When The Hunger Games was released in March, several critics had an issue with star Jennifer Lawrence: they thought she didn’t look quite hungry enough.
“A few years ago Ms. Lawrence might have looked hungry enough to play Katniss, but now, at 21, her seductive, womanly figure makes a bad fit for a dystopian fantasy about a people starved into submission,” Manohla Dargis wrote in The New York Times. Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere also took note of Lawrence’s size, saying that she “seems too big” for her co-star Josh Hutcherson: “She’s a fairly tall, big-boned lady (I’ve been in a hotel room with her) who’s maybe 5′ 8″, and he seems to be something like 5’7″.” Variety‘s Justin Chang was a bit more oblique with his dig: “Hunger, the one constant in Katniss’ hard-scrabble life, barely even seems to register.”
The craziest thing of all: None of this is shocking to Lawrence herself. “In Hollywood, I’m obese,” the Oscar nominee says in Elle magazine’s December issue. “I’m considered a fat actress. I’m Val Kilmer in that one picture on the beach.” (Aw, why you gotta pick on Batman II like that, Jen?)
To her credit, Lawrence takes the criticism in stride. “I’m never going to starve myself for a part,” she tells Elle. “I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner’ … I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong — not thin and underfed.” The Silver Linings Playbook star also sees a silver lining to this weighty situation — “I’ll be the only actress who doesn’t have anorexia rumors.”
Sounds like the odds of staying sane in Hollywood are ever in her favor. Catch the rest of Lawrence’s interview on Nov. 13, when Elle‘s December issue hits newsstands.