Jennifer Lawrence has always been apprehensive about fame. It’s why she took three days to decide to star as Katniss Everdeen in the original The Hunger Games back in 2011. And it’s likely why she relates so well to the Girl on Fire, a character who gradually learns how to take control of the attention thrusted upon her. Yet that understanding doesn’t mean it’s not difficult.
“The whole world starts looking at you differently,” she says of the almost overnight fame that came with playing Katniss. “I remember getting really emotional just trying to get a coffee because I felt everywhere I looked, everybody was reacting and it made me feel alienated. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel a part of humanity in this weird way.”
Lawrence credits her close group of friends with keeping her sane when the spotlight began to shine so bright on her after The Hunger Games opened in March 2012.
“I was living with my best friend and I surrounded myself with such a good group that were all, obviously, looking at me the same,” she added. “So in my intimate world, nothing changed.”
Yet, despite the forces around her that helped keep her grounded, Lawrence found the loss of privacy upsetting.
“I was angry for a long time because I felt like I should have the right to drive without being followed. I should have the right to not be photographed, especially when you’re going to put my picture next to a story that came out of f—ing nowhere,” she says. “I was so angry for a long time and now I feel like I just don’t have the energy for that anymore. I’ve got such a great life and such a great job. There are some s—ty things that come along with it, but you know, whatever.”
The final installment of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 will open on Nov. 20. To read the entire interview with Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth, pick up the latest copy of Entertainment Weekly magazine.