Jennifer Lawrence knows how to skin squirrels, chop wood, fight, and shoot a bow. Some actors and actresses show extreme dedication to their careers, and Jennifer is one of those notable few. Most known for her roles in The Hunger Games, Silver Linings Playbook, X-Men, and American Hustle, Jennifer Lawrence is a remarkable actress, having won two Academy Awards for Best Actress (and nominated four times), making her the second-youngest Best Actress winner (“Jennifer Lawrence Biography,” IMDB para. 1 & 5). She connects to young viewers because of the way she presents herself—she comes off as a genuine person. Many celebrities come across as trying to be superior to the rest of humanity, but Jennifer Lawrence presents herself as an average young woman with a fun personality, and there is no shortage of instances of her lightheartedness. “I always feel like an idiot every time I fly first class because I’m a kid,” She stated in an interview. “And I just sit there, and everyone’s got their newspapers and they’re on the computer, and I’m like, ‘Can I get a coloring book, please? Can I get some crayons?’” (Claire, para. 25). Jennifer Lawrence is the perfect combination of talented and relatable.
Three movies that capture her appeal and versatility as an actress are: The Hunger Games (March 23, 2012), Silver Linings Playbook (November 16, 2012), and House at the End of the Street (September 21, 2012). The three roles are all completely different from one another, and allow for a wide scope to examine her abilities. These films fit into the genres of action/dystopian, drama, and horror, respectively. All three were released in 2012, and offer an accurate analysis of Jennifer Lawrence’s acting style and range, rather than assuming a change in role preferences over the years.
Jennifer Shrader Lawrence, or JLaw, was born on August 15, 1990, in Louisville, Kentucky to Karen and Gary Lawrence (“Biography,” para. 1-2). As a child, her parents refused to let her act until she graduated high school, with the exception of church plays (“Jennifer Lawrence,” Hello! Magazine para. 3). Even from a young age, she felt a strong passion for acting, and knew that she had to chase her dream. Because of her parent’s wishes for her to wait until after she graduated to pursue acting, the determined, intelligent, and stubborn Lawrence ended up graduating high school two years early with the goal of exploring an acting carrer. “I never considered that I wouldn’t be successful,” she reported. “I never thought, ‘If acting doesn’t work out I can be a doctor.’ The phrase ‘If it doesn’t work out’ never popped into my mind” (“Jennifer Lawrence,” Hello! Magazine para. 4).
Prior to her acting career, Lawrence participated in cheerleading, field hockey, softball, and modeling. According to IMDB, she had a passion for none of these (“Jennifer Lawrence Biography,” IMDB para. 3). As a fan of theater, Lawrence begged her mom to take her to New York City to visit talent agencies. She obliged. While visiting New York City with her mother in 2004, Lawrence was stopped by a man in Manhattan during a photo shoot for an H&M advertisement. “This guy was watching me, and he asked if he could take my picture,” Lawrence recalled. “We didn’t know that that was creepy, at the time. So we’re like, ‘Sure.’ So he took my mom’s phone number and all of a sudden all these agencies are calling. And that’s when it all started” (para. 6). He was a talent scout, and because of him agents began providing Lawrence with her early acting experiences where she appeared on shows such as Monk and Medium, and eventually The Bill Engvall Show (“Jennifer Lawrence,” PEOPLE para. 2-3).
By 2007, at age 17, Lawrence’s career path took her and her family to the city of Los Angeles. At this point, she was already cast in the TBS sitcom The Bill Engvall Show, where she played the teenage daughter of a psychotherapist, and shortly after, she was cast in smaller movies such as The Poker House (“Jennifer Lawrence Biography,” IMDB para. 4). She continued playing roles in little-known films until 2009, when she was chosen for the lead role in Winter’s Bone. Winter’s Bone, a movie about a teenager who searches for her father, a criminal, in the Ozark Mountains, earned Lawrence significant attention. When she played as a supporting character in “The Beaver,” also from 2009, with Oscar winners Mel Gibson and Jodi Foster, she received much support, Hollywood wisdom, and valuable advice that later helped her develop her raw talent into the stellar actress she is today. But that raw talent was real, organic and believable. Because of her success in Winter’s Bone, she received her first best actress Academy Award nomination at age 20 (Murray para. 3). Lawrence later went on to win the Best Actress Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook in 2012 (“Jennifer Lawrence Biography,” IMDB para. 29). She has never taken acting lessons, and reports that she “simply [relies] on her instincts when playing a role” (“Biography” para. 7).
