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Jennifer Lawrence ‘Hunger Games’ Casting: I Was Asked to Lose Weight

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Jennifer Lawrence joined Viola Davis for Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series and revealed the one concern everyone had when her casting for “The Hunger Games” was announced: “How much weight are you going to lose?” Despite an Oscar nomination for “Winter’s Bone,” Lawrence was still a relative newcomer when she was cast as Katniss Everdeen. “The Hunger Games” would turn Lawrence into a worldwide superstar.

“In ‘Hunger Games,’ it was an awesome responsibility,” Lawrence said of the role. “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.”

For Lawrence, “The Hunger Games” marked the rare opportunity to make an action movie that was led by a female action hero. So many years later, Viola Davis got a similar opportunity with “The Woman King.”

“I remember when I was doing ‘Hunger Games,’ nobody had ever put a woman in the lead of an action movie because it wouldn’t work — because we were told girls and boys can both identify with a male lead, but boys cannot identify with a female lead,” Lawrence said. “And it just makes me so happy every single time I see a movie come out that just blows through every one of those beliefs, and proves that it is just a lie to keep certain people out of the movies. To keep certain people in the same positions that they’ve always been in.”

Watch Lawrence and Davis’ full “Actors on Actors” conversation in the video below.

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