Buzzine brought you interviews with the integral stars of the much-ancipated film adaptation of The Hunger Games. Now, Nicole Rayburn meets with the rest of the cast and crew at the red carpet premiere. Join Nicole at the Nokia Theater in Hollywood, CA as she chats with everyone involved with this sure-to-be smash hit.
Nicole Rayburn: What was the most difficult scene to shoot?
Alexander Ludwig: The cornucopia scene took a very long time. There was a lot of structure. It was like seven days of just filming straight in the hot heat. That and my death scene was difficult just emotionally.
Nicole Rayburn: What’s the most exciting scene that you think the fans should look out for in your scenes?
Isabelle Fuhrman: The feast scene, definitely, with Jennifer Lawrence. I got to do an entire sequence that I trained about a week ahead for, and it’s a really great scene where you get to know who Clove is.
NR: I’m really excited about you being in After Earth. Can you talk a little bit about your role in that? Have you met with Will (Smith) and Jaden (Smith)?
IF: I have met with Will and Jaden. I met them about a month ago when I went and did rehearsals. And Will is hilarious and Jaden is such a sweet guy, and I’m very excited to get back out there tonight, actually, and start filming tomorrow.
NR: What’s your character?
IF: My character is Reyna, and I play one of Jaden’s friends on the home planet.
NR: How did you prepare for the role mentally and physically?
IF: Mentally, I kind of wrote a back-story for what I thought Clove would have experienced to make her so angry and filled with this angst, and then digged a little deeper and discovered what I wanted her family life to be like. And then physically, I learned how to throw knives and do little parkour and combat and fight training and knife training.
Nicole Rayburn: How does it feel to be part of a project like this?
Wes Bentley: It feels amazing. It’s a really special project. I’m really happy to be here.
NR: What is the most exciting scene that you think fans should look out for?
WB: Selfishly, I’d say scenes that I’m in. [Laughs] No, there’s a couple of great scenes with President Snow that aren’t in the book, and I think fans are going to have a good time seeing that.
Nicole Rayburn: Did you have any physical training for your role?
Jacqueline Emerson: I did. I did a lot of agility training. We did parkour and free-running, and stuff like that so I would be really agile. [Laughs]
NR: What is key about Fox Face, about your character specifically – what stands out?
JE: She’s a genius. She’s able to make it through the games without killing anybody, and she does it all based on analyzing every situation. She almost makes it to the end, actually, so that’s cool.
NR: How close to the books did you have to stay to the character when you’re being directed?
JE: They stayed very close to the books. Suzanne Collins was executive-producing it, so they really tried to keep the books and the fans at heart.
Nicole Rayburn: Your character has a really unique characteristic about it, and how was it playing that, and how difficult was that?
Amber Chaney: The nonspeaking role is just like any other character that you would prepare for. It’s just: what are this character’s handicaps? What are their limitations? What is the obstacle that they’re trying to overcome? And hers is that she is trapped, needs help, and she can’t tell anybody. And there would be many different circumstances where that could be the case, and this happens to be physical – she has no tongue to say that she needs help.
NR: Did you read the books before you signed on to this?
AC: I read all three books three times, yes. [Laughs]
NR: And that was just by choice!
AC: Yes, I wanted to make sure I knew the story inside and out. [Laughs]
NR: I have kind of an off-the-wall question: was there a memo about all the neon – the bright clothing?
AC: I think that the movie has influenced fashion because, in the mall, it’s neon colors everywhere. [Laughs] It’s like the land of Oz.
NR: Yeah, I noticed, and then specifically on the carpet. I was like, “I think there was a memo!” [Laughs]
AC: Yeah, I think we all said, “We should do something Capitol-ly.” [Laughs]
NR: What do you think this film is doing for your career? Are you very strategic about that, or do you just take it as it comes?
AC: I’m taking it as it comes. I have another film lined up called Cupid’s Requiem. It’s a huge departure from what this film is – it’s very indie and underground and everything, so I’m just doing whatever roles I really like.
NR: How long until we can expect to see that?
AC: We’ll be shooting that the end of April, so it will probably be released sometime at the end of the year.
Nicole Rayburn: When did you lock the film? When was the last time you said, “All right, my hands are off?”
Gary Ross: You mean lock picture or stop tweaking?
NR: Stop tweaking.
GR: Well, that might have been very recently.
NR: How recently?
GR: A few days ago. I tweaked a couple of things in the color timing a couple days ago, yeah.
NR: What was the most important thing to keep true to the book that you did in the film?
GR: I think we took it seriously, which the fans do. We weren’t cynical in trying to produce a piece of entertainment. I connected to the character, I feel, and I feel that I connected to what Suzanne was trying to do. And I think we tried to honor that. We weren’t cynical in how we made this. Before I was anything, I was a fan. I loved the books. So I think you have to come at it from the inside out – from that place of honest connection.
NR: Which direction are you leaning right now – three films or four?
GR: That’s a larger conversation that involves more people than me.
Nicole Rayburn: Is there a memo about the neon? Because everyone’s got neon. It looks amazing!
Brooke Bundy: This was an independent decision, but there must be something in the universe.
NR: What was the biggest challenge about shooting your role?
