The lobby of the School of Visual Arts Theatre in Chelsea looked like the setting of Take Your Children to Work Tuesday evening, what with all the young girls in cardigans and flouncy dresses and boys in Justin Bieber-style kicks running around. But it was more like Take Your Children to Premiere night, specifically a Cinema Society and Calvin Klein-hosted screening of The Hunger Games. As the likes of Zoe Kravitz (whose dad, Lenny, plays costume designer Cinna in the film), Melanie Laurent, Irina Shayk and Gayle King milled around and the male leads Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth took their turn on the step and repeat, I caught up with Jennifer Lawrence, aka Katniss Everdeen, in a curve hugging deep green Calvin Klein dress, to chat bows and arrows and dealing with the hype.
You must have picked up some mad archery skills while playing Katniss. Are you a killshot now?
Jennifer Lawrence: Well, I honestly haven’t done it since we wrapped. I kept telling myself I would and that’s why there are arrows in the back of my car, but I haven’t really had time to get back. But I do love it. I’m really happy I picked it up.
I heard the shoot in North Carolina was 105 degrees. Were you dying in those costumes?
It was pretty hot. Just grin and bear it.
Was it like Method acting?
Yeah, well it is easier when you don’t have to fake the elements.
Did the training for Hunger Games help prepare you for the media circus that you’ve been going through?
I don’t think anything could have helped me for the media circus!
Which was easier: training for the Hunger Games or this non-stop press gauntlet?
The training was a lot easier because it’s just like, do this, this many times and you’re done. But the press, there’s no right or wrong, it’s just like I don’t know, it’s this complicated, never-ending circus that I’ll never understand.
You famously wore that stunning red Calvin Klein dress as a nominee at last year’s Oscars and you’re in another Calvin dress now in a very different scenario. I’m wondering what you were feeling then versus now, how your mindset has changed between these two moments?
Mentally, I haven’t changed. I keep waiting to because everyone keeps asking, “Do you feel different?” And I’m like, “I don’t really feel different, I just feel overwhelmed.”
And this is obviously going to be a defining role for your career beyond all the future work you do. Is that something you’ve come to terms with?
Yeah, it was one of the first things I gripped because it’s a big thing to understand when you do something like that. But this is a character that I admire and I love and a story I’m really proud of and feel really strongly about, so I wouldn’t have done any franchise if it weren’t this one. This is something that I’d be proud to go back to for years and talk about for years.
Photo: Patrick McMullan