FIRST LOOK: Jennifer Lawrence As Hunger Games Heroine Katniss

Hunger Games: Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss
Courtesy EW

05/18/2011 AT 04:45 PM EDT

Jennifer Lawrence had her doubters when she was cast as Katniss Everdeen, the heroine in the dystopian trilogy The Hunger Games. Fans worried the pretty blonde Oscar nominee was, well, too pretty to play the tough warrior.

Will this first look at Lawrence transformed into Katniss convince fans she can play this fierce heroine, who must compete in the ultimate game of life-or-death?

She certainly looks the part. Lawrence, 20, has gone brunette and sports a rugged tan, and she shows some fight in those blue eyes in a photo on the cover of this week's Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday.

Winter's Bone actress Lawrence tells the magazine she didn't take the role on lightly, and in fact had doubts of her own.

"I knew that as soon as I said yes, my life would change," she says. "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.'"

But a part of her knew she couldn't turn it down.

"I love this story," she says, "and if I had said no, I would regret it every day."

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