The Hunger Games is a 2012 American science fiction adventure film directed by Gary Ross, based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins. It is the first installment in The Hunger Games film series.
In a dystopian future, the totalitarian nation of Panem is divided between 12 districts and the Capitol. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal retribution for a past rebellion, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors while the citizens of Panem are required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12′s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. Written by Suzanne Collins
- Chloë Grace Moretz, Mary Mouser, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Lyndsy Fonseca, Jodelle Ferland, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Roberts, Kaya Scodelario, Emily Browning and Shailene Woodley were considered to play Katniss.
- Alex Pettyfer, Josh Hutcherson, Lucas Till, Nico Tortorella, Alexander Ludwig, Evan Peters and Hunter Parrish were considered to play Peeta Mellark. Hutcherson was eventually cast, although Ludwig was later cast in the role of Cato.
- Chris Massoglia, David Henrie, Robbie Amell and Drew Roy were considered to play Gale.
- Jennifer Lawrence was initially cast as the lead in Savages, but dropped out to do this film instead.
- Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence, both natural blondes, dyed their hair brown for their roles in the film while Josh Hutcherson, naturally dark-haired, dyed his hair blond for his part.
- Composer Danny Elfman left the film due to a scheduling conflict and was replaced by James Newton Howard.
- On February 22nd, four weeks before The Hunger Games’ release, Lionsgate began selling advance tickets. Not only did the ticket sales break the one-day record originally held by The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, but also accounted for 83% of the ticket sales of the day.
- The first name of the main character, Katniss Everdeen, is derived from the name of a group of edible plant species, genus “Sagittaria”, commonly known as “arrowhead”. This is a reference to the character’s archery skills. Her surname is a reference to Bathsheba Everdene who is the lead female character in Thomas Hardy’s novel “Far from the Madding Crowd”. Suzanne Collins, who wrote the novel that The Hunger Games is based on, said “The two are very different, but both struggle with knowing their hearts”.
- The fictional nation in the film is called Panem. This is derived from “Panem et Circenses,” or “Bread and Circuses,” which comes from the latter days of the Roman Empire, in which the government would keep the masses satisfied not by performing their public services well, but by providing violent and deadly entertainments for the people to watch, which is rather fitting for the subject matter of the film.
- The director Gary Ross has stated that his decision to go with shaky cam work, “had a lot to do with [the] urgency of what’s going on and [to reflect Katniss'] point of view.”
- WILHELM SCREAM: Heard from one of the victims when Katniss cuts off a tree branch and the nest of tracker jackers fall onto some of her opponents.
- The design for the Cornucopia was inspired by the work of architect Frank O. Gehry.
- Paula Malcomson played Jennifer Lawrence’s mother once before, in Cold Case: A Dollar, a Dream.
- During a New York Magazine interview, Wes Bentley said that the extremely unusual beard he wore as Seneca was styled from his own real beard, not created from applied pieces or extra hair. Bentley said that while he was in North Carolina filming the movie, he would often go to the local Target (a national department store chain) to buy things like baby formula while still sporting the “Seneca beard.”
- The second movie in two years (after Winter’s Bone) in which Jennifer Lawrence plays a character who feeds her destitute family and herself partly by catching and killing squirrels.
- While horsing around on the set, Jennifer Lawrence accidentally kicked Josh Hutcherson in the head, knocking him out and resulting in a concussion.
- The four-note melody that Katniss uses as her signal with Rue (and that plays at the end of most trailers) is G-Bb-A-D.
- Elizabeth Banks plays a pivotal character in the story, who has become an iconic image in pop culture, yet this character’s name (Effie Trinket) is never spoken in the movie.
- Elizabeth Banks spent 45 minutes every day having manicures done on her fingers.
- Alexander Ludwig worked out for four hours a day with a US Navy Seal to get into shape for his role as Cato.
- Although it is mentioned briefly that Gale has had his name put into the drawing multiple times, it is not fully explained in the movie why someone might want to do this other than when Katniss tells Prim when she comes to say goodbye not to put her name in more because it’s not worth getting enough food. Each additional time a name is entered raises the possibility that the person will be selected to compete, and probably die, in the games. In the source novel, it is explained that putting your name in an additional time garners your family an additional portion of grain and oil, so families experiencing especially terrible privation may put their children’s names into the drawing more than once in exchange for that small amount of extra food.
- The first film not released by a big six studio (Fox, Disney, Paramount, WB, Columbia or Universal) to gross over $400 million in the United States.
- Woody Harrelson is a vegetarian in real life. In scenes where Haymitch is seen eating, he eats either dessert or vegetables, or just drinks.
- Lenny Kravitz was cast for the role of Cinna without audition after director Gary Ross was impressed his brief performance in Precious. Because most of Cinna’s scenes are with Katniss, Kravitz learned as much as he could about Jennifer Lawrence through his daughter Zoë Kravitz who appeared with Lawrence in X-Men: First Class.
- Donald Sutherland saw the script by accident and when he read it, he lobbied for the role of President Snow because the the script reminded him of Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory. He succeeded in getting role after he wrote a letter of plea to Gary Ross explaining why he should be cast.
- Jennifer Lawrence was paid what was, for her, the high fee of $500,000. It took her three days before she accepted the role because she was unsure how the role would clearly affect her career, since her background was largely on the indie film circuit. For The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, she was paid $10 million, 20 times more than the initial offer.
- Gary Ross wanted to make this movie after noticing his twin children were fans of the books. However, he was unaware that producer Nina Jacobson had already secured the rights. Suzanne Collins’ novels were discovered by co-producer Bryan Unkeless, who then recommended them to Jacobson.
- Because of how the pedestals were arranged and spaced apart in the field, there are only 20 of them at the cornucopia instead of 24.
- In the early scenes depicting life in District 12, an homage to Dorothea Lange’s iconic Depression-era photo is seen in the shot of the lady looking out the window with her fingers on one cheek. Later in the film, the Reaping scene features images of the same grand neo-classical architecture, ’40s style microphones, and red birds of prey banners that were all part of the Third Reich.
- Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson were both born in Kentucky, a state with rural poverty and coal mining reminiscent of District 12.
- Second unit director Steven Soderbergh shot much of the District 11 riot scenes.
- Panem is located in a post-apocalyptic North America whose land mass has been reduced by rising sea levels. It is generally agreed that the Capitol is in the Rocky Mountains, possibly Colorado, and that the District 12 town where Katniss grew up is somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains, possibly Kentucky or West Virginia.
- Jennifer Lawrence was initially reluctant to take the role of Katniss due to film franchise’s popularity and how the role would be a big change for her personal life.
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