Some of Jennifer Lawrence’s trademarks are her “slightly husky voice” and honest, genuine personality. When filming The Hunger Games, Lawrence showed up for filming multiple times with the same blood and scar makeup as the previous day, and actress Elizabeth Banks gave Lawrence the nickname Katpiss Neverclean as a play on the name of Lawrence’s role as Katniss Everdeen. In an interview, Lawrence “admitted to smoking pot with her brother before The Oscars.” Her unfaltering honesty is part of what makes Jennifer Lawrence such a loveable actress. She is also well known for her stance on body image and the media. “In Hollywood, I’m obese,” Lawrence remarked. “I’m considered a fat actress. I eat like a caveman. I’ll be the only actress that doesn’t have anorexia rumors! I’m never going to starve myself for a part. I’m invincible. I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner!’” (“Jennifer Lawrence Biography,” IMDB para. 7, 40, 53, 94).
Jennifer Lawrence has spanned the acting spectrum. She’s been in science fiction films (Passengers – 2016), and biopics (Joy – 2015); she became a reluctant savior to a rebellion (Hunger Games franchise – 2012-2015), and starred as a superhero/villain (X-Men reboot trilogy 2011-2016), as well as an evil seductress in best selling author Ron Rash’s Serena. If you search her name, millions of Google results appear. From stories about her childhood and biographies about her early acting days, to details about her most recent projects and rumors about her love life, Jennifer Lawrence has become a household name and a popular internet search due to her relatable sense of humor, her stunning skills as a young actress, and her general appeal to a younger audience.
Lawrence has reported finding herself drawn to roles of darker characters because she finds that her life would be too boring to portray, which is interesting to think about when you see the way she carries herself in interviews verses how she carries herself on camera when playing one of the “darker” roles. In interviews, Lawrence is bubbly, naturally awkward in a relatable manner, and warm. She holds herself with confidence and poise, and always has a grin on her face. As soon as she’s on camera for a serious role, her posture seems to change to convey less confidence and joy, the smile lines disappear from her face, the twinkle in her eyes fades away, and her voice grows somber. Her transformation between characters and reality shows a complete 180. Her ability to immerse herself into the roles of her characters makes her one of the most recognizable and loved young actresses of her day. With House at the End of the Street being filmed summer of 2010, Silver Linings Playbook being filmed in the fall of 2010, and The Hunger Games being shot in spring and summer 2011, it’s easy to see Jennifer Lawrence’s fantastic progression of skills over a short period of time. Her roles grow increasingly involved and complex, and she handles them beautifully as she gains more experience. She’s a household name, and no doubt is in high demand for big budget movies. Lawrence is sure to star in at least a handful of other hit movies in her prime, and her future work will ultimately be worthy of further study by others to see the progression of her abilities and style. Jennifer Lawrence brings to viewers a level of skill that Hollywood hasn’t seen in years from an actress so early in her career. Oh yeah, and by the way, a character in Star Trek: Beyond was even modeled after Lawrence and carried the name Jaylah.
Written by Jen Guberman, 2016 (edited and adapted for article by Noel T. Manning II 2017)
Biography. Retrieved November 22, 2016, from http://jenniferlawrencedaily.com/information/biography/
Claire, M. (2016, November 4). 39 Of The Best Jennifer Lawrence Quotes Of All Time. Retrieved November 22, 2016, from http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/news/celebrity-news/jennifer- lawrence-best-quotes-of-all-time-34113
House at the End of the Street (2012). Retrieved November 22, 2016, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1582507/
Jennifer Lawrence Bibliography. (2016, August 17). Retrieved November 22, 2016, from http://www.biography.com/people/jennifer-lawrence-20939797#personal-life
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Jennifer Lawrence. Retrieved November 22, 2016, from http://us.hellomagazine.com/profiles/jennifer-lawrence/
Jennifer Lawrence. Retrieved November 22, 2016, from http://people.com/tag/jennifer-lawrence/
Murray, L. (2016, May 26). Jennifer Lawrence. Retrieved November 22, 2016, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jennifer-Lawrence
Silver Linings Playbook (2012). Retrieved November 22, 2016, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1045658/
The Hunger Games (2012). Retrieved November 22, 2016, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1392170/