Jennifer Lawrence: The Hunger Games Is Nothing Like Twilight

 Sam Jones, exclusively for Vanity Fair

Hollywood was buzzing about The Hunger Games long before Jennifer Lawrence was cast as beloved heroine Katniss Everdeen — and not just because author Suzanne Collins tells a great story.

Industry execs have high hopes that the four films (based off Collins' bestselling trilogy) will become a pop culture phenomenon, similar to the Twilight franchise — something Lawrence, 21, is nervous about.

"Hunger Games is not Twilight, and while I hear the comparisons, it's really premature to say that it will be the same phenomenon," she tells Vanity Fair. "I'm so proud of the work we did on the film — Gary Ross and the entire cast and crew were amazing, and I can't wait for it to be brought to life because I think it's an important story. If it does become a crazy phenomenon, I'll soak up my freedom now!"

The film, which also stars Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, centers around a group of teens forced to compete to the death in the government-mandated Hunger Games.

"Katniss is an incredible character: she's a hunter but not a killer, a 16-year-old who's being forced into the arena," Lawrence explains of her role. "These kids are killing one another only because if they don't they'll die. It's needless, pointless, unjustified violence. It's heartbreaking. "

"There's nothing cool about her," the Oscar nominee tells Vanity Fair. "It's not like she looks around the arena and goes, 'Yeah, I got this.' I think she looks around helplessly, and thinks, 'I made a promise to my sister that I would survive; now I have to kill in order to do so.'"

The Hunger Games hits theaters March 23, 2012.

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