In addition to the new promotional banner for Catching Fire’s Quarter Quell featuring Katniss and Peeta, Lionsgate has unveiled posters featuring many of the Victors returning to the Games. Various media outlets had an exclusive look at the posters: Moviefone, Empire, MSN, Yahoo! Movies, LA Times and MTV.
The new posters feature Katniss, Peeta, Johanna, Finnick, Mags, Wiress, Beetee, Gloss, Cashmere, Brutus and Enobaria.
OLV tweeted yesterday that Catching Fire was rumored to be filming at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta again (they previously filmed on the roof of the hotel).
That looks to be the case as one of our readers – thanks, Stephanie! – shared this photo with us of Peacekeepers stationed inside the hotel. The Facebook user who posted the photo said “Hunger Games 2 is filming in my hotel right now. I just saw Woody Harrelson.” Must be some scene from the Capitol!
We had the amazing opportunity to chat with Willow Shields about being a part of The Hunger Games franchise in advance of this Saturday’s release of the DVD/Blu-ray.
Check out the interview below to hear about her audition for Prim, what she learned from working with Jennifer Lawrence, her plans to talk with Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence, and her excitement for the sequel after having read the script. We also asked her about the clip we see on the DVD’s special features where Prim is wearing a Tribute uniform in the arena!
Q: What initially drew you to the character of Prim? Willow: I was actually in the middle of reading the book and was becoming a huge fan right when I got the audition. So I was really excited and I loved the character of Prim. I thought it was a really interesting character. And my brother had read the books and was a huge fan, so our whole family was becoming big fans. So I think Prim was just a really interesting character for me because she was the person that actually was chosen to go into the Hunger Games but Katniss takes her place and that’s where it all begins. So that was really interesting for me.
Q: You mentioned your audition. What was that like? Willow: I actually taped an audition from my house and I sent it through email. And then when I got a call back, I flew into LA and met with Gary at his house. I did the audition about three times for him in different ways that he wanted me to do it, and then right after he told me that I didn’t have to worry about auditioning again because I’d gotten the part.
Q: Do you remember which scene it was? Willow: It was the scene where I was saying goodbye to Katniss and giving her the Mockingjay pin.
Q: Coming into this as a young actress, were you at all nervous about working with so many extremely talented people, like Gary Ross and Jennifer Lawrence? Willow: Of course. At my age, it was like the first day of school or something for me – going on set, meeting everyone, I was so nervous. There are so many incredible people working on The Hunger Games, I was so nervous to meet them all.
Q: Is there any one major thing you really learned from your experience working with all of them? Willow: Mostly just to have fun. Take Jennifer – on set she’s constantly having fun. She’s an incredible actress on the screen, and she’s serious on screen, but then she comes off and she’s just laughing and having fun. I think that’s a great thing to take away from The Hunger Games, seeing how other actors act on set.
Q: You’ve previously said that your life hasn’t changed dramatically since The Hunger Games, but how have you been handling the increased fame and fans? Willow: The only thing that’s different is, yeah, the fans. But it’s really died down now since The Hunger Games came out. But right when The Hunger Games came out, it was kind of crazy. I would go out somewhere and I’d get recognized a lot. It’s a really interesting thing to have happen.
Q: In one of the released clips from The Hunger Games DVD special features, fans noticed that there is a quick shot of you standing in the woods wearing a Tribute uniform. What is going on there?! Willow: Well … that’s actually a scene that I had shot to possibly go in the movie. And it’s kind of been in hiding for a while. But actually it was a scene that was supposed to possibly go in right before I woke up from my dream. And that was going to be my dream – I was going to be running away from Tributes, thinking that I was in the Hunger Games.
Q: So it was going to fit toward the beginning of the movie. Some fans thought it might have been a part of Katniss’ hallucinations when she’s stung by the tracker jackers in the arena. Willow: Well it was going to be my dream. It’s something that’s been in hiding for a while … there’s some relief that I can just say it. (laughs) So that was supposed to be my dream before I wake up when Katniss is telling me that I’m not going to be chosen for the Games when I had that dream and I think that I am.
Q: Have you had a chance to meet with the new director, Francis Lawrence, yet? Willow: I have not, but I’m actually speaking to him on the phone soon. Which I’m very, very excited about. He’s an incredible director.
