LOS ANGELES, Nov 16, (RTRS): While heroine Katniss Everdeen leads a rebellion in the final “Hunger Games” movie, the actress who brought the character to life, Jennifer Lawrence, is coming into her own in a business dominated by men. With an Oscar and a number of hit films to her credit, Lawrence, 25, was ranked by Forbes as the highest-paid actress last year with an estimated $52 million in earnings.
Hollywood’s top actors earned much more. When Lawrence spoke out against the wage gap last month, her comments went viral.
Lawrence reprised her role as Katniss in “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2,” due in theaters on Friday. She said the franchise had shown that “a female lead in an action movie can still be a critical and commercial success.”
“The huge misconception that women can relate to male leads but men can’t relate to female leads, I think that’s something studios are saying and it’s just getting repeated. Hopefully that kind of mentality is on its way out,” Lawrence said in an interview.
Lawrence’s brash sense of humor helps audiences relate to her. And she said that as she gets older, she is becoming more passionate about issues.
“You can actually really start to appreciate that you do have a platform and a voice that people will listen to and the option to use it hopefully for betterment,” she said.
Last month Lawrence wrote an essay for actress Lena Dunham’s newsletter in which she discussed being angry with herself for not asking for more money, as her male co-stars do, for fear of coming across as a “spoiled brat.”
“I was really shocked,” Lawrence said of the mostly positive response. “When (Dunham) asked me to write something, I just typed something up and pressed send. I didn’t really have any expectations.”
Lawrence has mainly played strong women. She won her first Oscar nomination for playing survivor Ree in 2010’s independent drama “Winter’s Bone.” She played the outspoken Tiffany in “Silver Linings” and Katniss, the “Hunger Games” heroine.
Next up is “Joy,” in which she plays the matriarch of a family business through four generations. It is expected to earn the Kentucky native her fourth lead actress Oscar nomination in five years.
Lawrence does not see herself sticking with a particular type of character.
“I don’t think it’s incredibly important as a part of my job or craft to play strong women,” she said. “I think it’s ok to play something more vulnerable, more passive or a little weaker.”
This year after wrapping up “Hunger Games” and “X-Men,” in which she plays blue, shape-shifting Mystique, Lawrence will step into a post-franchise chapter of her career.
She is co-writing a script with comedian Amy Schumer and filming space romance “Passengers” with Chris Pratt.
“I have complete control over my schedule and I really like that,” said Lawrence.
Shonda Rhimes stepped up to the podium at Saturday’s Baby2Baby gala in Culver City to introduce the evening’s honoree, her friend and “Scandal” star, Kerry Washington.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for the news that someone aside from my sisters was going to have a baby than I was when Kerry Washington told me she was pregnant,” Rhimes said. In 2014, Washington gave birth to a daughter, Isabelle. “We were in her trailer, and I think I danced. Or maybe I jumped up and down, but whatever I did, her trailer was rocking.”
The showrunner praised the actress, who received the Giving Tree Award for her work with Baby2Baby, a non-profit foundation that provides children with basic necessities. “Kerry is changing the lives of children in general. As many as she can. Which may sound ambitious, but if you think that, you don’t know Kerry.”
Rhimes listed off some of Washington’s other charity credentials which include sitting on President Barack Obama’s committee on the arts and humanities; advocating for the Purple Purse project, which works to protect women against domestic violence; and supporting V-Day, which works to end predatory violence against women. “Bringing children to the arts, ending domestic violence, giving women financial independence, she’s gladiating for families,” Rhimes said. “So you get why I jumped up and down in the trailer, right?”
Rhimes wasn’t the only one who thanked Washington for her charitable work: in one video, Michelle Obama expressed her gratitude, and in another, Oprah Winfrey, Tony Goldwyn and Jane Fonda spoke about the actress’ inspiring work off-screen.
In her speech, Washington shared her experience going to her obstetrician in Beverly Hills, whose husband worked with less privileged women. “I would ask about these other women because I would try to put myself in their shoes and make sense of their life versus my life,” Washington said. “Try to make sense of this little girl from the Bronx who suddenly was walking into a doctor’s office in Beverly Hills — try to make sense of the fact that I come from a neighborhood where really by now I should have five kids and no degree and maybe be on unemployment.” The actress said the experience forced her to reconcile her own privilege. She stopped thinking about less fortunate families as “other” and urged everyone at the gala to close the gap in their minds as well.
She also took a brief moment to address the recent terror attacks in Paris. “I think that in light of what’s happened in the world, just to remember how much we have to be grateful for. And I’m so grateful for all of you.” She finished her speech by saying a few heartfelt thank yous. “I’m so grateful for my family who is here tonight — for my amazing husband who is here even though our bathroom exploded today. He figured out a way to solve that problem — he’s the real gladiator. And to my beautiful mom who is here; thank you for getting me from the Bronx to here.”
Baby2Baby co-presidents Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Norah Weinstein, Jessica Alba, Julie Bowen, Reese Witherspoon, Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan, Jessica Biel and Gwen Stefani were among the many other celebrity guests at the gala at 3Labs. Attendees feasted on a dishes from more than a dozen of L.A.’s best and most beloved restaurants, including charcoal potatoes with caviar cream served by Ink chef Michael Voltaggio and burgundy escargots with garlic and parsley butter from Petit Trois. In total, the event raised over $2.1 million.