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Jennifer Lawrence   ('Hunger Games') Jennifer Lawrence ('Hunger Games')

'Let The Games Begin!'

The highly anticipated film 'The Hunger Games' is in theaters today. It's based on the first book of author Suzanne Collins' trilogy aimed at young adults. Of course, the best-sellers have already caught fire with readers of all ages.

The story is set in post-apocalyptic North America, where the government squashed a revolution and has continued to flaunt its power with an extreme and violent tradition.

I've heard that You were a fan of these books before there was any talk of you being involved in the movies. So, how did you come across them? "My mom was really them in her book club. She recommended them to me, and then I read all three of them in four days and did the same as Gary's daughter - disappeared into them, with a couple of shocked looks on my face."

What shocked you? "Then it could be exciting, but I loved how powerful the message was for our generation. I kind of - I loved this kind of story not being spoon-fed to anybody - this very sophisticated, young adult story with a very large, powerful message."

And speaking of that sophisticated young adult - I mean, clearly, the key to this movie was casting the right Katniss Everdeen. I mean, the whole story is centered around her fight for survival. And what draws you to the character? "She's not a hero. She's not a James Bond or Lara Croft that's done this a million times and we - she has all the tools and knows how to do it, and we're just going to watch her win. There's never really a point in the games where she thinks she won't die. She's just trying to survive for her family, and then becomes this Joan of Arc by starting to fight for her people."

When you think about the young women who are going to be in these audiences, what do you want them to take from this character? " I think the most important message that this movie has, and what Katniss has, is how powerful one person can be; and the power that we have, as the people. Because we're always being, you know, whatever we are being manipulated by - if it's reality television, the news, the president. And also, on a simpler note, she's just a girl who's standing up for what's right when something is wrong, when it's hard - and when it's scary."

This is an incredibly physical movie. I mean, you are running, tripping in the woods; you're killing people, knives are flying. How did you prepare for all this? "Lots of training," she laughs. "I had running and then free running - like park or agility training; combat climbing."

I understand that you said that your mom recommended 'Hunger Games' to you. And what does she think of you as Katniss? "She loves it. I mean, she was - you know, I spoke to her at the beginning when I got offered the part, and then took a few days to think about it. And, you know, at first she was just kind of in mom mode of what's best for me as a person. And then she was like, well, I don't know. Are you sure of something this big, and what's it going to be like?"

What were the doubts? What if she had said, you know, that there could be a potential downside to something like this? What was it? "I was just worried about, you know, there's not a lot of decisions that you're faced with that will change your life forever - and it'll never go back. You know, I was afraid I wouldn't - nobody would ever be able to lose themselves in another character that I did; that I would always be, you know, Katniss is doing a period drama. Katniss is doing a - and then I realized that if I'm going to be known for any character, that this is the most incredible character that I could ever - you know, I'd be honored."

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