Q: Do you have any questions you want to ask him in that initial conversation about what his approach will be for this movie? Willow: I’m not quite sure yet. A lot of directors are different, and I’m really excited to see what Francis Lawrence thinks he wants to do with this movie, how he wants to portray these characters, and if it’s different than how Gary Ross thought of this.
Q: Woody Harrelson commented recently that he won’t get to go to Hawaii for Catching Fire filming, presumably because the arena scenes will be shot there. Does that mean you don’t get to go either? Willow: Yeah … it’s really sad. (laughs)
Q: However, as the series goes on, Prim’s character becomes more important. Is there anything you’re particularly excited to see as Prim’s role gets bigger? Willow: I’m super excited for that. It’s going to be so much fun. It just means more time hanging out with Jennifer and the whole cast, which is really exciting. I actually just read the script which is really exciting. I’m really excited for the fans to see Catching Fire. It’s going to be incredible.
Q: Having read the script, are you planning to prepare any differently for Catching Fire than you did for The Hunger Games? Willow: All I can is that The Hunger Games has definitely influenced Prim to become a stronger character, like she does in the books. So I think it’s going to be a really fun role to play, and I’m really excited. I think the fans are really going to love Catching Fire.
Q: Are there any other actors you’re looking forward to working with in The Hunger Games? Or that you’d like to work with on other projects? Willow: In Catching Fire, I’m excited to work with everyone. I’m not going to say anything, but I have some scenes with some other actors that I didn’t get to work with in The Hunger Games, so I’m really excited for that. Just in movies, some of my favorite actresses are Meryl Streep and Angeline Jolie and AnnaSophia Robb. So I’d really love to work with one of them some day. That would be incredible.
Q: Maybe one of them can find a spot in one of the Mockingjay movies. Willow: That would be awesome. (laughs)
Thanks so much to Willow for taking the time to chat with us!
We recently had the chance to chat with Nelson Ascencio, who plays Flavius in The Hunger Games franchise. Yesterday we posted the first part of our interview with Nelson, which was all about his experience filming The Hunger Games.
In the second part of our interview, we move on to Catching Fire. Nelson weighs in on what he’s hoping to see from Flavius in the sequel, his thoughts on the Gary Ross-Francis Lawrence change-up (he hasn’t met Francis yet), and what other projects he’s working on.
As we mentioned yesterday, apologies for some of the background noise – lots going on around us!
We recently had the chance to chat with Nelson Ascencio, who plays Flavius in The Hunger Games franchise.The first part of the interview is all about The Hunger Games – we talk about his audition for the film, memorable moments on set, his hair and makeup transformation, and more.
Apologies for some of the background noise – lots going on around us! And you may hear some laughing from our fabulous camerawoman, Lily, our admin Megan’s daughter. (both ladies are pictured with Nelson above) The second part of our interview with Nelson will be coming soon!
Here’s a breakdown of the video:
0:00 – What attracted Nelson to the role, the secrecy around casting, his audition
1:57 – Memorable moments on set, behind-the-scenes details of the Tribute parade, the amazing cast
3:23 – The hair and makeup process, changes from the book description
5:10 – Filming a scene vs. the final cut
5:30 – How the franchise has impacted his personal life / career
Thanks so much to Nelson for taking the time to chat with us! Seriously the nicest guy.
One of the things we loved about The Hunger Games movie was getting to see pieces of the story that were outside of Katniss’ point of view, and therefore not included in the book. One of those additions was the Game Center and the technicians working behind the scenes to control the Hunger Games.
We had the chance to interview Steve Coulter, who played Game Center Tech #1 in the movie (you can find him listed in Lionsgate’s production notes and on IMDb). He’s been working in the film and TV industry for more than 20 years, spending time as Tyler Perry’s head writer and acting in dozens of movies including this year’s Arthur Newman Golf Pro (with Colin Firth and Emily Blunt, plus Phillip Troy Linger who played Mr. Everdeen in The Hunger Games) and What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
But this is the first time he’s appeared in a film that became the #1 movie in the world, earning $214 million worldwide opening weekend!
Here’s what Steve had to say about being cast as Game Center Tech #1, working in the green screen Tech Center, working with Wes Bentley and Donald Sutherland, and being a part of scenes that weren’t in the book.
