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

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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