We keep hearing how all the people involved in The Hunger Games movie were fans of Suzanne Collins’ books long before they were actually hired. Well, as fellow fans, we love to hear about how others discovered Katniss and her world. And that’s what we asked Elizabeth Banks yesterday, when she was in town to promote her latest movie, Man on a Ledge.
“I first got the book from a publishing friend,” said the actress, who plays District 12′s tribute handler Effie Trinket. “I had read a similarly themed book called The Maze Runner, also a great book, and someone said, ‘If you liked that, you’ll really like this upcoming book called The Hunger Games.’ ”
*Pause.* So, it sounds like she was a fan before the book was even out, back in September 2008. The Maze Runner, incidentally, is the first in a trilogy by James Dashner about a boy who wakes up in a box with no memory of his past and realizes he’s one of a group of boys forced to try to escape an ever-changing life-size maze. Catherine Hardwicke was attached to direct that movie, but we haven’t heard any news on it since January 2011. (Update: James Dashner just tweeted us that he doesn’t think Hardwicke is attached anymore. Boo!) OK, back to Banks and her Games obsession. *Unpause* Read more…
While Hunger Games fans await our next glimpse of Elizabeth Banks as tribute handler Effie Trinket, the actress is busy promoting another role: She plays a police negotiator responsible for talking down the title character in Man on a Ledge, out next Friday (January 27). It’s a tense heist movie, also starring Sam Worthington and Jamie Bell, but we noticed a very big similarity between this movie and the upcoming Games. As Worthington decides whether to jump, 21 stories down an antagonistic crowd forms, eager for gruesome action, just the way we imagine the folks in Panem’s Capitol watching children kill each other on live TV.
“It’s probably a direct line from this audience going ‘Jump, jump, jump,’ to the audience who watches the Hunger Games on those television screens in Panem,” Banks told TheFABlife. “Yeah, ’cause they’re definitely blood thirsty as well.”
But Banks doesn’t necessarily blame the crowds for wanting a good story. Read more…
Here’s how The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen describes the most famous piece of clothing since Bella’s wedding gown: “A few hours later, I am dressed in what will either be the most sensational or the deadliest costume in the opening ceremonies. I’m in a simple black unitard that covers me from ankle to neck. Shiny leather boots lace up to my knees.”
Hunger Gamesstar Josh Hutcherson opened up about Peeta’s kiss with Katniss at the People’s Choice Awards last night (“It’s good,” he promised). That seems like more than enough to get his loyal band of Peeta-philes (note to self: never use that term again) jonesing for a real life romance between Hutcherson and co-star Jennifer Lawrence. “I don’t know how you can be prepared for that kind of thing,” the actor laughed when Celebuzz asked about the pressure to have a spark with his fellow Tribute. “People are always going to infer and draw their opinions. I’m ready for people’s opinions, that’s for sure.” The fact that Josh didn’t just immediately say, “Get a life, people” gives us the warmest feeling in our tiny, shriveled hearts.
If there is romance in their future, at least Josh and Jennifer already passed an important relationship milestone: peeing in front of each other. Oh sorry, we meant, peeing on themselves after being startled by a mannequin. “They had a full life-sized dummy of one of our tributes that had gotten killed by a tracker jacker, and basically it’s all swollen and gnarly-looking and mangled, and Jennifer was out of her trailer so I took the dummy and put it inside her bathroom in her trailer,” Hutcherson revealed to MTV News with a grin. “I wasn’t there for the big moment when she saw it, which I can’t believe I missed, but I’ve been told that she actually peed her pants in reaction to it.” Ugh, we should be ashamed that this sort of makes us swoon, right? Okay, that’s what we thought.
For someone who is on the verge of mega-stardom, The Hunger Games’Josh Hutcherson could not be a more easygoing, earnest and sweet guy to talk too. Seriously, some actors are good at laying it on thick and rolling out manufactured answers, but talking to Josh is like chatting with a friend. Kinda reminds me of another interview favorite whose name rhymes with Robert Pattinson. Wait, that is his name. Well, you catch my drift.
I was given two questions with Josh at the People’s Choice Awards, but as you can see in the video above, I just kept talking as he headed on to his next interview. I’m not gonna lie, guys, I was kinda tongue-tied and nervous. I’ve been waiting to talk to this dude for so long and am SO excited to see him as Peeta that my mouth turned to mush when he sauntered up to my spot on the carpet. It was like finally speaking to the guy you’ve had a crush on for months and then being too freaked out to form a sentence. But I did manage to ask him a few things: about his bond with Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence, his favorite scene to shoot in the movie, that kiss, and if he gets freaked out by the fame and Team Peeta movement. He’s all yours in the video above.