Q: Did you have any lines in The Hunger Games? Which scenes can fans see you in? [keep an eye out for him next time you see the movie!]
Steve: Yes, did a good bit of talkin’. Some scenes were cut, but that happens in most films. Let’s see, fans will first see me right after the Hovercraft takes off, taking Katniss to the arena. Also, right after the “wall of flame” is created to get Katniss moving toward the other Tributes, Seneca asks me to create a tree. You’ll spot me several times after that, particularly reacting to the kiss in the cave.
Q: How was the audition process for this particular role?
Steve: I went to a callback for the role in Asheville, NC, to meet with the director, Gary Ross. For the audition, they had us do a scene where we’re creating fireballs to hurl at Katniss. Well, one of the reasons I became an actor was, quite simply … I like to pretend stuff. So I set up my laptop with different sound effects (explosions, etc.) and went in using it as my “console.” I wanted to have fun with it. One of the producers read the scene with me, and when he asked me to launch a fireball, just pressed a key and had a pretty cool “whoosh” then “ka-boom” sound. Felt like I was 11 years old again. After I finished, Gary smiled, leaned back and smiled and opened his arms and said. “You wanna come be in my movie?”
Q: Since everything was so secretive in the beginning, were you aware you were auditioning for The Hunger Games?
Steve: It was extremely secretive. When I was first asked to audition, I was told it was for a film called “Artemis,” and that’s the code word they used for the entire shoot. Thought it was just another sci-fi movie. But then the casting director told me that it was The Hunger Games. That got me excited, and after reading the first two books (in about a week), I really wanted to be in the film. We never got to see a complete script, and were only given the pages we were going to shoot each day on set.
Q: What was it like working in a green screen environment where everything is computer generated besides the other actors? What was actually in the “control room”? What was direction like?
Steve: This was my first experience working with green screen. You had to imagine absolutely everything. All our consoles were green, the hologram in the middle of the room was just marked with tennis balls on different sized dowels, and the screens that we look up at were just dozens of “x’s” marked on the walls. The Visual Effects people gave me a workbook that showed the mock-ups of what all the effects would eventually look like. Had to study the book to know what kinds of hand movements to use to make certain things happen. They would tell us exactly how high we could place our hands, etc. They had really worked very hard on every single detail, which shows in the film. Gary’s direction was very specific. It’s always great to work with a director who knows exactly what he wants. At times, they’d have 3 cameras operating for a particular shot, so everything had to be timed out perfectly.
Q: Was there ever any concern among the “Game Center Techs” that fans would be unhappy with the added scenes, since we never see the Game Center in the book?
Steve: The feeling was that it would actually add to the story. Gary was very particular in what he chose to add that wasn’t in the book. I think the contrast with how hi-tech the Game Center was, compared to the harshness of the forest scenes, helped show how controlled and manipulated the Games were, which serves the story very well, I think.
Q: How was working with Wes Bentley, and did you have any interactions with the other major cast members?
Steve: The first scene shot was actually the last scene in the film, with Donald Sutherland, where President Snow watches from the balcony in the Gamecenter, then storms up the steps. He was a real gentleman. Wes was very friendly and talked alot about his new baby … not at all sinister like his character. Poor guy had to walk around with that crazy beard all the time … that wasn’t an effect by hair and makeup.
Q: Any chance you’ll be back for Catching Fire or will we see a new staff of Gamecenter techs?
Steve: You’ll have to ask Gary! Hopefully, we weren’t forced to eat a bowl of berries…
Thanks so much to Steve for talking with us! We’d love to see him back for Catching Fire.
We recently had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable interview with none other than Peeta himself – Josh Hutcherson! And yes, we were as excited as you can imagine.
Before we had a chance to start asking Josh questions, he made it a point to say thank you to all of the fansites.
First of all I just want to say thank you. I mean, everything you guys have done with your sites is incredible. There are so many fans for this book and to see you guys out there and rallying them together really means a lot and definitely does not go unnoticed by everyone involved with making the movie. So thank you first and foremost.
Is that not the sweetest thing ever?! We’re telling you – he is most definitely our Peeta.
After Josh’s intro speech, we jumped right into the questions. Check out the interview below!
