Why Jennifer Lawrence Refused to Lose Weight for ‘The Hunger Games’

The actress opened up about her involvement with the franchise and her role as Katniss Everdeen.
Jennifer Lawrence.

Jennifer Lawrence.


Stars are frequently asked to change their lifestyles in preparation for a role. Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence was asked to do just that by Lionsgate ahead of her stint as Katniss Everdeen in the film adaptations of The Hunger Games book series by Suzanne Collins.

“In Hunger Games, it was an awesome responsibility,” Lawrence told Variety. “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?’”

Lawrence knew that the role she was going to play involved someone that young girls would look up to and she wanted that figure to be a strong and empowered one.

“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,” the now 32-year-old recalled. “And I can’t let that seep into my brain either.”

Viola Davis, the Oscar, Tony and Emmy winner, joined Lawrence for the publication’s Actors on Actors series. Davis asked the Silver Linings Playbook star how much the industry, and its flaws, have impacted Lawrence’s love for acting. Lawrence, who welcomed her first baby with husband Cooke Maroney in April, was just 20 when she began filming the first Hunger Games movie.

“I’ve been doing this since I was so young. When Hunger Games was out, I couldn’t really be an observer of life because everybody was observing me,” Lawrence said. “I could feel my craft suffering. And I didn’t know how to fix it. I was scrambling, trying to fix it by saying yes to this movie and then trying to counteract it with that movie.”

What Lawrence didn’t realize was that she could and needed to say “no” to movies until she found something that spoke to her. When she was given the script for her most recent project, Causeway, saying yes was a no-brainer.

Lawrence said she’s proud of the work she did on The Hunger Games and the waves it made for women in the action-movie genre. 

“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,” she explained. “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.”

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Ananya Panchal

ANANYA PANCHAL

Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.