Jennifer Lawrence has clarified her controversial comments regarding herself as the first female action lead in The Hunger Games.
Actor Jennifer Lawrence has clarified her controversial comments regarding women as leads in action films. During a recent conversation with The Woman King star, Viola Davis, the actor claimed that “nobody had ever put a woman in the lead of an action movie” before her lead role in The Hunger Games movie. Her comments sparked a fervent backlash as many believed that Lawrence ignored many prominent women action stars prior to her work in the immensely popular 2012 film.
While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Lawrence clarified her original comments regarding women in lead roles in action movies. The actor backtracked, apologizing for her words but explaining that she intended to discuss the “old myths” that permeate Hollywood. Read what Lawrence said below:
“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.”
Why Lawrence Was Both Right And Wrong With Original Comments
Lawrence’s recent comments indicate she understands that she was wrong to say she was the first woman action lead. Although she certainly has been one of the biggest, with her role as Katniss Everdeen in the massive Hunger Games franchise, her comments Lawrence clearly minimized the groundbreaking work of many stars before her. Many examples of such women can be seen decades before the actor’s renowned work in The Hunger Games.
Although the original 1979 Alien film featured an ensemble cast and starred Tom Skerritt, a leading man at the time, audiences had their expectations subverted when Skerritt was quickly dispatched by the titular monster, allowing Sigourney Weaver to shine as Lt. Ellen Ripley, the hero of the Alien franchise. Although the 1970s saw many women in action roles, especially in exploitation films with the likes of Pam Grier, the 1990s and 2000s saw a dramatic increase in such movies. In 1996, Geena Davis starred as an assassin with amnesia in The Long Kiss Goodnight. Releasing the same year, Queen Latifah lead Vivica A. Fox, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Kimberly Elise in the action heist thriller, Set it Off. 2002 saw Milla Jovovich kick off the Resident Evil franchise, and Uma Thurman went on her revenge quest against David Caradine in Kill Bill the following year.
However, Lawrence’s intentions with the comments were not completely off-the-mark. Although she was clearly incorrect in her assertion that The Hunger Games featured the first woman action lead, her insinuation that women were neglected by Hollywood in that genre is accurate. In the past, for every one movie action film with a woman as the star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, and Bruce Willis had many more. However, with women such as Lawrence and Davis taking lead roles in action films including The Hunger Games and The Woman King, Hollywood has proof that women are not only capable but bankable.
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