The Verge: Jennifer Lawrence

Was there any skepticism on the part of the locals when you came in for the shoot?

We were so welcomed by them. Not at the beginning, though -- at the beginning, when Debra and Anne walked onto the property, a man walked out with a shotgun and pointed it at them until they explained what was going on. And then they just...we couldn't have done it without them, at all. I grew up in Kentucky, but I did not grow up like that. I had heat, and I didn't have to shoot my dinner or anything. I couldn't compare to that.

What was it like acting opposite John Hawkes, who plays Ree's fearsome uncle Teardrop?

He's so amazing. When I first met him, I was terrified. Usually you get to meet the person before you start filming, and we didn't get to, and I meet him and he's got all these [fake] tattoos. Maybe it was a good idea -- I think the first scene we shot together was the one where Ree and Teardrop first meet, and I was just terrified of him. He's the sweetest man in the entire world, not even like, "Oh, John's a nice guy." He's a sweetheart.

So he must have been apologetic when his character really went after you.

Oh my Gosh, when Debra told him that he had to lunge for me and grab me by my neck, he was like, "I'm so sorry! Am I pulling your hair?" I was like, "What is this? You're not supposed to care about me!" [Laughs]


Ree is so careful never to let her emotions show. Is that as a result of having to take care of her younger siblings, that she suppresses anything frightening?

Yes, of course. I see that so many times with my mom -- I don't think my mom has ever been hurt or sick in her life. You don't want to scare your children, you know? Probably the most troubling part about Ree and why she doesn't show anything is because she feels like she has to carry the burden alone. She doesn't want to bother anyone else.

At the same time, the fact that Ree shoulders that responsibility -- is that the X factor that keeps her from turning out like all the criminals around her?

Teenagers only have to focus on themselves -- its not until we get older that we realize that other people exist. When you don't have anybody to take care of you, then you could go both ways: You could do whatever you want, or you could take charge and be your own parent. I think that when you have two children that you're also in charge of, and you're not a selfish person -- which Ree is not -- then they become your responsibility. She doesn't have a choice, she doesn't have time to go to a party or get pregnant like every other girl she knows. She's got two kids to take care of.

You're also in Jodie Foster's upcoming film The Beaver, starring Mel Gibson.

I play Nora. Anton Yelchin and I have kind of a quirky love story.

What kind of director is Jodie?

Debra and Jodie are the two best directors I've ever worked with. I've worked with some incredible directors, but there's something about Jodie. I mean, she's an actress, and I remember when we met for coffee before I booked the film, and I walked away thinking, "I've never met someone I've had more in common with, as far as a method -- neither of us have one!" Apparently, she walked away thinking the same thing, that she'd never met anyone who reminded her more of herself than me, which is a huge compliment. Technically, she's a genius. She has the mind of five men, and she comes to conclusions faster than anybody. She knows what she wants, what kind of lens she wants, what kind of lighting, where she wants my head to land at the cut so she can edit it...she's very technical, which I appreciate. Debra's very emotional, and Jodie's very technical. She's the most down-to-earth person I've met since I came to Hollywood. She made me feel Hollywood.

[Photo Credit: Fred Hayes/Getty Images]

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