This year?s Oscar frontrunner for Best Actress is 22-year-old Jennifer Lawrence. She tells Ramin Setoodeh about her role in ?Silver Linings Playbook,? her fame, loving Harry Potter?and why she doesn?t Google herself.
On the big screen, Jennifer Lawrence is as tough as they come. But meet her for dinner, and you?ll quickly learn the truth?she?s a lightweight. After a single glass of wine, she?s already starting to feel tipsy. ?I?m going to need to eat,? she says. ?Or take my clothes off.? She orders a hamburger with bacon and truffle fries. No, wait, she tells our waitress, hold the bacon. And hold the burger. She eyes the strip steak, before deciding on what she really wants?the chicken, with fries. ?Hang on. Sorry, I?m so annoying.? Pause. ?The mashed potatoes! Yeah, instead of the fries.? She tops it off with bacon, because evidently she loves bacon (along with Domino?s pizza, bubble gum, Sour Patch Kids, and pretzels dipped in avocado). Should we share some fries? ?No,? she insists. ?Order what you want.? When I do, she interjects: ?You?re making a huge mistake!? The truffle fries it is.
If this sounds like a scene from When Harry Met Sally, it?s because Lawrence, 22, is an eccentric spirit. You?d never know that from her roster of serious roles?Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Mystique in X-Men: First Class, and her Oscar-nominated debut in Winter?s Bone. Lawrence grew up in Louisville, Ky., where she worshiped Lucille Ball. ?My No. 1 priority in life is laughing,? she says. Now audiences are about to see that comedic side in David O. Russell?s latest, Silver Linings Playbook. Lawrence plays Tiffany, a widow, who romances her bipolar neighbor (Bradley Cooper). Lawrence is so great in the role, she?s already a frontrunner for next year?s Best Actress Oscar.
In a candid two-hour conversation over dinner in Atlanta, Lawrence spoke to Ramin Setoodeh about a variety of ridiculous?and a few serious?subjects.
How did you find Tiffany?
When I first showed up, she was goth. They dyed my hair jet-black, and I was going to get my tongue pierced. She had a million piercings. We went along with it and tested it. It just didn?t seem right. We got a brand new wardrobe and dyed my hair lighter to make her less intense.
Did you diagnose her with a condition?
No. Bradley was studying documentaries on people with manic depression. I didn?t ever feel like Tiffany had a condition. I felt like Tiffany did something and made no apologies. She?s like, ?Yeah, I fucked everyone in my office. I was mourning the death of my husband.? For me, I gained weight and lay around.
The reason being?
It was actually hilariously backwards. David pulls me in his office. I?d just wrapped The Hunger Games, and he?s like, ?Listen about the weight stuff, I want you to gain weight.? No problem. Then halfway through, when we?re shooting the dancing scene, he?s like, ?Oh yeah you?re going to be in a crop top.?
I?m white trash, so that could be the white trash Kentucky version. I?m not sure what it?s called. A belly shirt? A half top?
What?s David O. Russell like?
I?ve never met somebody who deserves a reputation less than David. He is the warmest, nicest, most wonderful man. I think that the only problem, really, is that he cannot bullshit and he?s in Hollywood. And people who can?t bullshit in Hollywood don?t fit in well, because that?s how this industry is fueled and how actors are maintained?bullshit. I grew up in sports, where you were screamed at all day. I can?t work in an environment where they?re constantly talking about how everything I?m doing is right. We would be in the middle of a take, and I?d hear David going, ?It?s so bad.? And Bradley would be giving me this look, like, ?Are you OK?? I?d just start cracking up. Sometimes you?re going to suck and it?s great if somebody could just tell you when you?re sucking.