One of the most anticipated films of the year, The Hunger Games is about to hit screens. It’s kind of a big deal.
Taking place in a not-so-distant future, The Hunger Games, adapted from the novel by Suzanne Collins, tells the story of Katniss Everdeen. In order to save her sister, Katniss volunteers for the annual bellicose contest, which pits teenagers from the 12 remaining districts in Panem against each other in a televised battle royale. The brilliance of the book lies not only in its ability to convey a universally teenage attitude of rebellion, but in its pastiche of culture, borrowing elements from the past, present and future to depict the vast totalitarian world that surrounds this epic tale of survival. Collins has created such an impressively addicting series that it could even feed the cravings of teens starved for their Twilight triquels. The behemoth of a film comes out this week and if it’s as heart pounding as its literary counterpart, we can expect to be on the edge of our seats and left hungry for more.
With Film Editor Jonathan Crocker interviewing star Jennifer Lawrence in The Royalty Issue, i-D online sat down with her co-star Josh Hutcherson, to discuss the physical demands of being a heartthrob, taking on the role of Peeta Mellark and his own obsession with our favourite adolescent novels!
Did you find there was a lot of pressure taking on a role that audiences have connected with already? Yes and no. I feel like there’s a certain kind of pressure to live up to an expectation. At the same time it gave me a bit of confidence that people were already into the story and into the character, and made me feel like “you’ve got to make a great movie now.” So I went into it with that sort of pride.
What struck you most about The Hunger Games, the characters? The plot? It was both actually. I’ve never read a character that I’ve connected with more. It was almost creepy how much I was like Peeta in his belief that you have to be who you are no matter what the situation. You have to look in the mirror and like the person you see. As an actor growing up in the business you have a lot of opportunities to change who you are and sacrifice what you believe in for other things and I never wanted to do that and that’s true with Peeta. And the story is so intriguing, the social commentary on reality TV combined with the separation between the rich and the poor, that kind of idea of a group of people banning together and fighting for a cause is becoming more and more relevant with what you see today in society.
How demanding was it physically ? Well, actually, the preparation is the most physical part. I put on about 15 pounds of muscle for the role. I had to eat so many chickens. So many families lost their chickens because of me.
Was your role’s preparation as tough as Katniss’s (Jennifer Lawrence’s)? She trained so hard for this movie. I think she did eight weeks of archery training. Jennifer didn’t grow up playing a lot of sports and then she had to go and play this character that was extremely athletic and a hunter. So for her, she went through a full on physical transformation. So she takes the cake when it comes to that for sure.
Which was your favorite of The Hunger Games books? That’s tough. Each one has so many things that I liked. Probably the first one because it was the one that grabbed me and it was shocking. Then the third one as an actor I think will be really fun because Peeta needs to go to those crazy places and kind of flip around.
What do you enjoy most about acting? I love people. I think people are so infinitely interesting. Every single human has different perspectives, emotions, ideas and thoughts. As an actor you can get inside their head, I find psychology super interesting so to really get to live as another person is my favorite thing.
What’s next for you? I’m reading a ton of scripts right now for the spring. Catching Fire will probably be going some time next fall and I also have another movie coming out April 13th in the US called Detention, which I actually produced as well so that’s an exciting thing for me. Always wanted to get behind the camera and I finally got my opportunity to and it was a really fun experience. I’m excited for everybody to see it. It’s a crazy movie – like nine million genres mixed into one by Joseph Kahn, a music video guy, it’s very fast paced for a younger generation.
The Hunger Games opens worldwide on March 23rd.
Text: Lily Avnet