The gritty role of Katniss fits in with Jennifer Lawrence's onscreen presence in Winter's Bone. Here, she will play a teenager forced to compete in a survival game against other teenagers, where they must battle to the death. Suzanne Collins is adapting her own book into a screenplay with the help of Billy Ray.
Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin were also up for the role of Katniss, but Jennifer Lawrence won out because of her age. Now that they are casting Everdeen a little bit older, they will be able to cast the role of Peeta, Katniss' love interest, accordingly. Both Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin are 14, while Jennifer Lawrence is 20.
The actress did not sign on sooner because she was waiting out her Oscar nomination. She was also weighting her options, as she had considered signing onto Oliver Stone's next project Savages. She may still appear in that film, but will have to work out her schedule to accommodate both film's needs.
Jennifer Lawrence will next be seen as Mystique in X-Men: First Class.
The Hunger Games was released March 23rd, 2012 and stars Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Jennifer Lawrence, Willow Shields, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Sandra Ellis Lafferty, Paula Malcomson. The film is directed by Gary Ross.