First Photo of Jennifer Lawrence in 'The Hunger Games' Released

Entertainment Weekly

Entertainment Weekly has the exclusive first photos of Jennifer Lawrence in the highly anticipated 'The Hunger Games', where the Oscar-nominated 20-year-old will be playing the beloved heroine Katniss Everdeen, the main character in the best-selling trilogy the movie is adapted from.

In the first photo to be released, Lawrence's naturally blond locks are now brunette and fastened into a long side braid, Katniss's signature hairstyle in the novels. She is also featured with a bow and arrow, her weapon of choice in The Hunger Games where she is forced to fight for her life in a televised death match devised by a brutal government. The extremely dark dystopian trilogy is widely popular with fans, who are showing the same extreme dedication that Twilight fans had when it was announced that the series was being adapted to the big screen.

Though some fans expressed their initial outrage at her casting because of her blond, conventionally pretty looks, it is clear that Lawrence successfully makes the transformation from California girl to the fierce Katniss Everdeen. Preparing for the role includes a grueling training program consisting of archery, track work, stunt drills and yoga since she not only has to portray a 16-year-old desperate for food, but a survivor at that who is able to not only hunt for her own food in a torturous terrain, but defend herself against ruthless competitors all trying to kill each other in what's deemed "The Hunger Games."

But aside from the intense physical training to play one of the most coveted roles in Hollywood (the film is widely being called the next 'Twilight'), Lawrence also has to mentally prepare for the level of fame and hype that she will undoubtedly now contend with by accepting the high profile role.

"I knew that as soon as I said yes, my life would change. And I walked around thinking, 'It's not too late, I could still go back and do indies. I haven't said yes yet, it's not too late,'" she recalls.

But it was her mother who convinced her that the role of a lifetime was something she had to take on.

"She told me I was being a hypocrite," says Lawrence. "All of the times that I was doing indies and passing on studio films, people would ask me why, and I always said, 'I don't care about the budget of the movie or the size of it. I care about the story.' And my mom said, 'This is a story that you love, and you're thinking about saying no to it because of the size of it. Hypocrite!' And she was right. I love this story, and if I had said no I would regret it every day."

And it is clear from her interview that she is indeed every bit as dedicated to the trilogy as the books' millions of diehard fans.

"Listen, I know from the bottom of my heart that I love Katniss. I love her," she tells Entertainment Weekly. "It's kind of like when you have a huge crush on somebody, and it's almost scary because you don't want to mess it up and have it not be everything you hope it will be. That's exactly what I feel about this. I'm terrified. Is it going to be good enough? Am I going to be good enough?"

The fact that she cares enough is probably a good sign. Entertainment Weekly's first look at Jennifer Lawrence in 'The Hunger Games' hits newsstands May 20th.