The Hunger Games (2012)

Directed by Gary Ross
Produced by Jon Kilik and Nina Jacobson
Screenplay by Billy Ray and Suzanne Collins
Based on The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Music by Danny Elfman and T-Bone Burnett
Cinematography Tom Stern
Studio Color Force
Distributed by Lionsgate
Release date March 23, 2012
Budget $75 million

In a not-too-distant future, North America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. As the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’ young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.

Peeta Mellark, District 12’s male tribute, couldn’t be more different from his former classmate Katniss. By all appearances an indoor boy, this baker’s son has an unusual talent for icing cakes, which proves to be an indispensible asset in the arena—his surprising skills for wrestling and quick thinking come in handy too. To Katniss he is a relative stranger, but he has secretly harbored a crush on her since they were kids, and he will do whatever it takes to make sure Katniss survives.

> First part of a Trilogy series of young adult books by Suzanne Collins: ‘The Hunger Games’, ‘Catching Fire’, ‘Mockingjay’.
> On August 8th, 2011, while still shooting the film, Lionsgate officially announced that a film adaptation of the second novel in The Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire, is scheduled to be released on November 22, 2013.
> A heavily promoted first look at footage from the film debuted on MTV’s 2011 Video Music Awards on August 28th. The show attracted MTV’s biggest audience in the network’s history with a record-breaking 12.4 million total viewers.
> Lionsgate debuted the central cast trio through two Entertainment Weekly covers, featuring Jennifer Lawrence in character as Katniss and Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth in character as Peeta and Gale. It marked the first time that a studio has revealed a principal cast of film characters on sequential national magazine covers.
> Winners of “The Ultimate Hunger Games Fan Sweeps,” a global contest where fans entered to win the opportunity to be flown to the set of The Hunger Games, was the one exception to the film’s closed set policy. In mid August, five winners from around the world and their guests got a glimpse of the sets, observed the filming of a scene and met the cast.
> Alex Pettyfer, Lucas Till, Nico Tortorella, Alexander Ludwig, Evan Peters and Hunter Parrish were among other actors considered to play Peeta Mellark.
> Suzanne Collins was present for Josh’s audition, when he performed scenes in which Katniss fights to keep a critically wounded Peeta alive in a cave — and Collins is a true believer. ”People may get thrown, say, by the color of an actor’s hair, or something physical,” said the author. ”But I tell you, if Josh had been bright purple and had six-foot wings and gave that audition, I’d have been like, ‘Cast him! We can work around the wings.’ He was that good.”
> Before arriving on set, Josh hit the gym for an intense round of training to better embody a boy who’s spent his childhood heaving sacks of flour. He put on about 15 pounds of muscle in three weeks. His hair has been dyed blond.

I read the whole series in five days.

I don’t want to be that actor who’s like, ‘Yeah, man, the role is so me. But it is! I am Peeta. His humility, his self-deprecating humor, his way that he can just talk to anybody in any room.

For the audition process, I came in the first time and read a few scenes for [director] Gary Ross and [author] Suzanne Collins and some of the other producers involved. Then maybe about a week or so, maybe two weeks later, I came in and did a screen test with [co-star] Jennifer [Lawrence], where I actually read the scenes with her so they could see how the chemistry worked. Both of them felt really great, but as an actor, you just pick apart every single thing that you do, so for me, I was on pins and needles waiting to find out. And then when I finally found out, my jaw hit the floor. I was so excited.

I thought I understood the brutality of kids killing kids. But when you walk onto set and you see all the weapons in the Cornucopia and you look over and you see this little kid who’s 10 years old…

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