Almost a year ago, Jennifer Lawrence sat down with Viola Davis for an interview with Variety. However, her remark on ‘female-led’ action movies faced a lot of backlash on social media, which forced her to clarify later on what she exactly meant. During the approximate 45-minute chat, the two women spoke about a wide range of issues, including acting, industry injustices and motherhood. Lawrence also discussed her performance as the Hunger Games heroine, Katniss Everdeen, and the effect it had on viewers.
Lawrence said, “I remember when I was doing The Hunger Games, nobody had ever put a woman in the lead of an action movie because it wouldn’t work—we were told girls and boys can both identify with a male lead, but boys cannot identify with a female lead.” She was glad this assumption was finally being challenged and added, “And it just makes me so happy every single time I see a movie come out that just blows through every single 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 position they’ve always been in, and it’s just amazing to watch it happen.”
“We were told girls and boys could both identify with a male lead, but boys cannot identify with a female lead,” Jennifer Lawrence says of taking on the role of Katniss in #TheHungerGames. https://t.co/TqYPwDLCC4 pic.twitter.com/1qyqqkh8aX
— Variety (@Variety) December 7, 2022
However, Lawrence’s claim that she was the first female ‘lead of an action movie’ came off as arrogant and undermined her good intentions. There was outrage on Twitter because of the remark, and this comment threw everyone on a loop. Some fans defended JLaw, since they also shared her admiration for Katniss, while others questioned her assertion that she was one of the first female action heroines. One user tweeted, “Jennifer Lawrence saying that she was the first woman to ever lead an action movie is so disrespectful to these icons,” with images of other Hollywood stars, including Sigourney Weaver, Uma Thurman, Michelle Yeoh, Pam Grier, and Angelina Jolie. There was another tweet with similar images that read, “With the upmost respect to Jennifer Lawrence, these women (and more) have pioneered female representation in action cinema. Can we be doing more? Absolutely. A lot more. But we have to acknowledge film history and how these actors have paved the way for film heroines today.”
After facing constant backlash, Jennifer clarified to The Hollywood Reporter later what she actually meant during the interview: “That’s certainly not what I meant to say at all. I know that I am not the only woman who has ever led an action film. What I meant to emphasize was how good it feels. And I meant that with Viola—to blow past these old myths that you hear about … about the chatter that you would hear around that kind of thing. But it was my blunder and it came out wrong. I had nerves talking to a living legend.” When discussing how the media might misrepresent a statement, Lawrence stated, “One time, I was quoted saying that Donald Trump was responsible for hurricanes. I felt that one was ridiculous, that it was so stupid I didn’t need to comment. But this one, I was like, ‘I think I want to clarify.'”