Jennifer Lawrence is Not a Fan of Compliments

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Jennifer Lawrence was a tad awkward at the 2013 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Jennifer Lawrence is incredibly awkward onstage. Given the fact that she is only 22 years old and has been nominated for 2 Oscars, one would think that she could hold a decent conversation about her journey as an actress to the Arlington Theater at SBIFF last Saturday.  Well, she can’t.

That’s not to say that she isn’t graceful or funny or endearing – because she is all of those things. She is just a very humble, reserved person who is unable to talk about herself in any way that glorifies her persona. Lawrence is not the Lindsay Lohan party animal and she is not a fan of the Hollywood lifestyle. One of her biggest role models is a woman who doesn’t associate with the US Weekly scene, Jodie Foster. “Jodie gave me hope because she had no idea she was famous…she made me realize I could be a normal person, too.”

Lawrence practically dies when she gets a compliment. When director of SBIFF Roger Durling told her he admired her gall for trying out for Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook, she whispered a small “thank you” and proceeded to rearrange her foot position. Then she told everyone that she was sweating – the audience laughed whole heartedly – and Durling went into a clip right after to loosen her nerves.

In her early teens, Lawrence became smitten with acting and made the decision to live in New York to try out for parts. She lived in a rat infested little apartment away from her family in Kentucky but it was the happiest time of her life.

Lawrence initially gravitated towards independent films because she likes to be a part of something of meaning to her that nobody in the world might ever see. This explains her abundance in dark indie films, from The Burning Plain to The Poker House to Winter’s Bone, which won best picture at Sundance in 2010. The SBIFF Outstanding Performer of the Year Award was given to her for her role as Tiffany in David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook.

When she was given the offer to play Katniss in The Hunger Games, Lawrence had to think it over for a long time, hesitant about doing a franchise movie. “I had this imaginary future for myself as a normal soccer mom driving a minivan, and I just wasn’t ready to give that up yet.” The hesitation to land the biggest role of her career speaks a lot about her integrity as a human. Lawrence is not here for the money or the fame or the red carpet SBIFF interview; she is a person who just wants to act.

Fun fact about Lawrence: she doesn’t read her lines. She goes over them twenty minutes before a scene is shot and runs with it. It’s like an endless bout of improv. “I can only do it in the moment,” she said. After this statement, Durling complimented her for being so gifted, to which Lawrence modestly responded, “But I’m not really. I think everyone has different gifts – unfortunately mine was very lucrative.”

What did the Arlington Theater learn about Jennifer Lawrence? Two things. Number one: it’s entirely possible for an actor to be a normal person. Number two: she doesn’t take compliments well. But hey, that ain’t a bad thing at all.

You know when you have a friend who wants to be a movie star and you always tell them, “Don’t forget about me when you’re famous?” Lawrence is the kind of person who would never, ever forget. That integrity makes her classic old Hollywood, an Annie Hall of our generation.

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