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Jennifer Lawrence: America's Kick-Ass Sweetheart

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'Are you hungry?" Lawrence asks. "Be-cause I have a whole burger-fries-Budweiser fantasy going on."

We're in Santa Monica now, where Lawrence lives in the same two-bedroom condo she and her mom used to share. Her mom has moved out, but Lawrence has a lot of sleepovers. "We get really stupid – like Beavis and Butt-Head level," says Zoé Kravitz. "We'll eat bad food and watch bad TV" – like Scare Tactics or Bad Girls Club – "and then she'll just lie down on the bed and curl up like a little puppy."

Lawrence likes it here. It's a two-minute drive to Whole Foods, a 15-minute bike ride to the beach. "But I should move," she says. "My address is on the Internet." When she gets back from shooting her next film, she's thinking of buying a house. "And a big dog," she says. "And a shotgun."

We can't find a restaurant that's open and serving beer, so we settle for one with a patio and lemonade. ("If there's one thing people take from this article," she says, "it should be the lack of support for day-drinking in L.A.") She orders a burger, medium-rare, and a small pot of mint tea – she feels a cold coming on, and she doesn't want to get sick before her big press tour. "This morning I was like, 'This cold is kind of a pussy' – but I think it's getting worse." She even went so far as to try her first-ever L.A. juice, some kind of "spinach-carrot-kale concoction. I took one sip, and immediately dumped a bunch of sugar in it."

Later, we pop into a bar across the street for a beer, and Lawrence goes for another shockingly fast bathroom break. This one takes less than a minute. "I don't do anything extra," she says. "No washing hands – after peeing? That's a little dramatic." She feels passionately about this. "I did a science experiment in eighth grade that almost shut down my school. I had this theory that hand-washing is overrated. And it was true: The bathroom door had the same bacteria as the toilet seat, and the sink was the dirtiest part – it was dirtier than the toilet handle! It had disgusting amounts."

After this, Lawrence has dinner plans with her boyfriend, 22-year-old English actor Nicholas Hoult, best known in the U.S. for the movie About a Boy. (He played the boy.) They met on the set of X-Men, in which Hoult played Beast. Zoë Kravitz saw it coming "a mile away. They complement each other in the most amazing way," she says. "She's crazy and impulsive, but he keeps her grounded. And she keeps him on his toes."

Jodie Foster, who directed Lawrence in The Beaver, says the actress has been smart about her career. "One of the great things about Jen is she's been very picky," says Foster. "Usually 21-year-olds get a job and suddenly they're doing every bad movie – a romantic comedy, a musical, a cameo in a break-dancing movie. They don't know who they are yet, so they think they can be everything. But she's been very specific about what she's wanted to do."

After The Hunger Games, Lawrence is starring in a dark comedy called Silver Linings Playbook, directed by David O. Russell. She plays Bradley Cooper's love interest. "It was a pretty sought-after role," Cooper says of a part whose shortlist included Blake Lively, Kirsten Dunst, Rooney Mara and Anne Hathaway. "I called her and we had this wonderful, totally lewd conversation. I thought, 'Oh, this woman is perfect.'" The two enjoyed working together so much that they've signed up for another movie. It starts filming in Prague this month. "I already know one word in Czech," Lawrence says. "Pivo – beer."

Lawrence knows her life is about to change in a pretty huge way. "I've started to get anxiety lately," she says. "I've started cleaning like a crazy person. I'm just now getting my first paparazzi and stuff. The other day, like 25 photos of me and Nick playing basketball showed up, and I said, 'Jennifer, you've got to start putting on makeup before you go play basketball, because you look like shit.'" She also recently got approached at an airport by a stalkerish fan who'd driven 300 miles and bought a plane ticket on the mere hope he'd run into her. "I know I seem crazy," he told her. "Yeah," she said, "you absolutely do. But here are your pictures."

She'll probably get jaded someday. But for now, she still gets giddy about her proximity to fame, while not realizing that she's famous herself. Take Silver Linings. One of her co-stars in the movie was Robert De Niro. On the last day of filming, she wanted to get his autograph for her dad, but she wasn't sure how to ask. "I was in my trailer, freaking out," she says. "I didn't want to bug him." She'd been sitting there for a while, fretting over what to do, when suddenly there was a knock at the door. It was De Niro's assistant. "And she was like, 'Would you mind autographing a couple things for Bob?'"

This story is from the April 12th, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone.

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