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Jennifer Lawrence attends the "Causeway" European premiere during the 66th BFI London Film Festival, at the BFI Southbank on October 08, 2022 in London, England.

In a new interview for Variety’s Actors on Actors feature conducted by Viola Davis, Jennifer Lawrence reflected on her leading role as Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games film series. She told the fellow actor, “I remember when I was doing Hunger Games, nobody had ever put a woman in the lead of an action movie because it wouldn’t work — because we were told girls and boys can both identify with a male lead, but boys cannot identify with a female lead. And it just makes me so happy every single time I see a movie come out that just blows through every one of those beliefs, and proves that it is just a lie to keep certain people out of the movies. To keep certain people in the same positions that they’ve always been in.”

The Causeway actress added that playing the character “was an awesome responsibility. Those books were huge, and I knew that the audience was children. I remember the biggest conversation was ‘How much weight are you going to lose?’ Along with me being young and growing and not able to be on a diet, I don’t know if I want all of the girls who are going to dress up as Katniss to feel like they can’t because they’re not a certain weight. And I can’t let that seep into my brain either.”

Lawrence, 32, married and mother of a newborn son revealed that she could feel her “craft suffering” following the release of Hunger Games when she was 20. “I couldn’t really be an observer of life because everybody was observing me,” she told Davis. “And I didn’t know how to fix it.”

Twitter users took note of Lawrence’s comments about being the first female lead of an action movie, with many listing other great female actors before her. One person wrote, “It is untrue that no one had ever put a woman in an action movie before Jennifer Lawrence in Hunger Games. It is absolutely true that Hollywood had and has a real bias against women driven action movies because of this ridiculous belief about who identifies with whom.”

One person called Lawrence “a member of the Cult of Feminist Frequency,” adding photos of Linda Hamilton from Terminator 2, Sigourney Weaver from Alien, Angelina Jolie from Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Milla Jovovich from The Fifth Element. Other folks added Pam Grier, Michelle Yeoh and Uma Thurman to the list of female action stars. Another person acknowledged Lawrence was wrong about female-led action movie, “but her main thesis is correct.” They called out other Twitter users criticizing her interview completely adding, “engage with that, maybe you’ll learn something.”

Top 10 Women-Directed Movies of the Last 10 Years

  • American Honey (2016)

    IMDB rating: 7
    Director: Andrea Arnold

    Star (Sasha Lane), a teenage girl from a troubled home, runs away with a traveling sales crew that drives across the American Midwest selling subscriptions door-to-door. Finding her feet in this gang of teenagers, one of whom is Jake (Shia LaBeouf), she soon gets caught up in the group’s lifestyle of hard-partying nights, law-bending days and young love.

  • The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

    IMDb rating: 7.3
    Director: Kelly Fremon Craig

    The Edge of Seventeen follows an awkward 17-year-old (Hailee Steinfeld) through anxiety-ridden high school mishaps with friends, crushes and her all-star older brother Darian starts dating her best friend Krista. Woody Harrelson plays teacher Mr. Bruner, who offers dark humor sprinkled throughout the film.

  • Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

    IMDb rating: 7.4
    Director: Kathryn Bigelow

    Directed by the only woman to win a Best Director Oscar for 2009’s The Hurt Locker, Bigelow’s follow-up, Zero Dark Thirty, uses a similar, crisp documentary-like camera style that hovers and observes action. Zero Dark Thirty puts a woman at the center of war drama with Jessica Chastain starring as a CIA investigator who brings down Osama bin Laden.

  • Wonder Woman (2017)

    IMDb rating: 7.4
    Director: Patty Jenkins

    Jenkins’ directorial feature career began with 2003’s Monster, the true story of a mentally ill prostitute who became a serial killer (Charlize Theron won the Best Actress Oscar for the role). Jenkins followed that up with Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot as the titular superhero. The film was praised for presenting a complex, compassionate hero with universal appeal that comes from a dynamic representation of female power.

  • Lady Bird (2017)

    IMDB rating: 7.4
    Director: Greta Gerwig

    Gerwig earned a Best Director Oscar nomination (one of five in total for a woman), for this modern coming-of-age drama with its disaffected titular character (played by Saoirse Ronan). Lady Bird is an ambitious and wildly courageous teenager, who shocks audiences when she leaps from a moving car at the film’s beginning to escape her mother’s (Laurie Metcalf) belittling comments. Timothée Chalamet plays her love interest in the film as well.

  • Honey Boy (2019)

    IMDb rating: 7.4
    Director: Alma Har’el

    Honey Boy stars Shia LaBeouf as his own abusive, alcoholic father in a semi-autobiographical film (that he also wrote) about a child actor who ends up in rehab. LaBeouf’s ex, FKA Twigs also stars in the film. FKA Twigs leveled a number of disturbing allegations against LaBeouf, accusing him of threatening, trapping and strangling her, as well as knowingly infecting her with a sexually transmitted disease.

  • Frozen (2013)

    IMDb rating: 7.5
    Director: Jennifer Lee

    Lee directed the film which inspired children to “let it go” in this Disney animated film that won the Best Animated Feature Oscar in 2014. Frozen made Lee the first female director with more than $1 billion in revenue from a single film. Lee’s screenplay is unique in creating princess characters with a focus on sisterhood rather than love with men or weddings.

  • We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

    IMDb rating: 7.5
    Director: Lynne Ramsay

    Tilda Swinton gives a stand-out performance in this drama-thriller that explores maternal anxiety and dread of parenting a murderous psychopath. Swinton’s character can’t seem to bond with her son, who grows from a fussy, demanding toddler into a sociopathic teen (Ezra Miller).

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

    IMDb rating: 8.2
    Director: Céline Sciamma

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire follows two women in 1770 France, a painter and subject; Marianne, a painter, is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. Héloïse is a reluctant bride-to-be and Marianne must paint her without her knowing. She observes her by day, to paint her secretly. Sciamma forces her audience to consider what it means to look and be looked at in new ways through the desire of her lead characters.

  • Little Women (2019)

    IMDb rating: 8.2
    Director: Greta Gerwig

    The fourth adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s 1860s novel reflects women’s rage, their economic status and their options to marry of the times following the Civil War. Gerwig’s version of Jo March (Saoirse Ronan) produces a novel, Little Women, but also negotiates its contract and conclusion: Should the heroine end up married or dead as her publisher requires or will she invent a compromise that parallels her own story?

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