A few years back, Kristen Stewart was considered one of the most promising young actresses alive. She was working with people like Jodie Foster, David Fincher and Sean Penn.
Then she became Bella, the vampire’s girlfriend, in the “Twilight” movies. They made her an international star. And they may have also frozen her career; aside from the “Twilight” movies she hasn’t been in a successful film since 2008.
She’s still very talented, and she turned in fine performances in both “Adventureland” and “The Runaways,” while her upcoming “On the Road” looks promising.
But there’s still the danger that she’ll be branded as Bella for the rest of her career. Much as Daniel Radcliffe will always struggle with Harry Potter and Christopher Reeve was forever Superman, she may be trapped in Hollywood amber at the age of 21.
Now comes Jennifer Lawrence, also 21, already Oscar-nominated (best actress for 2010′s “Winter’s Bone”), who also worked with Foster (on last year’s “The Beaver”), standing dead center in what Hollywood hopes will be the next big film franchise, “The Hunger Games.”
Can Jennifer Lawrence the actress survive becoming Jennifer Lawrence the international sensation?
I’m guessing probably so. Because there are some huge differences between Bella and Katniss Everdeen, the character Lawrence will play in “The Hunger Games.”
Chief among them is this: Bella was a swooning romantic sop caught in a fantasy world love triangle between a vampire and a werewolf.
Katniss Everdeen, on the other hand, has little use for romance. Yes there are two young men in her story, but she hardly sits around mooning over them. She’s too busy trying to stay alive.
Which is another big difference. While Bella is a passive character, Katniss is filled with action. She kills people. She takes on political importance.
There’s simply a whole lot more there there with Katniss Everdeen. That’s because there’s a whole — a whole, whole lot — more there there in “The Hunger Games” books than in the vapid “Twilight” books.
But we’ll see. I’ve seen Jenifer Lawrence in four movies so far (I’m seeing “The Hunger Games” in a few hours). As far as I can tell she has the potential to become the Meryl Streep of her generation.
On the other hand, she could end up appearing in costume at fantasy conventions and signing autographs for 25 bucks a pop in 20 years.
But somehow I don’t think so. At this point I think both Lawrence and “The Hunger Games” are better than that.