It’s a veritable law of the universe that haters are going to hate; it’s in their awful blood. If they’re planning to hate on Elizabeth Banks for being cast as Effie Trinket in the upcoming Hunger Games film, however, said haters can take their complaints to the book’s author Suzanne Collins. “I worked with amazing Academy Award–nominated people in figuring out who Effie is, and most importantly, [author] Suzanne Collins blessed everything we did,” the 30 Rock actress told New York mag when asked about some haterade she recently received on Twitter. “So as long as Suzanne Collins is happy … I would say if fans wanna fight about it, they can fight with her.” Say … in some kind of specially-designed murder arena? While the rest of us watch, our deadened souls stirred by the unfolding homicidal drama? Pweeeeease?
The fact that Banks sounds so confident in her acting ability is encouraging, seeing as how as the actress is personally a devotee of the book series. “It was really a bunch of fans sitting around discussing what our visions were for everything,” Banks said of working on the Hunger Games set. “And then of course there are practical things, like I imagined District 12 — and they pretty much nailed it — like it was in the south in an old mining town. And that’s what we shot. And the Games actually blew me away. What I was imagining was too small.” Ugh, seriously, how can you hate on this woman? Her wigs alone make us want to get emotionally invested in this film.
Lionsgate has done all of us a heavy and released a mostly fresh batch of The Hunger Games stills to ogle. While the countdown to March 23 continues, we’re pretty much champing at the bit to get out hands on it, so we’re excited about the “new” photos Lionsgate released this week, even if we’re pretty sure we’ve seen them all before. There are some photos that were previously exclusives with other magazines and sites, like the one of Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket with Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen in a scene that we know is going to make us bawl — when Katniss volunteers herself instead of Rue — as well as one of Lenny Kravitz, Woody Harrelson and Josh Hutcherson as Cinna, Haymitch and Peeta discussing strategy, and a behind-the-scenes shot of Jennifer in the forest. There are also stills of what we’ve seen in the trailer, such as the one of Amandla Stenberg as Rue, warrior Katniss holding a bow, and Katniss and Liam Hemsworth‘s Gale in the meadow and the one we included above, of Katniss being led to the arena. But yeah, so what if it’s all familiar territory? We don’t want the whole darn movie spoiled for us!
Taylor Swift is an expert at writing melancholy pop; for example, “Dear John” made us want to rise up as a nation against John Mayer. This time, however, Swift has set her song-writing sights on government-sponsored blood sport with “Safe and Sound,” her new song for the Hunger Games soundtrack. “Something I’ve been VERY excited about for a VERY long time is going to be happening VERY soon,” Swift tweeted last night, before posting the jam she recorded with The Civil Wars. You can listen to it here. Personally we think it captures the exact combination of hope and despair you’d feel as you sprinted through the woods trying to escape almost certain death and you knew a boy liked you. What do you think of Taylor Swift‘s addition to the film’s soundtrack?
Christmas came early today in the form of this new Hunger Games still, which shows Katniss and Peeta training before the games. We thrilled to find Josh Hutcherson looking the most Peeta-y we’ve seen him — blond, buff and seriously handsome. We’ve been hard on the guy in the past, but this photo — combined with his serious acting skills — gives us a lot of hope for his portrayal Peeta. Jennifer Lawrence looks amazing as usual, and seeing them together has sparked our curiosity about their on-screen chemistry. Readers, are you sold?
Whether you’re preparing teenagers for a government-sponsored battle royale or just getting torn apart by a pack of mutant wolves who look like your fallen opponents, you always want to be as fabulous as possible. Luckily Lionsgate is releasing twelve official Hunger Games nail polish colors, one for each district, paired in their new ad with escort Effie Trinket herself. The line being entitled “Capitol Colours,” the spot asks the all-important question: “What will you be wearing to the opening ceremonies?” Other than the steely-yet-resigned expression of a heartless warrior, of course.
On one hand…doesn’t seem a little weird to be buying a product named after the decadence of the book’s corrupt Capitol City? On the other hand, we’ll wear anything if it’ll help us look as fierce as Elizabeth Banks. Or even Mr. Stanley Tucci! What do you think? Will the odds be ever in your favor of looking like a total diva in these hues, or does representing District 12 with tribute nail polish strike you as a little grim?