Jennifer Lawrence Shapeshifts From Indie “It” Girl to X-Men Mutant Mystique

After her performance in “Winter’s Bone,” Jennifer Lawrence is already a critics’ darling. Now she’s ready to become a geek goddess.

Morphing from indie fair into a mainstream superhero flick, Lawrence is at work on “X-Men: First Class,” director Matthew Vaughn’s prequel to the Marvel Comics mutant franchise, where she plays the younger version of agent provocateur Mystique.

But unlike Rebecca Romjin’s nearly nude incarnation, whose costume consisted primarily of strategically placed scales and blue body makeup, Lawrence’s Mystique is more modest, less frequently azure and not nearly as badass when we meet her.

“This is before she became the Mystique that we know her as the mutant-and-proud, the tough girl,” the actress says. “This is when she's an insecure teenage girl – insecure about her hidden secret thing, a mutant, of being blue.”

She admits she only dipped her toe into the X-Men’s decades long comic book lore after being besotted by the film’s script first.

“Honestly, I like anything, any character, any movie that has a beginning, a middle and an end, anything that goes through an arc and then there's a change and then you end somewhere you weren't in the beginning,” she says. “That's just what this movie is. It's a prequel, and all of the characters and their relationships – they go through so much from beginning. They change and there's so much that happens in their lives. I just really thought that script was so good.”

Meanwhile, Lawrence is basking in the unexpected glow of the high praise she received for her performance in “Winter’s Bone,” which has landed her firmly on the awards season shortlist.

“I knew that it was special and meaningful to me,” she admits, “but I don't think that any of us could've foreseen or expected any of this. This is just beyond anyone's expectations or dreams.”

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