Q: What scene did you find the most challenging in The Hunger Games, and did it lead to any changes while filming it? Josh: Let’s see. It was hard because some scenes were more physically challenging and some more emotionally challenging. The cave scene was tough. Number one, we had to shoot all the stuff in the cave in one day, so we didn’t have a lot of time to really get it. At the same time, in that scene, Peeta can have a tendency to kinda go a little more on the softer edge, and I thought that between myself, Gary and Suzanne, cinematically we decided it made more sense for Peeta to have a little more backbone. So in that scene we did a little more adjusting with dialogue and kinda performance to get to that point. So in a sense of emotionally, that was probably one of the more challenging. And it did slightly change a little bit from the book, but in no way that most people would have noticed it.
Q: What was the craziest stunt you had to do and what was the preparation like preparing for that stunt? Josh: The craziest stunt was probably the end fight with Cato and Katniss on top of the Cornucopia. And for me the training was the choreography. I mean memorizing that was extremely challenging, and it was pretty elaborate, a lot of movement, a lot of weapons involved and things like that. So it was pretty intense. We shot it over the course of three nights. And it was challenging. We were very hot and it was humid outside. And we were sweating up a storm. So it was very, very challenging. It was such a cool scene to shoot. I loved it.
Q: We wanted to know if you were a Capitol person, what crazy fashion trend would you start? Josh: Crazy fashion trend would I start. Umm…let’s see. I would say some crazy hair thing. I’m thinking like maybe mohawks. Those are pretty rock ‘n roll kind of awesome. And I’m personally a fan of tank tops. I think they’re perfect and extremely comfortable, and I think that it wouldn’t be crazy, but it would be a fashion trend I would try and hook them on.
Q: We know that Katniss brings the mockingjay pin into the arena. What would Peeta’s token be and what would yours be if you had to go in? Josh: Umm … it’s hard to say. You know Peeta, most people would probably bring something from their family. But Peeta’s kind of had a tried relationship with his family. I’d like to think it was something from a grandparent of his, something maybe we don’t talk about in the books, like maybe some sort of pendant or something like that, that he could keep in his pocket as a good luck charm. And for me, I think that, it’s kinda weird, but my grandma makes the best fried chicken in the world, so maybe like a bone from one of the pieces of her fried chicken as a good luck kinda thing.
Q: My question is, your face has been on everything lately from action figures to pillow cases, to cardboard cutouts, to t-shirts. How does that make you feel? Josh: It’s crazy. It’s such a crazy feeling. I mean it’s something I never really expected to happen to me in my lifetime and I keep on getting pictures from my friends sent to me of them holding up a magazine with my face on it. And it’s mildly embarrassing and slightly traumatizing. But at the same time it’s cool, I mean, you know to be a part of such an amazing movie, and an amazing story, and to see so many fans out there, and to see their support. It’s very reassuring. It’s very nice.
Q: I think The Hob actually asked the exact question I was gonna ask. I was gonna ask what was the most difficult part to film, or just the most difficult part in making the movie? The physical aspects of it. Josh: Yeah I’ll go to the physical thing. For me, one of the more challenging things was dealing with the heat while shooting. It was 100 degrees in a lot of scenes, especially in the reaping we had like 400 extras there, and they were all you know young kids, and it was 100 degrees outside and we shot that scene for five days. It was extremely hot and humid, and kind of dealing with that was just adding on. But it added a sort of real element to it, because it was frustrating, hot and hard to handle and it gave us a bit of an edge I feel like.
Q: You’ve said that you are very similar to Peeta and just had to have the part. What was most important for you in bringing this character to life? Josh: Oh so much. I mean I can relate to Peeta on so many levels. When I went to the audition, Suzanne Collins was in the room. And I said to Suzanne and Gary Ross our director, I said, you know I’ve never said this before in an audition, I feel like I’m so much Peeta that it blows my mind a bit, and I don’t really know how you, Suzanne, were able to write a book based on me as a person. It sounds so horrible as an actor, to go into the room and say “hey I’m so much like the book” but I felt like I just had to say it. You know for me, I think that Peeta has the strong belief you can’t become a piece in someone’s game. You’ve got to be your own creator of your own life and I believe that whole heartedly. And I think that Peeta, because of that I think, that I’ve gone through a lot as a actor, and not changed who I am, and I think that’s the biggest similarity I have to Peeta. And on top of that he’s always good with talking with people he knows how to turn it on when he needs to, and that’s kinda something I’ve been doing my whole life. So I definitely identify with that.
