Jennifer Lawrence on ‘Hunger Games’ Prequels: ‘It’s Too Soon’

Jennifer Lawrence Hunger Games Prequels
Erik Pendzich/REX Shutterstock

If Lionsgate, the studio behind the mega-grossing “Hunger Games” series, decides to re-enter the arena, it will do so without Jennifer Lawrence.

The woman who brought Katniss Everdeen to life on the big screen made it clear that she won’t be dusting off the bow and arrows for rumored prequels to the series that made her a star.

“I wouldn’t be involved,” Lawrence told Variety during the premiere of her new film, “Joy.” “I think it’s too soon. They’ve got to let the body get cold, in my opinion.”

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” was originally supposed to be the end of the franchise, but Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns hinted that the studio was exploring new plot lines and spinoff opportunities at last week’s UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. He told investors that the series could be like Harry Potter and “live on and on.”

Lawrence may be right that audiences need a breather from the world of Panem. “Mockingjay – Part 2” is a box office hit, but it is on pace to be the lowest grossing film of the series on a domestic basis.

The actress seemed thrilled to be reuniting with David O. Russell for a third go-round. Her “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle” director pitched her on the idea of getting the band back together in an unusual way, she told Variety.

“David called me in the middle of the night a year and a half, maybe two years ago, and said, ‘Would you like to play the woman who invented the Miracle Mop, Joy Mangano?'” Lawrence remembered. “I was like, ‘Absolutely, let me go back to sleep and I’ll call you tomorrow.'”

“Joy” finds the frequent collaborators following Mangano from her childhood through a failed marriage to her eventual business triumph as a QVC star and the founder of a home goods business empire.

“Now we know her as such a matriarch and she started a multi-million dollar corporation, but she was basically a single mom who worked at Eastern Airlines and got told no a million times and kept fighting,” said Lawrence. “I just thought that was so inspiring.”

It was a rise to power and wealth that required a unique set of skills, Russell said.

“She had to become a bit of a gangster,” he said. “That is what inspires me. When someone becomes a badass but they’re also very forgiving and kind and I hadn’t seen that with a woman’s film. I’d seen it in a lot of men’s films.”

Lawrence isn’t the only familiar face in Russell’s latest effort. “Joy” co-stars Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, both of whom appeared in “American Hustle” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” They’ve all formed something of a stock company for the director, who compares the relationships to the one De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio have with Martin Scorsese or the one William Wyler enjoyed with Bette Davis.

“You have a trust and you want to take chances together and you like working together,” he said.

Cooper said the familiarity allows Russell to have a shorthand with the actors and enables them to challenge themselves.

“It’s thrilling because each time we’ve done something together there’s an even higher bar to set because we want to make sure it’s completely different,” said Cooper.

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  1. Shandy says:

    I’d say she’s got a point; thought we’d be talking about this next year, not while Part 2 is still in theaters, haha. I suppose it’s never too early to start mulling over ideas (honestly, who hasn’t been thinking about what else they’d like to see?), but let’s not rush anything into production! Take it easy; let it unfold the way it’s meant to. Give it the time it needs.

    As far as prequels (history of the country, pasts of other characters, previous Games, etc.)…you’d probably be looking at scouting for actors to play the characters’ younger selves. With sequels (which imo could be an even more intriguing prospect, especially because they can always look backward in time and reveal historical/backstory information as well), you gaze into the future, and very likely bring back the cast whose characters survive. How far into the future do you go? How much will you have to age them up? Well, that’s the kind of thing that remains to be figured out.

    “Spin-off” is a little bit more vague of a suggestion; you’re either setting the next piece in the past or the future, OR you’re focusing on somebody else during the same time period we just witnessed (between the 74th HG and the end of the war.) So you have to figure out where you’re starting. Personally, I think it’d be wise to do something that includes at least a few of the people we know and are invested in first–before trying to expand into any kind of riskier territory.

    It’s more than understandable that the main trio of young actors (Jen, Josh, Liam) have other things lined up for them and don’t want to just continue being Katniss, Peeta, & Gale forever. They need to be allowed to do some work outside of this franchise.

    And without giving a pass to all the truly pointless productions with no valid reason for existence aside from $$…I must acknowledge that “Do something original” is infinitely easier said than done. There’s nothing truly original anymore. Everything comes from something. We’ve reached the point of minor variations and continuations. THG can be compared with Battle Royale, which can be compared with the mythology by which THG was actually inspired. Further HG films (or whatever) wouldn’t be cheap rehashes; what we’ve already seen only happened once. The only way I could see it being retreaded would be an attempt to bring to the screen everything that had to be cut for time purposes. There’s enough else to see and learn in this world to make sequels & prequels great ideas–but it can’t be emphasized enough that they need to be made in the same mindset, and with the same key people, that the initial trilogy/quartet was.

  2. 85wzen says:

    Of course it’s too soon! It’s for when you want 50 million dollars for doing something that is forgettable… that’s when to go for the Gold, sista!

  3. Bill B. says:

    Great actress. great personality and smart too!

  4. Jim says:

    Come up with some new freaking ideas and quit beating the same material to death. Other than a few really big grossing movies, the box office has otherwise been down the last few years. You’d think these studios would get the hint that people are tired of all this recycled garbage.

  5. eva says:

    Without Jennifer, these hunger games movies are third grade.They have to come up with a better script to make some sense.

  6. natalie says:

    Kardashian? How? Because some perverted people hacked her? Thats sad. Just shows how shallow you are. You hate her? grow up man , she is one of the most incredible and authentic human beings on the planet let alone celebrity.Why do you think everyone who meets her says the greatest things about her? Its not that difficult to find out for sure.

    • Anonymous Friend says:

      I seem to remember a few other people being in the movie as well. She did her part just fine, but I wouldn’t say she elevated the movie’s quality any better than anyone else did. I read all three books before the first Hunger Games movie came out, so I was already excited about seeing it when I didn’t have a clue who she was. And I watched the next two, because I was already invested and curious to see what some of the characters (and mutts) would look like. Jennifer being in it had NOTHING to do with my interest. The books stood on their own. If she makes bank for the box office with JOY and PASSENGERS, then I’ll bow out in humility and apologize for my opinion that she’s a box office star because she’s been cast back-to-back in high-grossing franchise films (a few decent indies in between, which also had other stars in them) and she is an amusing Hollywood celebrity and personality. If she would be more dignified and reserved, like Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman perhaps, maybe people would start noticing her acting again and not just her antics. Right now she’s more of a celebrity camp event than an actress.

  7. Lenny says:

    The movies only showed the 74th and 75th Hunger Games, makes sense to go back and show the earlier 73. They would have to go back far enough to not include anyone from the 75th Quarter Quell, you would run into problems of finding younger actors that resemble the characters we know from the 75th.

    They should start at 1 and show how the games originated. They could include 2 or 3 games per movie to up the action.

  8. Shane Davis says:

    of course its too soon if it doesnt involve her. i hate her, with 98 percent of my being, she might as well be a kardashian now

    • Tut says:

      Wow. Talk about someone needing to get a life. Having hate for a celeb, even if the Kardashians is beyond pathetic, especially in the age of terrorism. Of course she’s not involved. She is 100% right. The studios only want to continue because of greed.

  9. NmdcOne says:

    uhhh…if it’s a prequel, then of course she wouldn’t be in it since the books/movies have already told her story

    (unless each movie is of her *not* getting picked) :D ;)

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