While heroine Katniss Everdeen leads a rebellion in the final Hunger Games movie, the actress who brought the character to life, Jennifer Lawrence, is coming into her own in a business dominated by men.
With an Oscar and a number of hit films to her credit, Lawrence, 25, was ranked by Forbes as the highest-paid actress last year with an estimated $52 million in earnings.
Hollywood’s top actors earned much more. When Lawrence spoke out against the wage gap last month, her comments went viral.
Lawrence reprised her role as Katniss in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, due in theaters on Friday. She said the franchise had shown that “a female lead in an action movie can still be a critical and commercial success.”
“The huge misconception that women can relate to male leads but men can’t relate to female leads, I think that’s something studios are saying and it’s just getting repeated. Hopefully that kind of mentality is on its way out,” Lawrence said in an interview.
Lawrence’s brash sense of humor helps audiences relate to her. And she said that as she gets older, she is becoming more passionate about issues.
“You can actually really start to appreciate that you do have a platform and a voice that people will listen to and the option to use it hopefully for betterment,” she said.
Last month Lawrence wrote an essay for actress Lena Dunham’s newsletter in which she discussed being angry with herself for not asking for more money, as her male co-stars do, for fear of coming across as a “spoiled brat.”
“I was really shocked,” Lawrence said of the mostly positive response. “When (Dunham) asked me to write something, I just typed something up and pressed send. I didn’t really have any expectations.”
Lawrence has mainly played strong women. She won her first Oscar nomination for playing survivor Ree in 2010’s independent drama Winter’s Bone. She played the outspoken Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook and Katniss, the Hunger Games heroine.
Next up is Joy, in which she plays the matriarch of a family business through four generations. It is expected to earn the Kentucky native her fourth lead actress Oscar nomination in five years.
Lawrence does not see herself sticking with a particular type of character.
“I don’t think it’s incredibly important as a part of my job or craft to play strong women,” she said. “I think it’s ok to play something more vulnerable, more passive or a little weaker.”
This year after wrapping up Hunger Games and X-Men, in which she plays blue, shape-shifting Mystique, Lawrence will step into a post-franchise chapter of her career.
She is co-writing a script with comedian Amy Schumer and filming space romance Passengers with Chris Pratt.
“I have complete control over my schedule and I really like that,” said Lawrence.