Q: You took a very long hiatus from Twitter and I was wondering what prompted you to come back and what was the fan feedback with your return? Josh: The fan feedback’s been amazing. I tweet something and I get like 900 responses right away, so it’s pretty cool. For me I was in London and Paris and I was doing some pretty cool stuff, and doing some amazing things, and I kinda wanted to share it with somebody. I was like who should I share it with, oh I have a lot of followers on Twitter so let me try that. I’ve been trying to keep up with it, you know it’s a different world for me , it’s something that I’m definitely new to, and I think that it can be abused sometimes and people can kinda go overboard with Twitter. So for me, I’m gonna tweet when exciting things are happening, when I’m doing things that I think people will find interesting.
Q: If President Snow forced you into a present day reality show, and you could pick which one, which show would you choose and why? Josh: Oh man, um … you know I don’t watch reality TV all that much. I watch “Man vs Wild” so I guess that’s technically a reality show. I would probably choose that one just because he’s epic and amazing and to learn the survival skills would be pretty awesome. Or I would choose “Jersey Shore” just to try and knock some sense into these people.
Q: As you know we run Hunger Games fansites, so we are obviously very passionate about the series, some might even say obsessed. If you weren’t a famous actor about to be in the biggest movie of the year, what fansite would you start? Josh: Oh boy, oh man you mean as far as a name kind of thing? What are we talking here?
Yeah, what are your passions or obsessions that you love so much? Josh: I see, I see, oh boy … I would probably start a UK fansite – University of Kentucky basketball – because I’m a diehard Wild Cats fan. I have been my whole life, and I’m obsessed with the team and I know a bunch of the stats, players and all that. So that would probably be the route that I’d go down.
Q: So obviously since you’re running and in the Games, you got some sort of injury or whatever, which scene for you resulted in the most injuries or bruises? Josh: Well, surprisingly, it was actually a scene that wasn’t suppose to have any kind of action in it. It was just me and Jennifer running through the woods. And we’re kind of messing around , like having fun , not filming and Jennifer said she could kick over my head. I was like there’s no way. And so she tried to show me and she kicked me in the side of the head and gave me a mild concussion. So that was the worst injury sustained. But she felt so bad. At first we were laughing about it cause I didn’t want her to feel bad and then afterwards I told somebody that I think I might have a mild concussion, and they did the eyeball check and everything and I did. She felt horrible, cried ‘I’m so sorry. You can kick me in the head’ and I was like ‘I’m not going to kick you in the head.’ It was pretty funny and she felt pretty awful about it.
While we were on the red carpet at The Hunger Games world premiere, we had the chance to ask a few Tributes (Samuel Tan, Dakota Hood, Leigha Hancock) about their most memorable moments on set, chat with Dayo Okeniyi and Jackie Emerson, and get footage of other cast members signing for fans, including Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Wes Bentley, Alexander Ludwig, Leven Rambin, Annie Thurman and others. To our surprise, a couple of the cast members were even familiar with our site!
You can also watch our earlier chats with Amandla Stenberg and Isabelle Fuhrman from “The Hob” on Sunday.
We had an amazing time at last night’s Hunger Games premiere – hopefully you kept up with all of our updates on Twitter! You can read our initial reaction to viewing the movie here.
We got some great video footage of the cast on the red carpet, and we’ll start working on editing that for you guys as soon as we all get back on the east coast!
In the meantime, we wanted to share some of the pics we took of the cast members (and Suzanne Collins!) as they came over to us in the fan section along the carpet. They were all so friendly, and impressed and appreciative that we had all camped out for more than 24 hours just to get on the carpet! We’re absolutely in love with this cast.
We’re going through all of our pictures and videos from camping out at The Hob yesterday and wanted to share a few pictures that we took with the cast members that stopped by to visit the campers. Click on each thumbnail below to see larger versions of pics with Mackenize Lintz, Annie Thurman, Amandla Stenberg, Alexander Ludwig, Jennifer Lawrence, Isabelle Fuhrman and Josh Hutcherson! (yes, we’re still freaking out about getting pictures with Jennifer Lawrence!)
And if you’re wondering what that The Hob banner is all about, just stay tuned.