Other than The Dark Knight Rises, there’s probably no greater anticipation for a 2012 movie than The Hunger Games.
Based on the multi-million selling book series by Suzanne Collins, it boasts a huge following among young adults. And with Gary Ross, writer / director of Big, Dave, and Seabiscuit, the franchise has a lot of potential to zoom past its core audience and catch on big with a lot of people.
The cast includes Jennifer Lawrence as lead character Katniss Everdeen, and features a young lineup of newcomers alongside Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, and Lenny Kravitz.
Harrelson plays Haymitch, a burned out drunk who won the Games back when he was a teen who now mentors Katniss.
As Harrelson told the L.A. Times, he wanted to avoid clichés that could easily come with the character, even though he’s a favorite among fans of the book.
"I didn’t want to do it totally like your typical version of an alcoholic in a movie," Harrelson told Geoff Boucher, and indeed he looks nicely dressed, with long rock n roll hair parted in the middle, which helps add to the surreal look of the film. "The look of everything is amazing," Harrelson continued. "The imagination behind the hair, the makeup and set decoration, it was just really impressive."
Harrelson indeed likes the books, "It’s good writing and it keeps you on the edge," and he had fun making the movie. He told the Times he’s only seen one scene so far, a scene he had to loop dialogue for, but that scene looked great.
Now for people who don’t know the whole Hunger Games thing backwards and forwards (like myself for example), Total Film penned a basic guide so here’s a quick rundown of some facts they’ve gathered. Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, worked in kids TV before writing Games, writing scripts for shows like Clarissa Explains It All, and she’s a fifty year old mother of two. Total Film points out she’s "very rarely ever seen in public. Unlike JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, she’s not welcomed fame... She’s not even on Twitter..."
There’s also 2.9 million copies of The Hunger Games in print, the age range kids have to play the Games is 12 to 18, and Total Film also points out that indeed, like I’ve always thought, this story is similar to Battle Royale, yet Collins said she got the idea channel surfing between footage of the war in Iraq and reality TV. (Collins claims she’s never seen the movie or read the novel Battle Royale is based on).
The city where the Hunger Games take place is Panem, The Capitol, where like in Logan’s Run life is dedicated to total pleasure, and people watch the Hunger Games for fun. Kids are picked out of District 12 to fight in the Games, which is impoverished, and they haven’t won the Games in about 25 years. Katniss lives in The Seam, the poorest part of District 12. And there’s a little bit of a Soylent Green theme in there too with Tessera, or so it seems.
There’s plenty more to go over, so I’d rather let the novices like myself learn more when the movie’s ready on March 23.