BB: The crazy outfits were a little hard to work with, but this was a pretty easy shoot for me. I mean, I had a great time and it was amazing.
NR: How long did you shoot?
BB: A couple weeks.
NR: Did you read the books before?
NR: I assume most people did, but I’m always asking. So how close was it to the book, that you were directed or that was important to stay close to the book?
BB: There are some things that have to be adapted because it’s a different medium, but they did an amazing job of staying faithful to the books and creating a really amazing adaptation, so I hope fans will be pleased.
NR: What did you come away with from this film, from your character or from shooting it, that you didn’t have before?
BB: I came away with some amazing friends from being on set, so I will always have that with me, and I’ll hopefully get to work with them over the years with the other movies.
NR: What would you tell someone if they were going into the game right now? After shooting this, what would you tell them as a heads up?
BB: Run! [Laughs]
Nicole Rayburn: What was the biggest challenge of your character and shooting?
Mackenzie Lintz: At the beginning, you have to get into this sort of dark mindset to realize what you would be feeling, what your family would be feeling if you’re going into this arena where people are trying to kill you. So I think you can’t mess around with that. You’ve got to realize who you are as this character, and you’ve got to get into it, just to be able to portray it well.
NR: And I heard you say that you did read all the books…all of them, right?
ML: I read all three. I was a fanatic.
NR: And that was just for fun? You’d already read them…
ML: Yeah, I saw them in a bookstore and I was like, “I don’t have anything to read,” so I read them. Before I even auditioned, I read all three of them, and I knew every single thing about it, and I’d look up who they were thinking of casting, and then when they cast me, my reaction really should have been on film, because it was ridiculous. [Laughs] I ran…I was running. I don’t even know what happened. Ask my mother because she knows. But it was hilarious.
NR: What grade are you in?
ML: I’m a sophomore in high school.
NR: Who would you date -- Peeta or Gale?
ML: Let’s see… They’re both adorable, but I’m thinking Team Peeta.
NR: What’s it like taking a break from school and going to shoot an epic film like this?
ML: It’s definitely surreal. It’s incredible. Right when you read the books, and right when you realize it’s coming to life, and stepping on set, you know it’s gonna be phenomenal. This experience has just been incredible. You can’t even describe it.
Nicole Rayburn: Did you read the books before the film?
Karan Kendrick: Yes, I had to read the books before the film so I could understand the story and exactly what story we were telling, and learn about my character.
NR: How important was it to stay true to the writing of the book, and how much has changed for your character, from the book to the film?
KK: I think that my character is probably a little more fleshed-out in the film. We’ll have to see exactly, because I haven’t seen the film yet, so I don’t know exactly how it all comes together. But I think that what is written gives us a very clear picture of who she is, and hopefully I could take that and bring her to life a little more on the screen.
: And you play Atala, the Head Trainer. So the people who have read the book will be excited to see more about your character…
KK: I hope so. I hope that they will see Atala come to life in a way that maybe they have imagined, and maybe in a way that they haven’t. So it will be fun to see. But tonight I get to see exactly what that looks like and how it all comes together.
NR: What was one of the biggest challenges for you, training, shooting…for your character?
KK: I don’t know that there was a challenge. I think it was really all a gift. It was such an amazing process – working with everyone. The hardest part was…I don’t know. Going home at the end of the day. I don’t know; it was great.
NR: It was not very physical?
KK: For the kids, yes. But I’m the trainer. I’m just making sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to do. I’ve already done it.
NR: What advice would you give someone going into the game right now?
KK: Fight smart and survive.
Nicole Rayburn: What would you tell your character now, after the fact, knowing what you know, about the game? What kind of heads up would you give your character about the game?
Samuel Tan: I would definitely tell him not to go anywhere near the cornucopia. [Laughs] Just run away. And definitely that’s where everything happens. That’s where you either make it or break it. [Laughs]
NR: What strategy would you take differently at the start, or what weapon or strategy would you start out with?
ST: I think having weapons on you but maybe not using them is a really good tactic, because then you can kill someone if you need to, but surviving is the main thing. I think putting yourself in danger is gonna ultimately lead to death.
NR: And what was one of the biggest challenges of actually shooting this?
ST: I think one of the biggest challenges was getting everyone prepped for the training center. Everyone has to learn how to fight; everyone has to be in the skill of martial art and surviving…and we actually did prep for that. We trained, we learned; we learned how to weave swords and everything else. It was awesome.
NR: What kind of training or experiences did you have prior to signing on to this that helped you prepare for that?
ST: I do stunts. I do parkour, so I think that had a huge deal for me, at least, to be in The Hunger Games, is because I do these things.
NR: And how long was the training after you signed on?
ST: It was around four weeks we trained.
NR: Where did you guys shoot most of this?
ST: North Carolina. Yeah, I had to get my accent for ya’ll.
NR: Did you read the books before you signed on?
ST: Yes, I did. I’m on my third one.
NR: Did you already start reading them because you were interested in them, or you started once you knew you were gonna…
ST: I actually heard about the movie and I thought about picking up the book, and then I got the audition and I was like, I’m definitely picking up the book. And then I got the role and I was like, “Oh my God. I am reading all these books.” [Laughs]
Lionsgate's 'The Hunger Games' is released in theaters March 23, 2012.