The Hunger Games
Comes To Town!
By Anne H. Boatwright,
Photos courtesy of Matthew Boatwright
It's not every day that a mom gets to spend quality time with her teenage son on the red carpet interviewing soon-to-be mega movie stars. My 15-year old Matthew and I served together as a mother-and-son team reporting at Lenox Mall with cast members at a promotional event for the hotly anticipated film "The Hunger Games". We're both enthusiasts of Suzanne Collins' best-selling teen novel from which the film is adapted. Matthew was my trusty photographer and shot most of the pictures. Due for wide release on March 23, Atlanta was the second stop in the eight-city, pre-release National Mall Tour. A crowd of over 1,000 energized and well-read fans lined up early to meet the stars, participate in the Q & A, and win prizes.
To ear-piercing screams of admiration, five cast members appeared including Liam Hemsworth, Amandla Stenberg, Dayo Okeniyi, Leven Rambin and Jack Quaid. Australian Hemsworth ("The Last Song") with his charming accent was clearly the hot property and endured numerous cheers. Jack Quaid is the son of Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan (yes, he looks just like his dad) and a student at NYU. The other actors are relative unknowns but that is about to change.
The post-apocalyptic story focuses on an annual competitive and fatal game event in Panem, a nation of 12 poverty-stricken districts surrounding a prosperous Capitol in the ruins of what was once North America. In the dictator's Hunger Games, a teenage boy and girl are chosen to represent each district as "tributes" and fight to the death with only one survivor -- a warning to the districts to never again rise up in protest. Pitted against well-prepared, highly trained tributes, the movie's heroine, 16-year old Katniss Everdeen of District 12, volunteers herself in her younger sister's place. She is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts and hunting skills while her best friend Gale watches as she and partner tribute Peeta must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity.
As the actors made their way down the red carpet, Matthew and I squeezed between the sardine-packed press line to get in a few questions of our own.
Liam Hemsworth (Gale - best friend of Katniss, also from District 12)
How did you like filming in western North Carolina and did it remind you of Australia?
We shot the film in a small town near Ashville; it was really quiet. I'm from a small town as well and really enjoyed being there.
Did you have to train for your role?
I trained so I could take my shirt off!
Is Gale's personality like your own?
Gale doesn't believe in the games or the government. Working with Gary Ross (the director) was wonderful; he has great ideas and knows what he wants.
Amandla Stenberg (Rue- the youngest, littlest tribute)
What was your favorite scene to film?
It probably has to be my death. It was kind of strange because it was very fun but kind of somber on set. It was actually really fun. Jeremy is an incredible stunt guy; he can do all these incredible things.
How was it being the youngest tribute?
Actually, it didn't really matter because I think of them (the other actors) as mentors or older brothers and sisters who were all joking around; it didn't really matter.
Dayo Okeniyi (Thresh- Rue's strong partner)
Do you feel Thresh's character was ruthless like the other tributes?
No, Thresh has a heart. He fights really tough; he's clear about his strength. He fights because he's forced to do it but he's a gentle giant. At the same, if he's backed into a corner...he'll try to survive.
Jack Quaid (Marvel - another ruthless tribute)
Are you prepared for the fame that goes with this popular book and movie?
I...(hearing the screams, stuttering and grinning) I'm not even here! I'm asleep; I'm in my hotel room right now!
Leven Rambin (Glimmer - Sexy but vicious tribute)
Tell me about Glimmer:
She's manipulative and sexy; she has to be sexy for the sponsors, but she's also a bad girl. So I play that too!
Which weapon did you like the most?
I liked the sword. I also really enjoyed shooting the bow and arrow. I actually got kind of good at it!
Matthew and I nearly floated back to the car in the afterglow of getting to shake hands and speak with famous actors in a movie we've been hoping would be made (like as soon as we finished the book)!
There was great energy and excitement, and we feel sure that this movie will be a blockbuster. As the youngest member of the press, Matthew summarizes saying, "It was a really enjoyable experience."
Click here to see more event photos!
(Anne Boatwright & Matthew Boatwright)