FIRST LOOK: Jennifer Lawrence as 'Hunger Games' Heroine Katniss Everdeen

See the very first photo of the Winter's Bone Oscar nominee channeling Suzanne Collins' tough-as-nails protagonist

Hunger Games fans can officially get psyched: The first photograph of actress Jennifer Lawrence as heroine Katniss Everdeen is now on the cover of Entertainment Weekly!

With darker hair, a sheath of silver arrows and a black leather hunting ensemble -- adorned, of course, with a mockingjay pin -- Lawrence, 20, looks ready to channel the intense teenager from Suzanne Collins' best-selling action-fantasy trilogy. But despite this -- and the fact that she was coming off a best actress nomination for last year's Winter's Bone -- Lawrence admits that she wasn't always so confident about taking the role.

"I knew that as soon as I said yes, my life would change," Lawrence says in the magazine. "And I walked around an entire day thinking, 'It's not too late, I could still go back and do indies, I haven't said yes yet, it's not too late.'"

In the end, it was her love for the books that convinced Lawrence to go all in. "I love this story, and if I had said no, I would regret it every day," she says.

Lawrence has been training intensely for the movie's game (a.k.a. battle) sequences, spending hours at the track and archery range. Still, she already has a few of Katniss' experiences under her belt, thanks to the intense awards campaigning she had to do last winter for Winter's Bone.

"Games director Gary Ross was asking me what the experience was like," she remembers. "And I just kind of opened up and said, 'I feel like a rag doll. I have hair and makeup people coming to my house every day and putting me in new, uncomfortable, weird dresses and expensive shoes, and I just shut down and raise my arms up for them to get the dress on, and pout my lips when they need to put the lipstick on.' And we both started laughing because that's exactly what it's like for Katniss in the Capitol. She was a girl who's all of a sudden being introduced to fame. I know what that feels like to have all this flurry around you and feel like, 'Oh, no, I don't belong here.'"

In spite of those feelings, Lawrence walked away with a best actress Academy Award nomination for Winter's Bone -- and we suspect she'll walk away with The Hunger Games as well.

The film -- the first in a likely cinematic trilogy -- is due to fight its way into theaters March 23, 2012.

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