For the lead star of a blockbuster trilogy commanding millions of fans and even more box office dollars, Jennifer Lawrence is remarkably self-deprecating.
Rather than dwell on the success of Hunger Games: Catching Fire - the second instalment in the hugely popular film franchise - the Oscar-winning actress is still busy cringing over that fall at the Academy Awards earlier this year, as she collected her best actress award for Silver Linings Playbook.
"There really was no magical recipe for falling flat on your face in front of the entire world and then forgetting to thank Harvey Weinstein [whose company produced Silver Linings Playbook] on stage," she says, speaking at a Hunger Games press conference this week. "I can’t say that a certain remedy or thought made me feel better. It’s just time went by and I could stop slapping myself every single time I thought about it.
"I can’t fall again. I can’t. I don’t have any plans to avoid future falls I’m just going to use sheer will power, maybe focus more when I’m walking. I do need some sort of high-heeled boot camp."
Jennifer Lawrence collecting her Oscar
It’s exactly this rather un-Hollywood mixture of humour and irreverence that’s drawn Lawrence a legion of fans.
“I’m just the worst talker in the world because I start listening to myself and I’m like… ‘you suck.’ – it makes for the worst start,” is her half-apologetic introduction at the beginning of the conference.
Lawrence and co-star Josh Hutcherson in Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the latest adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling books, sees Lawrence reprise her role of Katniss Everdeen in an even darker, more oppressive context than the original film. President Snow and the forces that be are out for blood and there’s no place to hide for Katniss and her loved ones.
“She’s an incredible character because she’s very brave but she’s also terrified,” Lawrence says. “She doesn’t know whether she just wants to run or stand up and fight, or how to get out of this situation with as little death as possible. She’s the strongest character I’ve ever read. My favourite part about her is her strength and everything she does come from a place of kindness and love.”
Katniss is driven by “love for her family” – values that ring true with Lawrence in real life.
“Family are incredibly important to me, I wouldn’t be anywhere without them,” she says. “I wouldn’t be here – because my parents wouldn’t have to take out a second mortgage to let me do this. It’s important because they’re always there. Everyone else can leave you but they can’t.”
It’s a sentiment shared by Elizabeth Banks, who plays style-savvy slave to the regime, Effie Trinket.
“I have a family of my own now so there’s a really intense unit; me and my husband have been together 21 years and I have two babies. They’re really everything,” she says. “When I leave my children [to go to work] it’s because I’m passionate about what I’m leaving them to do. Because I’m more passionate about my children than anything else. So when I leave the house, I better be doing it for something I really care about.”
Both women showcase a dizzying array of outfits in the film, although Banks admits the costumes, however dazzling, were “very uncomfortable” to wear.
“The dresses are always so lovely in fittings and then you wear them for 12 hours a day and you want to burn them,” Lawrence explains. “I enjoyed it sometimes… it’s probably like every girl, when you go out and your feet start hurting, you suddenly don’t like it as much.”
Beyond all the jokes and put-downs, you get the impression this is a film Lawrence is truly proud to be part of.
“It does actually make a difference that I love this movie and I’m excited to show it,” she says. “I’m just excited for everybody to see it. I might not actually get nervous this time [on the red carpet] because there’s nothing to be nervous about. The film is perfect to me.”
Picture credit: Rex Features