THAT'S A WRAP
THE END OF HUNGER GAME HAS ARRIVED
Have you come to terms with the fact this is the end of The Hunger Games?
Yeah, it’s been a long time coming. There’s definitely a sense of accomplishment and excitement to move on to the next thing, but it’s also a little bit weird knowing you’re not going to be making any more of these movies.
It sounds a bit cheesy, but do you think yourself, Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth have grown up through these movies?
Absolutely. It’s been like a college experience – I started when I was 18 and I’m 23 now. You do a lot of growing in those years. And we’ve experienced a lot, the three of us together.
In the first film, Peeta was the golden boy and our moral compass. When it came to the two Mockingjay instalments, did you enjoy ...
Going crazy? Being a psycho killer? Definitely. That’s one of the parts I was most looking forward to playing. To take a character everybody thinks they can trust and flip it on its head was really fun. I enjoyed going to that dark, crazy place. I’d never played anything like that before – it was definitely a new experience being strapped down to a bed and having to freak out and go nuts.
The late Philip Seymour Hoffman was an actor who went to those dark, crazy places. Was he on set when you were filming those scenes?
He wasn’t. However, he’s been a huge inspiration. Every actor would dream to be onehundredth of the actor he was. He lost himself in every role. So definitely, that style of acting was something I was trying to emulate. He was someone we all looked up to very much.
Jennifer says she kept very busy making movies over the past five years because she didn’t want The Hunger Games to overwhelm her other work. Did you have that fear as well?
A little bit, yeah. Any actor who signs on to a big franchise that has a big book following ... we’ve seen in the past with these things, people get stuck in those characters. The good thing was all of us – me, Jen and Liam – had careers before; obviously this is the biggest thing by far and the thing we’re most known for, but the producers did a good job of populating the cast with really talented, known actors, so I think people do see it as actors in roles and not necessarily the roles completely defining the actors.
Peeta and his rival for Katniss’ heart, Gale, finally have a man-to-man chat in Mockingjay – Part 2. Is that something you and Liam had been joking about for a long time?
Yeah, Mockingjay is like the first time me and Liam actually have a scene. It was nice to finally work together! It was weird ’cos we’ve been such close friends throughout the shoot, but never actually worked together – it was either Liam and Jen or me and Jen. So finally we got to combine all three forces.
Obviously those who have read the books know which guy Katniss ends up with. But what’s your pitch as to why she should choose Peeta over Gale?
It’s tough. They don’t exactly live in the most easy of times. Both of the characters have things that Katniss finds interesting ... The defining moment really is what happens with Gale and his darkness that comes out towards the end. Even though Peeta has been tortured and he’s kinda gone crazy, he comes back around and he still has that golden, moral compass thing. I think that’s why Katniss should go in that direction.
Was there ever a dream that might have turned your head from acting?
There was a moment where I kind of quit acting to play soccer ... but that didn’t last very long. Because 1) I had to go to real school and that wasn’t exactly my favourite thing. And 2) I wasn’t quite good enough to become a professional soccer player.
What will you miss about Peeta?
Peeta always had this idea about not wanting to be a piece in the game. That definitely resonates within me – I don’t like to subscribe to convention. In that sense, Peeta’s a bit of a rebel and I connected with that about him.
What is your life, post-Hunger Games?
I just want to keep making movies. I’m reading lots of scripts and I find I’m drawn to unique characters and trying to find filmmakers who are bold and do their own thing ... But also I’ve been doing a lot of work lately producing things – I have a production company I’m trying to grow, to get behind the camera more and eventually direct.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 opens today
PEETA ALWAYS HAD THIS IDEA ABOUT NOT WANTING TO BE A PIECE IN THE GAME. THAT DEFINITELY RESONATES WITHIN ME
Liam Hemsworth, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson (top), and film scenes.