I had a landlord that would always bang on my door with a screwdriver, and try to undo my locks and be like, “Why are you not in school?” And I’d call the police. What do they want? In her latest film about a disturbed housewife she puts in arguably the most intense, alarming performance of her career. So, just what is it that drives her? We sat down together in New York to find out. Jennifer Lawrence, it’s lovely to meet you. Hi, nice to meet you. Thanks so much for doing this. Um so, it’s a traumatising movie. No question. Yeah. Do you remember the first time you saw the full, completed film? I do, it was a few months ago. How was that? I went into a deprivation tank, right after. Really? Yeah! That was rough. The first time you see a movie you’re just kind of looking for everything you’re looking for flaws, you’re looking for your performance you’re looking for double chins. You know, you’re just kind of surprised at how compelling it is. Which sounds rude, but I just meant I liked it because of its metaphors and then watching it I was like, it’s a good movie! It’s good isn’t it? Yeah. And then the second time I saw it with an audience in Venice, and I just was like – This is too much. This is too far. We’ve – this is a huge mistake. We can’t release this movie! People are gonna have pitchforks. And then 30 minutes later I was like, ah. Once the images kind of die down a little bit you’re just left with this visceral feeling. Oh, you do want them. It’s a love letter slash howling at the moon slash scream of rage you know, for the environment, for earth, the beginning of people and human kind, and the beginning of religion. All of these interesting ideas. But you know, I had a group of friends that had seen the movie in Venice. One of them was crying about the environment and was just like, “I just can’t believe we -” You know, ’cause it’s one of the things that it makes you feel what if we treated the earth like a breathing, living organism? And then you know my Italian friend was like “You would have to be a potato not to feel something.” In fairness, I saw it a week ago in Australia before I flew out and I’m still processing it. Yeah. It’s a lot ot process. My family’s seeing it tomorrow. That will be fun. Yeah! I’m going to sit right in between my brothers. I’m wondering, how long did it take you to get out of that headspace after you finished filming. Um, there was one scene that was pretty tough to shake I got anxiety before it and after it. Is it true that you had, this might have been a joke that you said in an interview, so correct me if I’m wrong on this. Did you have a Kardashian tent that you could step out – I really actually did. I’m trying to find pictures of it right now because at this point, I feel we need proof. Right? Oh yeah, yeah. But no, that is true. – I went to my happy place.
– Is that common thing? No, I’ve never done it before but I’ve never gone this dark in a scene, and I started kind of I started getting anxiety before I did it because I’ve never gone that, done something that dark before and I just wanted to make sure that my – Uh, that I could come out of it and be okay. And also, there were so many extras on set that I didn’t if I was going to have some sort of weird meltdown I didn’t want it to be in front of a bunch of strangers. I wanted to just kind of have a tent that was like, away. So my first, my only idea was just kind of like a tent and then it kind of kept escalating. And then suddenly became a Kardashian tent! And it became a Kardashian tent. Actually I did want to ask you about this city, right. So, New York has such an important role in your career. You were found, talent spotted, at the age of 14 and you lived here, I think when you were 16, 17 years old? Uh, 14. You lived here when you were 14? I did, yeah. What was your apartment like? Oh! Rat-infested. Really? Yeah. There was no kitchen, it was a closet. Uh, with a hotplate and one of those little mini fridges. One of the walls was made out of cardboard I mean the wall in the apartment to separate the bedroom to the futon. Very classy. Yes, very classy. I had a landlord that would always bang on my door with screwdrivers, and try to undo my locks and be like “Why are you not in school?” And I’d call the police. Yeah, and I still – once you live with rats you still, I mean I’m like in my great apartment now that definitely doesn’t have rats and I hear anything I’m like “It’s a rat!” I mean once you live with rats, you can never Were you, I read you were competing with the rats for food at some point. I started sharing eventually food with the rats because there’s only so much food I could like really afford. Like I would live on a loaf of bread and then once it would have a hole in it, and little holes out of the bread I’d be like, gross! And I’d throw the whole thing away. And then after a while of spending money on groceries I was like, I gotta… the slices got smaller and smaller. And then finally I’d start cutting away from the little hole and just eat the whole piece of bread. It got really sad. Is that the point at which mum and dad are like “Yeah, no she’s serious about this.” When my parents came and saw the apartment that was exactly what changed my dad’s mind. There was like no hot water. My dad was like, she really wants to do this. And the Oscar goes to Jennifer Lawrence. You obviously don’t audition that much these days given the level that you’re at. No. How are you at auditions? Are you good at them? I was awful at auditions. Really? I think it’s unfair to like, throw four pieces of paper at somebody and be like, act monkey! Really? Like yeah! I remember when I had done like, two movies but I was still very much auditioning, you know it was just like like Burning Plain was the only movie people maybe had seen. My agent would say that they would call back and be like “We were very disappointed after seeing Burning Plain and her audition.” And it’s like, really? You put me in a room with a weird camera and it looks different than me doing a movie and being on set I dunno, I’m not very good at that. Obviously, up until this moment you have been best known for the Hunger Games. And I read that it took you a couple of days to decide to do that film. Why did you take a couple of days to think about that, that role? It was life changing, it’s really rare that you are faced with one decision that will change your entire life. And you knew that, at that moment? I knew that, yeah Twilight had already happened and so we kind of already saw like, the cost of fame. You know, you never want your family to have to get dragged in to anything, because they didn’t sign up for it, you know? When things happen to me, I’m like, okay. So, I just thought it deserved some thinking instead of just being excited, and being like, yes! I wanted to think about my future. In the course of making and promoting those movies I read that there was one particular girl that you met a burns survivor. Why did she mean a lot to you? I just, that was like the first time I realised that I could affect people in a positive way you know doing this. I was so kind of like in my own head about how my life was gonna change a year from now when movies came out and you know, what it was going to be like I was so kind of self-involved that it wasn’t until I met that girl that I was like “Oh my god, I can positively affect somebody’s life.” You know, if they like the movies and they like my- It just made me feel like there could be a bigger point to all that, which was inspiring to me. You were very outspoken about the pay gap in Hollywood between men and women. If you could change anything about the movie business what would you change? I mean, I would change, I would try to create more diversity for everyone, not just women. I think that there used to be this myth that studio heads would always tell people when they were making movies you know, audiences, boy and girl audiences can relate to a boy, or to a man but only girls can relate to a girl. And that’s just not true and I think the Hunger Games proved that wrong. I think even Twilight proved that wrong. The two top grossing films in the past year were Wonder Woman, and Beauty and the Beast. Do you think there is a responsibility that comes with fame to kind of use that spotlight to make changes in the world? Is there a responsibility that everybody who reaches a certain level should kind of take advantage of? I certainly did, but that’s also because I came up through the Hunger Games you know, where I knew there were teenagers and young girls watching me, so I felt that responsibility. I can also see somebody’s point of view of just being like I just wanna act, I just want to do this, I just want to sing. And also it’s hard to be opinionated because you know my job depends on everybody buying tickets not just people who agree with me buying tickets. And I know that, but I still can’t not say anything when I feel like something’s unfair. Jennifer Lawrence, thank you so much for your time. Thank you. Really appreciate your time. Thanks, it was a really nice interview, thank you.