Arts and Humanities
12:42 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Jennifer Lawrence to WFPL: Louisville 'Only Thing I'll Ever Identify as Home'

Jennifer Lawrence in "Hunger Games: Catching Fire"
Credit Lionsgate

Since early 2010, Jennifer Lawrence's Hollywood career has been on a steep incline—from emerging indie film actress to Blockbuster star to Academy Award winner.

What's next?

“I think slow down," Lawrence said. "I can’t think of anything career-wise. I mean, one day, I’d like to direct. I've always wanted to direct.

“Really, the only thing I’m thinking of life-wise right now is just kind of slowing down and buying a house and making a home and having a little less attention.”

The second installment the "Hunger Games" franchise—called "Catching Fire," in which Lawrence stars as an arrow-toting reluctant warrior in a dystopian future—debuts in theaters Thursday night. On the eve of the film's release, Lawrence spoke to WFPL about her plans, her family and her enduring connection to Louisville.

The first "Hunger Games" film had a domestic gross of $408 million—estimates are that the new film will be at least equally successful. Two more "Hunger Games" films are in the works. Meanwhile, Lawrence re-teams in December's "American Hustle" with David O. Russell and Bradley Cooper—director and star, respectively—of "Silver Linings Playbook." Lawrence won an Academy Award for best actress for "Silver Linings."

She'll then be in "X-Men: Days of Future Past," a film version of Steinbeck's "East of Eden" and more. And she plans to produce a film, too.

Lawrence, 23, has been successful picking projects—"Winter's Bone," the first role to draw her wide acclaim (and an Oscar nod), came out of nowhere. She chooses films out of emotion and instinct, she said. She wants to get involved whenever she stumbles onto a story she thinks should be told, especially a script she thinks is being overlooked.

But, again, she wants to relax. Maybe take half a year off.

“Really, right now I don’t even want to like anything, I don’t want to read something that I love because I just know I need to rest," she said.

In entertainment, careers come and go quickly. Top stars don't last.

Lawrence has been lauded in the press for being personable. Critics praise her performances.

She's aware, however, that her four-year trajectory could turn downward.

Perhaps its exhaustion talking, but she expressed mixed feeling about even that.

“I don’t really worry about it, probably because I’m so busy that the thought of everything falling apart and everybody just stop caring would actually feel pretty nice at first," Lawrence said. "Obviously, later it would start to be like, ‘Alright, I want to work, I want to do stuff.’ But, no, it doesn’t really scare me because I kind of want to do that to myself. I kind of want to check my own self out.”

If she's so tired, would she take it all back? Go back in time and reverse her meteoric rise? No, she said. She likes her career just as it is. But:

“I do sometimes I wish I could turn it on and off. I could work and do my job and do what I love and still have all the benefits of my old life. But that can’t really happen.

“I would just walk outside without a hat, without sunglasses, without security. I would just walk by myself and look people in the eye like I used to and just be able to sit and eat or drink coffee and not have to duck my head down. And be able to people watch again, because I used to love people watching before people started watching me.”

Incidentally, Louisville happens to be one of the places where she finds a semblance of her "old life."

In Louisville, Lawrence can shop at Target with her mother, Karen. She can go to bars with her brothers, Ben and Blaine.

“Louisville is actually really respectful," she said. "I can normally go out to dinner with my family and everybody is really nice and leaves me alone. It makes coming home a lot easier. People are really nice about letting me have a really nice experience.”

Though her family is still in Louisville, Lawrence left town to pursue acting when she 14, just after finishing eighth grade at Kammerer Middle School. She's lived in New York. She's lived in Los Angeles.

She's been gone for more than the last third of her life.

But her family is here, including a couple of nephews who she tries to see as often as possible.

“The only thing I’ll ever identify with as home is Louisville," Lawrence said.

And she's trying to help her home city. On Wednesday night, the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation—started by family members—raised more than $40,000 for Mary's Center, which supports area adults and teens with intellectual disabilities, through a special early screening of her latest film. 

Once "Catching Fire" is released this week, Lawrence plans to catch up with her family during the upcoming holiday.

As the Academy Award attests, Lawrence is a serious actor. That's when she's working. The sillier side of her character that so much endears Buzzfeed and its ilk will likely be let out in the coming months.

I asked, Say it's Christmas day and you're home with your family. And the presents are opened, the food is eaten and you're hanging out. And, like a people do, you say let's go to Tinseltown and see a movie. There are a lot of movies out that time of year including 'American Hustle,' but also 'The Wolf of Wall Street,' 'Anchorman II.' Which of those movies would you most likely want to see.

"Anchorman II," She said. "I actually have plans to go see 'Anchorman II.'

"I mean, I want to see 'Out of the Furnace' as well and 'Her,' the Spike Jonze movie, but, yeah, 'Anchorman II' is top of my list right now."

Listen to the interview here: