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Jennifer Lawrence Knows She Wasn’t the First Female Action Star: ‘That’s Not What I Meant to Say’

The actress explained that she was just trying to make a point about Hollywood sexism when she claimed that "The Hunger Games" was the first action movie led by a woman.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 08: Jennifer Lawrence attends the "Causeway" European premiere during the 66th BFI London Film Festival, at the BFI Southbank on October 08, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for BFI)

Jennifer Lawrence

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images f

Jennifer Lawrence is walking back her controversial comments about women in action movies.

The Oscar winner found herself in hot water this week when she claimed that “The Hunger Games” was the first action film with a female protagonist during a conversation with Viola Davis for Variety’s Actors on Actors series.

“I remember when I was doing ‘Hunger Games,’ nobody had ever put a woman in the lead of an action movie,” Lawrence said. “Because it wouldn’t work, we were told. Girls and boys can both identify with a male lead, but boys cannot identify with a female lead.”

Lawrence made the comments while praising Davis’ work in “The Woman King,” citing the movie as an example that Hollywood is becoming more comfortable making action films led by women.

“It just makes me so happy every single time I see a movie come out that just blows through every single one of those beliefs and proves that it is just a lie to keep certain people out of the movies, to keep certain people in the same positions that they’ve always been in,” she said. “It’s just amazing to watch it happen and watch you at the helm.”

Online cinephiles were quick to pile on Lawrence for the error, pointing out that film history is full of great action heroines like Sigourney Weaver in “Alien,” Uma Thurman in “Kill Bill,” and Michelle Yeoh in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

Lawrence is aware of the error, and has clarified that she wasn’t trying to minimize any of the women who paved the way for her own onscreen success. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Lawrence admitted her mistake and explained that she was merely referencing a sexist way of thinking that was still prevalent when she began her acting career.

“That’s certainly not what I meant to say at all,” Lawrence said. “I know that I am not the only woman who has ever led an action film. What I meant to emphasize was how good it feels. And I meant that with Viola — to blow past these old myths that you hear about … about the chatter that you would hear around that kind of thing. But it was my blunder and it came out wrong. I had nerves talking to a living legend.”

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