“Hunger Games” fans are clamoring to see Katniss Everdeen on the big screen when the hotly-anticipated movie hits theaters Friday. To get ready for “Hunger Games,” the movie’s star Jennifer Lawrence had serious athletic training, mastering the heroine’s signature skill of archery, dabbling in yoga and parkour to strengthen for the arena scenes, even learning how to run properly.
“I’m pigeon-footed so I run like I have real problems,” Lawrence said on “Good Morning America” today. “So I decided to learn how to run with my feet straight and then they ended up just taping my ankles to make my feet go out.”
The 21-year-old actress had to stop flopping her hands in front of her while running around the arena to play a convincing Katniss Everdeen, the movie’s 16-year-old heroine who is forced to fight for her life in the annual Hunger Games competition. Set in the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem, the Hunger Games are a televised battle-to-the-death where 24 kids face off annually in the arena and only one victor is left standing.
For Lawrence, a Kentucky native who is best known for an Oscar-nominated performance in “Winter’s Bone,” the role has put her in the spotlight. After landing the coveted part in the franchise, Lawrence mulled it over for three days before accepting.
“It was a huge decision that I felt just couldn’t be made in the phone call,” she said. “There are not a lot of decisions you make that will change your life forever and it will never go back. I didn’t know if I was ready for my life to veer in this direction yet. But ultimately, I love the script, I love the character, the books and the director.”
Her favorite scene to shoot was one where veteran actor Stanley Tucci, who plays the “Hunger Games” TV host and announcer Caesar Flickman, interviews Katniss before she goes off to compete.
“We had been out in the woods for three months and I was ready to be inside,” she said. “Shooting with Stanley Tucci is unbelievable….It’s also a cool turning point for Katniss because it’s when she realized it’s a game and she has to play along.”
“The Hunger Games,” the movie adaptation of author Suzanne Collins’ wildly popular teen novel, is expected to be the biggest film of the year and rake in $100 million on opening weekend alone. Already the movie has sold more advance tickets than any other non-sequel movie, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Lawrence has lit up the red carpet at premieres around the globe and along with co-stars Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, who have been swarmed by excited teen fans at countless stops across the country. Poised to become an icon, Lawrence said she’s “ready as you can be” for the fame.
“There’s no way to prepare for people screaming in your face, in a good way,” she said. “It’s a weird thing to adjust to.”
“The Hunger Games” opens Friday, March 23 in theaters nationwide. Watch “Good Morning America” to see star Josh Hutcherson live on Thursday.