When you were at the Oscars, did you already know you were about to star
in Hunger Games?
My mom talked about Hunger Games on the red carpet at the Academy Awards, which was something I had told her a million times not to do. She’s like Dina Lohan!—but she has good taste.
As soon as you got the part of Katniss, you began training. I read
somewhere that you are so good with a bow and arrow that you could
compete in archery at the Olympics.
I do love archery. I could kill someone with a bow and arrow if they’d hold still! With Hunger Games, I got really nervous about signing on to that huge franchise. I was afraid that Katniss would overwhelm any other character I’d try to do. But I love Katniss, and she didn’t take over as much of my life as I thought she would.
Tiffany in Silver Linings is very different from Katniss. She’s
challenging and initially off-putting. Do you have to like a character
to play her?
No. I don’t have to like them— a lot of people don’t like themselves. It’s nice not to be likable for the audience. It’s freeing to not have to get an audience on your side.
You started so young—you came to L.A. when you were only 15. One of your
first movies was The Poker House, and your character in the film is
raped. Was that traumatizing?
No. I hid the Poker House script from my parents so that I could audition for it. By the time I got the part, it was too late: They had to let me do it. During the filming of the rape scene, my mom was there. I was okay with it. I was very ballsy at that age—the typical kind of stubbornness that comes with being a teenager. I started out fearless, and now I’m terrified.
That is not true.
It is, and it isn’t: You do become more aware of your mortality as you get older. When you’re little, you jump on any wild horse. Then you get a little bit older and realize how fragile life is, and you’re more careful.
You sound so old. You’re 22!
I’ve been through a lot. I mean, I’ve been nude and painted blue! [Laughs] Truthfully, a lot has happened in a short time.
Have your feelings about the movie business and Los Angeles changed?
Sadly, I cannot live in Los Angeles anymore. I don’t understand how actors can do it. You have no life here. You are followed everywhere. It’s not like that anywhere else in the world. I don’t want to stay in L.A. and start thinking that’s reality—because it’s very far from normal. But I still love movies. I’m just going to love being in them from Kentucky, or Prague, or somewhere else.