Jennifer Lawrence is not yet a movie star by the classic definition. She is not yet enough to guarantee a film an opening weekend. I suspect all of that is about to change soon, and once the "Hunger Games" films are all in release, she's going to be able to choose the career she wants. And while she might not be a "movie star" yet, it really is just a matter of time.
Right now, I'm not sure even she is fully able to define what the ideal career would look like. She seems to me from the times we've spoken to be torn between a desire to vanish into her work and an awareness of the way this industry works and what it takes to build a career. She is, in my opinion, ready for the public to catch up to how talented she is, and if "The Hunger Games" is the project that introduces her to a larger audience, then that's a good thing.
On the day I did my interviews for the film, I had my six-year-old with me because we had to drive over to the press day directly after his baseball practice. When we walked into the room where Lawrence was waiting, she said hello to him, and then they launched into a long discussion of Little League and how she used to play and what position he plays, and the whole time, I was laughing about how there are grown men who would give a kidney to just casually shoot the breeze with Lawrence for a few minutes.
I won't have a reaction to the film published until the 20th, but you will see several reviews for the film here at HitFix before then. I know that fans are tense, waiting for critical reactions to the film to start rolling in. It's almost time for them to finally lay eyes on what Gary Ross has done, and in the meantime, we're going to let the filmmakers make their case and tell you how they approached translating the books to the bigscreen.
"The Hunger Games" opens in theaters everywhere March 23, 2012.