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FIRST LOOK: Jennifer Lawrence’s Hunger Games Transformation

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Say hello to Katniss Everdeen!

Jennifer Lawrence is portraying the 16-year-old heroine in the big screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games; her transformation appears on the new cover of Entertainment Weekly.

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Armed with a bow and arrow, the newly brunette actress, 20, looks ready for battle in the striking cover image. So just how did the newcomer score one of the most coveted roles in Hollywood?

Lawrence recalls her first encounter with director Gary Ross during the height of Oscar season last winter. "He was asking me what the experience was like," she says, "and I just kind of opened up and said, 'I feel like a rag doll. I have hair and makeup people coming to my house every day and putting me in new, uncomfortable, weird dresses and expensive shoes, and I just shut down and raise my arms up for them to get the dress on, and pout my lips when they need to put the lipstick on.'"

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"We both started laughing because that's exactly what it's like for Katniss in the Capitol. She was a girl who's all of a sudden being introduced to fame," Lawrence continues. "I know what that feels like to have all this flurry around you and feel like, 'Oh, no, I don't belong here.'"

When she was eventually offered the role, Lawrence was torn. "I knew that as soon as I said yes, my life would change," she tells EW. "And I walked around an entire day 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.'"

But Lawrence, who read the entire trilogy prior to auditioning, couldn't say no. "I love this story," she says, "and if I had said no, I would regret it every day."

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