Jennifer Lawrence said she was the first female action hero – and the internet had thoughts

A headshot of Jennifer Lawrence at an event

Lawrence spoke to Viola Davis for Variety‘s annual Actors-on-Actors series, where she claimed that The Hunger Games was the first action franchise to put a woman in a lead role.

“I remember when I was doing Hunger Games nobody had ever put a woman in the lead of an action movie because it wouldn’t work,” she told Davis, who recently appeared in The Woman King.

Lawrence continued to flesh the idea out, saying: “We were told girls and boys can both identify with a male lead, but boys cannot identify with a female lead.

“And it just makes me so happy every single time I see a movie come out that just blows through every one of those beliefs, and proves that it is just a lie to keep certain people out of the movies.”

While her point on the role models is valid, her claim that she was the first female lead of an action film – that it had never been done before – is not (even slightly) true.

Before The Hunger Games came out in 2012, Sigourney Weaver had starred in Alien (1979), Demi Moore’s G.I. Jane (1997) had turned in countless bad guys, Charlie’s Angels (2000) had cast three female leads in one film and Angelina Jolie had done two Tomb Raiders (2001, 2003), to name a few.

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Twitter has – predictably – not been keen to let Jennifer Lawrence get away with the statement, despite her intentions being good.

Frankin Leonard of The Blacklist said that while it is “untrue” that Jennifer Lawrence was the first female lead of an action film: “It is absolutely true that Hollywood had and has a real bias against women driven action movies because of this ridiculous belief about who identifies with whom.”

Others have defended Lawrence, suggesting that she could have been talking specifically about Young Adult fiction (she didn’t say that), and that “nobody can deny” the impact of Katniss Everdeen on the genre.

“People really love to hate JLaw, huh. Yes the first part is incorrect, but the second part checks out,” another fan wrote.

Variety has since deleted the tweet in which it quoted the first part of Lawrence’s answer.

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