At times a single year can make the difference. It can change the very route on which one’s life will embark on altogether. For Jennifer Lawrence, 2012 was that year. A breakout year, a year that transformed her from a talented actress to a superstar. And it all started in March 2012.
The release of The Hunger Games was always going to be an exciting affair. The trilogy of books by Suzanne Collins had been quite popular, with its “young adult” fiction genre and the themes of romance and action strongly intertwined in the plots. But if someone was to give me a dollar each time a promising big screen adaptation of a popular book series turned out to be dismal, I might have enough funds to produce a movie myself. So The Hunger Games was no winner from the word go. But when it released in late March 2012, it did not take more than three days to declare this movie a champion. Earnings of $153 million in the first weekend in the domestic market made it the third best opening of all-time then. Compare it to the production budget that had been barely $80 million, and the studios had hit a gold mine. The movie went on to earn $691 million in worldwide box-office collections, and the beginnings of a grand movie series had been set in motion.
So what made the movie work? A lot of factors undoubtedly go behind a movie’s success. But surely one of the biggest reasons here was Jennifer Lawrence. She made for the perfect Katniss Everdeen. It felt as if the character had jumped out from the pages of the book onto the big screen in flesh and blood. If you have seen the interviews of Jennifer Lawrence, you would agree that she comes across as someone who is joyful, energetic and witty. But as Katniss Everdeen, Lawrence was plunged in a barbaric futuristic world where her character was deadpan serious, at times grim, but a survivor, nonetheless. Jennifer Lawrence ceased being herself for that role, put on the skin and costume of Katniss Everdeen and stepped into the Capitol-controlled world with a resolve to succeed. That is exactly what she did, she succeeded. She succeeded in displaying the gloominess of an elder child who is still too young to be entrusted with the responsibilities to feed a family; she succeeded in showcasing the pangs of fear an elder sister carries for the younger one; she succeeded in bringing out the pains of having your heart debating between two possible lovers; she succeeded in being the spark that would ignite a revolution.
The Girl on Fire sparkled and dazzled the global audience and Jennifer Lawrence was now the one to talk about. With success already seen earlier in the year, things did not go too bad towards the end either. Alongside Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence starred in Silver Linings Playbook which became yet another critical and commercial success. Nominated for an Oscar two years back for her role in Winter’s Bone, Jennifer Lawrence finally took home the Oscar trophy for Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook even before she had turned 23. She was now “Academy Award Winner” Jennifer Lawrence! Somewhere in between these two movies that have changed the course of her career, Lawrence also starred in the tepid horror flick House at the End of the Street. But even the lack of success for this film could do nothing to dampen the new heights that 2012 has taken Jennifer Lawrence to.
2013 may very well keep the momentum running for Lawrence, even though we are nearing its end. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will bring back Katniss Everdeen to continue with what she had started. The movie is all set to be released in the coming weekend in North America. And boy oh boy, wait for the box-office figures to come out. We could be in for a mammoth of a number here! Before the end of the year, Lawrence would also be seen as part of the ensemble cast in David Russell’s American Hustle in what looks like to be a completely different role. Just two months could make the year a Jennifer Lawrence year again! In such a short career span, Lawrence has shown so many aspects of her acting prowess, playing the fierce, the quirky, the serious, the scared, the romantic. In 2014, she reprises her role as the younger Mystique in X-Men: Days of Future Past before once again lifting the bow and the quiver of arrows in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. And a year later, Katniss Everdeen is likely to take her final bow from the movie theatres in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. But someone who is far far away from reading her farewell speech is Jennifer Lawrence. A phenomenal bundle of talent, Lawrence has still a long journey in front of her, which if she continues going the way she has been, should be filled with more awards and more acclaim and more love from the fans. This girl on fire is never going to be doused anytime soon!