Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains. Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. ‘The Hunger Games’ is directed by Gary Ross, and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Amandia Stenberg, Alexander Ludwig, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones and Stanley Tucci.  ‘The Hunger Games’ is based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel, the first in a trilogy that has sold over 16 million copies in print in the United States alone. The film is released in cinemas March 23rd. Look out for a more in-depth interview with Jennifer Lawrence for ‘The Hunger Games’ next week.

What was your reaction after reading “The Hunger Games trilogy“?

Jennifer Lawrence: I went through all of them in a matter of days. I just thought they were incredible. They’re this sort of futuristic Joan of Arc, and I also loved how….it’s hard to stay “true” to something in the future (laughs), because we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but when you look at what’s on reality television, and think about history repeating itself, it seems incredibly relevant. This story seems incredibly relevant. I thought that it was a very important story to be told.

Can you tell us a little bit about Katniss’ background? Also what characteristics intrigued you about her? She’s both fearless and compassionate….

Jennifer Lawrence: Yeah. When we first meet Katniss, she lives in District 12, which is a poor district. She hunts, she loves the forest, she loves the woods, she loves her little sister. She’s got a pretty great life under the circumstances, she’s happy. But then her little sister gets chosen for “The Hunger Games”, that changes everything.

With Katniss, I just love her strength, I’m always finding myself drawn to strong characters – probably because I want to be like that (laughs). Katniss is a girl who has the world placed on her shoulders. She’s one of the first people who stands up against the Capitol. I think people see that strength and they see….it’s a messed up world, its about time somebody did it. But she’s a young girl, and she didn’t play their games, she didn’t make anybody her enemy really. She started a revolution, she’s such a strong lead.

How was it having Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth alongside you as Peeta and Gale?

Jennifer Lawrence: Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta, he could not be a better match – he is Peeta! He can charm the world with three sentences. He’s also one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. It was like being twelve years old at work with him every day. He’s great….he’s Peeta! He’s just charming, there’s nothing you can’t like about him, he can always find the positive situation in everything. Liam Hemsworth, who plays Gale, he’s this huge giant and he’s so sweet and nice, he‘s a gentle giant (laughs). He’s also pretty hilarious. They were both amazing.

Two other key character are Cinna and President Snow, how was it working alongside Lenny Kravitz and Donald Sutherland in those roles?

Jennifer Lawrence: Cinna, who’s played by Lenny Kravitz, he’s now one of my very dear friends, he’s awesome. He’s so perfect for this part because Lenny has such a gentle persona where he makes everybody comfortable – which I can imagine being hard to do when you’re a huge rock star and everybody know who you are. But he has this ability of making everybody feel very comfortable, and he’s very gentle. Cinna has that same ability.

I had one scene with Donald Sutherland in ‘The Hunger Games,’ and I will remember it for the rest of my life. He is remarkable. He sent cold chills down my spine. He’s very funny and nice and a great guy, but as soon as he speaks as President Snow, when he’s acting, it was just chilling.

Wearing the Mockingjay Pin for the first time, what was that like?

Jennifer Lawrence: I was star struck by the Mockingjay Pin! That was the most shocked and excited I had been about seeing something in a movie because….honestly it was like being star struck. When you see it, you think, “Of course that’s what it looks like,” it was exactly how I imagined it to look like. It was an honour to wear that, that was really cool.

This being such revered character by fans of the books, what was it like speaking to Suzanne Collins about Katniss?

Jennifer Lawrence: I talked to Suzanne Collins after I got the part on the phone. It was incredible because I’m her biggest fan, I loved the books so much – I’m obsessed with them (laughs)! Also, because of course what a lot of people were saying, those questions were in my head too. Things like me being too old, being blonde – even though I could dye my hair, they got to me too because that’s how I imagined the character. But hearing it from the woman who created Katniss herself, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Her saying, “I know you can do it,” it gave me all the boost that I needed to play Katniss.