Why Does J. Law Play Older In Movies?

Jennifer Lawrence is one of the most sought after young actresses in Hollywood. The 23-year-old actress has been getting a ton of buzz lately for, well, everything that she does, but most notably her role in American Hustle , David O. Russell's latest feature. In the film — which is set in the 1970's — Jennifer Lawrence plays Rosalyn, the whiney and bored wife of a con artist played by Christian Bale.

Though we don't know for sure how old her character is, we can estimate by the age of her young child that Rosalyn is at least 30, several years older than Jennifer Lawrence herself. In fact, the real person on which Rosalyn is based — Marie Weinberg, the wife of Mel Weinberg, Abscam sting man — was nearly 40 when the actions in the film took place.

This isn't the first time that Lawrence is playing an older character. In last year's Silver Linings Playbook — a role that she won the Best Actress Oscar for — Lawrence plays a widow grieving her husband. Other actresses considered for the role were all older actresses like Angelina Jolie, Rachel McAdams, and Rooney Mara. In fact, Anne Hathaway, 31, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress the same year Lawrence won, originally had the role but turned it down due to scheduling conflicts. Lawrence was only 22 when the film was released.

Interestingly, Lawrence's other notable project of this year includes her starring role in the Hunger Games trilogy as the fierce teen Katniss Everdeen. It's rare for an actress to have the opportunity to star in both a teen-centric franchise AND serious, Oscar-contender films at the same time. It's perhaps the first time we've ever seen a teen star successfully straddle both worlds.

While Twilight stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson have tried to move into independent, serious roles, they haven't had nearly as much success — perhaps because, at the end of the day, we still see them as Bella and Edward.

Unlike many young actresses, Hollywood isn't putting Jennifer Lawrence in a bubble — and that's a great thing.