The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - NEALA JOHN­SON

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


Liam Hemsworth, Jen­nifer Lawrence and Josh Hutch­er­son (top), and film scenes.

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