can actually give you any advice. It's one of those day by day, every situation is different things, so there's no way you can really prepare for anything. It's kind of like, 'Oh well, let's strap in, see how it goes, hope for the best...'

How much do the photocalls actually feel like The Hunger Games?
It's just a completely different animal, all that stuff. It's really bizarre. I should say, it's not that bad. I don't know why everybody acts like it's that torturous - you are just standing there with a lot of flashing lights, so it's not as bad as it could be. It's not as bad as when the photos actually come out. That's like The Hunger Games.

The photo of you flipping the bird at the Oscars could be one of the best Oscar photos of all time.
It's so funny how much I freaked out when I realised that happened. I told my publicist, saying, 'Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God...' and now I am like, 'That's probably my proudest moment in my entire career.' (Laughs)

That moment really pointed out to me how whenever people talk about not having a filter... Just how much more in control my limbs and mouths are than my actual self. It's shocking.

What are people saying to you on the street?
Generally... people are really nice. Sometimes someone will shout, 'You're a dirty whore!' But I think that would happen anyway. I guess I should probably dress better. (Laughs)

Where is Katniss right now?
Where is she right now? Are you insane? I have no idea. Maybe... 'sitting here'. Oh, you mean at the point of Catching Fire? Right, okay, sure.

After The Hunger Games, Katniss has moved into a house, she's a Victor now, and she's trying to get her life back together. She's suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress and her life is very different now because she goes home to the people who she knows and they don't really know her any more. There's a certain side of her that really only Peeta knows at the point, and she's always felt there's a side of her that Gayle only really knows because of her history, and now her life is so different and she's just trying to piece it together before she finds out she has to go back.

This girl cannot get a break. It's safe to say she's one of the unluckiest people in cinema.

Have you admitted to anyone you haven't read the books yet?
Ha! And I don't know until the day I show up on set... 'This is the day you get brought back into The Hunger Games...' And I'm like, 'Are. You. Kidding me? Again? What do I have, a brother?'

Do you have a favourite of Francis Lawrence's music videos?
This girl cannot get a break. It's safe to say she's one of the unluckiest people in cinema.
'I'm A Slave 4 U', Britney Spears. He was making those music videos for me. They were for my generation. It's really funny, most of the music videos that I've seen and loved are his.

Jenny From The Block...
I know, there are so many nicknames.

No, the music video, the song.
Oh God, I'm such a dick. I get called Jenny From The Block... I just presumed. You know people call me J-Lo, right? You didn't thank about that, did ya?

Jimmy Fallon and I asked Jennifer Lopez to dance once and she said no. That was also because Jimmy pussied out at the last minute and I ended up... well, it was meant to be a choreographed thing, me saying 'Dance with us!' and then I went and did it and it turned into 'Dance with... me!' That probably did seem really weird. She was like 'I'll watch.' 'Okay...'

What's your favourite sandwich?
Philly cheesesteak. But also an Italian, which is turkey and ham.

Do you feel like The Hunger Games, with two more years to go, is taking over your life for the forseeable future?
When I signed on to the franchise, I was so prepared. I said to myself, 'Well, you'll have fun on the first one, and the next one you'll be miserable and it'll seem like it's forever and you'll get really bored...' I was just prepared for that. But it hasn't happened. I get really excited when I'm shooting. I was just doing ADR and I was so excited to get back to shoot 3 and 4, because I know everybody and we're buddies, so it's like going back to school. Except it's more fun than school. Much more fun.

But I really do actually enjoy them. A lot. I do. I feel like it's going home. Other jobs make me feel strange - 'I don't know these people!' - and then I go back to Hunger Games and I'm like, 'Okay...'

Jennifer Lawrence On Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Is there a similar feeling to Days Of Future Past?
I just freaked out over Peter Dinklage. I lost my mind. I was like, 'That's Tyrion Lannister!' I'd imagine myself getting on my knees and saying, 'My liege...' He's The Angry Elf. He's just everything. Yeah. I freaked out over him. Actually, everybody on set was freaking out. Hugh Jackman was sunbathing, I'm blue Mystique, and then Peter Dinklage walks by on a cellphone and everyone on set says, 'Oh my God, Tyrion Lannister is talking on a cellphone!'

Are you in the blue make-up a lot, or are they going to give you a break this time?
I just freaked out over Peter Dinklage. I lost my mind. I was like, 'That's Tyrion Lannister!' I'd imagine myself getting on my knees and saying, 'My liege...'
I am blue a lot. But I get little moments here and there. It's great because it's the perfect kind of shooting schedule. Everybody gets time off, which with The Hunger Games movies I am definitely not used to.

And what about David O. Russell, is there a similar with-the-gang feeling there?
It feels wonderful. I love him so much, and this last film was really amazing. He's just so incredible when he gets his imagination going. I think it was even better the second time.

Do you have a favourite Hunger Games character name?
They are all very out there. There are times when I am travelling around and I'll see signs, and I think, 'Ah, that's probably where that came from.' Or I'm in the doctor's office, and I hear about a new disease. My ear infection is called 'Claudius Templesmith'.

Have you been showing the newcomers to the franchise the ropes?
No, I'm not a jerk. 'Okay you guys, follow my lead and you'll be fine...' No, everybody just got stuck in. Jeffrey Wright, Jenna Malone, Sam Claflin... everybody was so nice. They all moved in really quickly. As long as you're nice, we like you.

And Josh and I really needed a break from each other, so bringing in new blood was good for us. It was getting unhealthy. I think now the ear infection may not have been from the water - it may have been from Josh talking in my ear too much.

Thank you very much for your time, Jenny From The Block.
I hope I gave you something useable. I've had way too much caffeine and I'm like, 'NYEEEEAR.' I thought you were going to think I was on crack or something. Which I might be, if this is what that feels like.

Interview by Ali Plumb


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