‘American Hustle’: How Jennifer Lawrence Goes From Katniss To Housewife

Director David O. Russell and the cast tell MTV News how resisting typecasting brings the best performances.

Jennifer Lawrence turns heads no matter what she does (being a young Oscar winner and bona fide America’s Sweetheart will do that to a person), but the actress’ abrupt onscreen transformation is capturing even more gawkers than usual. In November, Lawrence returned to “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” as Katniss, the braid-wearing, bow-toting heroine of the bleak YA series. In this month’s “American Hustle,” directed by David O. Russell, she’s a big-haired wino, a ’70s housewife who shrilly complains about the “science oven” (translation: microwave) and informs her young son that “your father is a sick son of a bitch.”

It’s safe to say Lawrence is successfully resisting being typecast.

When MTV News caught up with Lawrence, her “American Hustle” castmates and director Russell prior to the film’s release, all of them said that the against-type casting challenged them to produce stellar performances.

“It’s all character-driven,” Lawrence said of the set atmosphere that coaxed her performance out. “Everything, all of it. The costumes, the lighting is all 360 so that we never stop, so there never is my close-up, your close-up. All of it is so real.”

Russell said that he makes it a point to put actors in new situations.

“I want to give them a chance to do something they’ve never done before, which is going to make them very inspired, if challenged, and you want to surprise audiences,” he said. “I love the showmanship of surprising audiences with new characters. That’s why I make the films.”

“American Hustle” is due out in theaters December 20.