"Hunger Games" Actress Willow Shields Talks About Growing Up Alongside Prim

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 13:  Willow Shields attends WIRED Cafe At Comic-Con held at Palm Terrace at the Omni Hotel on July 13, 2
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 13: Willow Shields attends WIRED Cafe At Comic-Con held at Palm Terrace at the Omni Hotel on July 13, 2012 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for WIRED)

Actress Willow Shields -- who you may know as Prim in "The Hunger Games," Katniss's doe-eyed little sister -- idolizes Meryl Streep and Angelina Jolie; two actors who, like Willow, started their acting careers at a very young age. And she's following closely in their footsteps already. At just 12 years old, the star already has thousands of faithful fans who can't wait to see her reprise the role of Prim in the next three "Hunger Games" movies. I caught up with Willow and asked her about her relationship with Jennifer Lawrence, what she would miss most from home if she were forced to move to District 12, and what fans can look forward to with the "Hunger Games" DVD release on August 18th.

HuffPost Teen: Prim starts the movie as an 11-year-old and will end with her in her middle teens. How do you feel about getting to grow up with a character (like the kids from "Harry Potter" did before you)?

Willow Shields: I'm excited. Being able to grow up with a character is really cool. And Prim is such a cool character. It's going to be interesting to portray her as, you know, an 11 or 12-year-old and to build up to a 14 or 15-year-old. It's going to be fun.

People say the series gets darker and darker, and the later books are for an older target audience. Was it hard for you, as a young girl, to read those books?

No, because I really thought of it as Katniss fighting for her family. So... thinking about that made it not as violent for me. I was thinking about how Katniss is doing this for her family because she loves her family.

Jennifer Lawrence plays your big sister in the "Hunger Games" films. Do you think she'd make a good big sister in real life?

She's incredible. I look up to her as a big sister. And we bonded so much that we're like sisters. I love Jennifer. She's awesome.

Do you aspire to model your career after hers?

Definitely. I think she's one of the most incredible actresses I've ever seen and I'd really like to follow in her footsteps. I mean, she went from doing smaller roles to getting this huge role in the "Hunger Games."

Who are some other actors you admire and would like to work with some day?

Two of my favorite actresses are Meryl Streep and Angelina Jolie. So, I would love, love, love to work with them. But I also really love AnnaSofia Robb. There are a LOT of great actresses I would love to work with.

The people of District 12 live in extreme poverty. If you were forced to live in District 12, what is the thing you would miss most from home?

Probably all of my animals if I couldn't bring them. Because even Prim, in the books, [doesn't] have enough food to feed Buttercup. So I'd be really sad to leave all my animals.

We only see the serious side of your character, Prim, in the movie... If we could see Prim do one funny thing, what would she be doing?

I think the funniest thing Prim would do is make fun of Katniss in some way. I think that's something that Prim would probably do and I know in "Catching Fire" the book, she actually does make fun of Katniss a little bit.

We don't get to see Prim at the end of the first movie, but if we had gotten one final scene with her, would she have been different from the character introduced at the beginning?

Um, I think maybe [she would be different] in some ways because the Hunger Games has changed her life in so many ways.

How has your home life changed since you got the part of Prim? Is it easier to make friends? Harder?

Well, my life hasn't really changed... I've been homeschooled for a long time. So that helped a lot because of shooting and stuff. But, I have had friends who I've been friends with for years and years and they are my true friends, you know? I find it not hard to make friends, but it's definitely different when I go somewhere like summer camp and everyone already knows that I'm in "Hunger Games"... My life is still pretty normal, and I still have some really great friends.

You're big on social media. What are some of your favorite ways to connect to fans on the Internet?

My favorite is probably instagram because I really love photography. And so, taking pictures and uploading them to Instagram is really fun. It's a fun way to share to my fans what I'm doing. I love that.

If you could play any character in any movie ever, who would it be?

That's a really hard question! I don't know. I would really like to play (and I know Prim ends up like this towards the end more) more of an action roll when I get older; a character that does a lot of stunts and stuff. I would love to do that.

Everyone wants to know who is going to play Finnick. I know you probably can't say anything... but do you have any hints to give us? Who do you think would be a great Finnick?

I actually have no idea who Finnick is gonna be, but everyone keeps asking me "Who would be a great Finnick? Who would be a great Finnick?" and to me, I would have to see them act as Finnick to think that they are an amazing Finnick, you know? So it's hard for me to say just by looks, "Oh, this is a perfect Finnick."

The Hunger Games DVD is coming out. Are there any features on it that you think "Hunger Games" fans will be especially happy about?

Well, I know there's like three hours of behind-the-scenes and there was a camera on set literally like the whole time [we were] filming for behind-the-scenes. So I think everyone is gonna love to see how we made the film and what we were doing on set.