NEW YORK — Behind the clever banter and disarming repartee, beyond the glamorous red-carpet Dior gowns, in a private dining room on the second floor of a downtown hotel, her loafer-clad feet kicked up behind her, sits the real Jennifer Lawrence.
And all this actress wants, right now, is a Corona. Or an Amstel Light. But the only brews available are of the artisanal variety, so Lawrence looks flummoxed. "I'm a Budweiser person. So I don't really understand," she says, as the waitress goes to great lengths to explain the intricate differences between the pale ales on offer.
Away from the awards-season hubbub, which again envelopes her for her role as a foxy yet foolish wife in American Hustle, Lawrence is a self-aware woman trying to have some version of a regular existence. "I've built my career. I need to build my human life. I need to get a house and connect to the people around me and not work for a little while," she says.
Topping her to-do list: buying a home when she wraps the two-part Hunger Gamesfranchise finale, Mockingjay, which shoots until June.
But for now, she does her best to retain some sense of routine in an existence that's mostly lived in hotels, fueled by room service. Her on-again boyfriend, Nicholas Hoult, helps keep her sane, away from prying eyes. "We're really good at it," she says of maintaining their under-the-radar romance.
She's infatuated with her two young nephews, whom she FaceTimes every night. She decompresses by watching reality TV, in particular Keeping Up with the Kardashians. And she keeps her best-actress Oscar, won for last year's Silver Linings Playbook, at her mom's house to avoid any weirdness when friends come over, to try to nip in the bud the possibility of people standing at attention around her.
"I just get allergic to that kind of thing. People treating you differently when you don't feel any differently is really alienating. You can see, the way they look at you. I can see if that was who I surrounded myself with, that's why you change," she says. "I find people who don't change. That's where I get my reality."
And her ability to say exactly the right thing at the right time? It's a gift. "She's an amazing study of people. She really understands the teeniest differences in people. She can read people in a second," says The Hunger Games: Catching Fire directorFrancis Lawrence. "She can figure you out in an instant. She does it with such ease, from the gut."