Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Should Jennifer Lawrence lose weight for a role?

Jennifer Lawrence shot to fame this year with her Oscar-nominated performance in Winter's Bone. If that still doesn't ring a bell, she's the very voluptuous Mystique in the super awesome X-Men: First Class. She's really hot for a young girl, kinda reminds me of a young Scarlett Johansson.
J. Law
She's also the actress who got the coveted role of Katniss Everdeen in the movie version of Hunger Games. And I don't like it one bit.

(If you haven't read Hunger Games, stop reading this blog and go to the nearest bookstore and grab a copy!)

The book's protagonist is Katniss, a grim survivor of the Capital's annual Hunger Games, where young representatives from each of the nation's 12 districts battle it out to the death. Yep, you read that right: They send out children to their deaths. Katniss is described as a petite girl, strong for her size and hard for her age because of the years of hunting she had to do to provide food for her family. She has suffered years of having very little to eat, exposure to the bitter winters of District 12, and more unspeakable horrors from the government.

Does this look like a hungry girl to you?

Jennifer is aware of the criticism and has retaliated with this: "I'd rather look a little chubby on camera and look like a person in real life than look great on screen and look like a scarecrow in real life."

Now I'm all for looking healthy but, Jennifer, you're supposed to look hungry, especially in a movie with the word "hunger" in its title. I think you're drop dead gorgeous and more girls should embrace their bodies the way you do. But, Jennifer, you're also an actress who bagged a role that requires a body battered by years of suffering. Darling, you look like you've led a lovely, well fed life.

I think she's either too young to understand what the role demands of her, too confident of her ability to convince viewers that her "chubby" body can look like it's endured hunger for years, or too vain to totally immerse herself in the role.

Even though she's taken on the positive body image defense, acting is not about positive body image. It's about taking on the role and whatever it entails. The actor is supposed to disappear so that the character will be brought to life. Jennifer Lawrence is supposed to disappear so that Katniss Everdeen will be brought to life. That means changing your appearance.

Take these following excellent examples:
Tom Hanks lost weight to look like an HIV/AIDS victim in Philadelphia

Tom Hanks again lost weight and built lean muscle to become the sole plane crash survivor living on an island in Cast Away

Renee Zellwegger put on weight to portray the hefty adorable office girl Bridget Jones

Charlize Theron put on weight to transform into murderous prostitute in Monster

Christian Bale starved himself to look horrific in Machinist then had to bulk up fast for Batman Begins

Christian Bale again lost an alarming amount of weight for his role as Dicky Eklund in The Fighter

Natalie Portman took up a rigorous regimen of ballet and strict diet for an entire year and a half to become the obsessed and insecure Nina in Black Swan

There are many more examples of actors who have completely changed their looks for a role. There is no vanity in true acting because a real actor knows his body is his one instrument in his craft. If he must distort his face, build muscle, shave off her hair, get fat, and, yes, lose weight--if the role requires it, then a true actor will do it.

Image sources from here: Just Jared, Monster, Philadelphia, The Fighter, Cast Away, Black Swan, Bridget Jones, Machinist


  1. It is kind of strange to looking wonderfully healthy when the whole point of the movie is about being hungry! But maybe makeup/costuming will work wonders? She certainly looks great now; I can't blame her for not wanting to mess with it.

  2. I love this post. I'm biased because I'm a theatre actress. :)

    So true. GREAT ACTORS do not care about looking pretty if they are going to portray a role. If looking ugly or beautiful is what a role calls for, then a great actor would wholeheartedly look the part.

    Daniel Day Lewis is my most favorite actor of all time. He's regarded by some of the greatest actors in Hollywood as their contemporary, although he doesn't do too much movies. It takes him a year to prepare for a role. Perfect example would be his movie The Last of the Mohicans. He didn't only look the part, he also lived the part! He stayed and lived for more than a month in a jungle to know how the indigenous people would move and react to their habitat. :)

  3. I think it's much ado about nothing. Have you seen the early screenshots? She looks fine. She doesn't have to be reed thin to give justice to the role, IMO.

  4. Yeah she has to lose weight. She looks more like she's from the Capitol rather than District 12. Also, Katniss is supposed to be lean from all the hunting she does, diba? She doesn't eat much na nga, she's out pa every single day shooting her bow and arrow. She should have killer shoulders and arms.

  5. I guess a really dedicated and true actor will go through all the means in order to achieve what the role requires. :-)

  6. And one last thing: the quote from Jennifer about being a chubby girl was in response to criticism about her weight, not about her refusal to lose weight for Hunger Games. The way you put it here makes it sound as if thats what she replied when asked if she's going to lose weight for Hunger Games. Completely out of context.

    Again, I think she looks fine. She doesn't have to be emaciated to play Katniss. These early shots of her as Katniss show that she can be Katniss: http://www.blogomatic3000.com/2011/05/20/two-more-images-of-jennifer-lawrence-as-katniss-everdeen-in-the-hunger-games/

  7. WendyB, yes, costumes and makeup can do wonders! Why, in the EW photo shoot, she looked 20 lbs thinner! Please refer to the link Melvel has so kindly provided for us. I actually have that EW issue and was amazed at her transformation. Just like how amazed I am at my editor's photo--I always look 2 dress sizes smaller!

    Eliza, LOL at the Capitol quip!

  8. I'm with Melvel on this one. She DID lose weight, and quite a lot too. Using a quote (and a photo!) that's not related to her work for Hunger Games is not only out of context, but misleading and unfair as well.

  9. Summer and Melvel, yes the quote was for X-Men but she did mean that she refuses to lose weight for ANY role, right?

    Plus, the photos you gave as examples were studio shots for a magazine. Never trust those. Have you seen her Flare shots (where the quote was taken)?


    Stunningly gorgeous... and she looks like she has a 15" waist and absolutely no hips! And where did her cute cheeks go? Flare shaved them off! But on Letterman and while out and about, she looks like a normal healthy girl! Paparazzi photos are best, not magazine pics.

    Like Melvel said, it's much ado about nothing. So by talking about this more, are we making a mountain out of molehill? =D

    I think she doesn't look like Katniss. Katniss is small, skinny, dark-skinned, sinewy. JLaw is 5'7", big-boned and fair. But I've been watching movies for a long time. If they can make Elijah Wood look like a hobbit, then I'm willing to see JLaw turn into a small, skinny, dark-skinned hungry-looking girl. Movie magic!

  10. I think she will be fine. I am more concerned about the character and the acting, when I watch movies... rather than the look. Look at what they did to Twilight? They could hardly act! (Not speaking in general, of course)

    I believe Hunger Games will turn out fine. Makeup can do a lot about the chubby cheeks. And Katniss, did have some to eat, compared to all of District 12, being that she's able to hunt for her family's food. So, in the book, we know that she isn't that thin... hehehe!

  11. Hi newlywed Crickette! Now that you've mentioned Twilight, I also have a bone to pick with that movie! With Rosalie especially!

    I guess I have to confess to you all that this is a huge pet peeve of mine so you guys have to understand me. For example, Lost. I couldn't watch it even if it was the best TV for a good long while. Why? Because I can't stand how gorgeous and sexy they all (except Hurley) looked on that island! =D

    But you're right. In Winter's Bone, JLaw was actually quite good. Almost same role in Hunger Games! So let's wait and see!

  12. I watched X-Men: First Class and while I agree that this girl is pretty and sexy (curves are always welcome), I don't get what's so fantastic about her. I think I need to watch Winter's Bone to figure out the reason for all the hype.

  13. Kaya Scodelario shouldve been Katniss! :)

  14. Deepa and Arajane, I agreeeeee!!!


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