Category Archives: Characters
After last week’s little blurb of an article and repetitious “first still” of Katniss Everdeen in Entertainment Weekly come two online articles today with a little more to chew on. There’s some hints about the tone and greater world building and also about the expansion of President Coin’s character in the movies.
One surprising thing about Coin’s casting was that Julianne Moore approached them about the movie. According to Francis Lawrence,
She actually sort of tracked us down and had an interest in the books through her kids.
First of all, a big THANK YOU to Julianne Moore’s children for getting the books into mom’s hands. Last spring/summer Coin was THE top role that we were all wondering about with Mockingjay casting. Fansites collaboratively did a “Campaigning for Coin” set of posts thinking about different actresses who could fit the role. Julianne Moore was included in the lot. (Read it, it’s fun to see now).
And seems like Francis Lawrence saw it right away too because,
She didn’t audition. Once we knew she wanted it, that was it—done.
When she was cast, I think there was resounding joy among fans that someone of her caliber would play the role. But the fact that she already knew about the books and was captivated enough by them to pursue playing Coin makes me so happy. She didn’t have to be courted. She knew the power of the story and the potential of the character.
With big movies like this sometimes you worry that top actors are just “in it for the money” so they can then go off and do low-paying indie passion projects without going broke. I’m sure she’s getting paid well to play Coin (as well she should, it’s only fair considering the box office of these films) but seeking out Francis Lawrence with her thoughts on the character is a good sign for the complexity of the role, which the article says has been expanded for the films.
Yay, President Coin! Wait, that sounds weird.
We have 96 days and counting until the release of Mockingjay Part 1, but in reality a select few thousand only have about 80 something days to go. Yep, and those few thousand would be the people who will be attending the world premiere. Getting it out-of-the-way, I do not think I will be one of those few thousand. Why? Because if the world premiere is in London, or anywhere in Europe like it was for Catching Fire, there’s no way in hell I could afford to go. However for the sake of this article, let’s pretend I’m attending! In that case going along with the trend of wish lists that JJ started yesterday, this is what I wish will happen at the world premiere of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1.
This guy needs to be in attendance, and inappropriately dressed.
Yes, because that seems to be his lot in life, and he’ll likely be paid a hefty sum, and that tends to sway most people to do things they wouldn’t do otherwise. However he seems to be adverse to pants, so– meh, who cares! I mean, I’m sure they’ll require pants, but like I said he seems adverse to them– I know this because I’ve fallen into the black hole that is Google image searching this man. And lemme just break it down for you younglings out there– it was eye-popping even for me, who is very much so not a child, I may be blushing right now actually. Or maybe I’m not, maybe I’m just drunk on life?
We all have wish lists for our lives, or for experiences in our lives. Weddings, parties, vacations, perhaps some of us out there hope to find that perfect pair of black heels that won’t kill us after ten minutes of walking. No? I cannot be the only one!? Anyway, aside from the fantasy of District 7 Underwear Model Dude attending the world premiere, and possibly magically making eye contact with him, and not bursting out laughing because, have I mentioned that Google image searching him leads to a black hole of Doctor Who sized proportions? Think about it, Doctor Who’s been in existence since 1962, that means the black hole is friggin’ huge. Where was I? Ah yes, what else my sick brain wants for the world premiere!
I’ve been to two Hunger Games premieres, the world premiere of The Hunger Games in Los Angeles, and then the domestic premiere of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire also in Los Angeles. The secondary cast was in attendance of course at the Catching Fire premiere, and the top billers, Jen, Josh, Liam, and Woody showed for the red carpet, and a photo op inside the venue (Woody only for the photo op). But then Lenny Kravitz walked by in black leather, and then Elizabeth Banks sauntered by as well, and then Aaron Sorkin walked by looking for his seat– and I started to quietly lose it. I need better celebrity sightings at the next world premiere! I kept hearing murmurs about Matt Damon being at the Catching Fire premiere, but I never saw the man– and I had good seats. So, if Matt Damon shows, or hell– Ben Affleck, I’ll have a lovely time in this sweet little fantasy I’ve got going on.
I’d like Donald Sutherland to do something thoughtful, and also entertaining. We know from his past behavior that he’s no stranger to small, but mighty gestures of appreciation towards the audience. What with him just recently showing up to the Teen Choice Awards wearing a tux, and throwing “Nightlock” at the audience after accepting his award for Best Villain, he’s undoubtedly up for seemingly anything. At the world premiere of The Hunger Games, he showed similar solidarity as well, yes by turning around, facing the “cheap seats”, and giving them the three finger salute whilst he was being introduced. So, if he can somehow get the concessionaires to show up in the aisles and douse the fan-section with complimentary bags of blue berries dressed up as Nightlock– that’d be awesome I have to admit. Or, y’know– pay for everyone’s parking.
How many times do I have to say it? Is it November yet?
Them There Eyes
As we all know the cast of our beloved Hunger Games series have other projects under their belts, and in their futures. I thought I’d take a little time out this weekend to point out that yet again several of our cast have promising things for us all to look forward to, some even in the near future.
Jeffrey Wright our resident Beetee, has a lot to look forward to. I’m not even waxing philosophic when I say that, because just this past week it was announced that he’ll be part of the recurring cast of a brand new HBO series. Actually, he’s only been cast in a pilot, but the project has high hopes– and a monster good cast behind it– including people like Rodrigo Santoro, whom many might remember from Love Actually, and Lost. But that’s the end of things for Jeffrey, hell no– he’s still on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire whose fifth and final season premieres next month. See, even if we’ve got months to wait to see him as Beetee, we’ve only weeks to see him portraying other characters.
Come November we’ve got nothing to complain about where it comes to Josh Hutcherson– ’cause we’ve got two projects to ogle him in. Yes, I said ogle. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 as we all have marked on our calendars, but then a few days later on November 26, Paradise Lost the thriller Josh filmed before he joined the rest of the Mockingjay cast and crew, is slated to be released in the US. Spain and France, you lucky dogs you– you’re getting it in October, and on November 5th. Watch the teaser trailer below!
And now for the castle dweller– ’cause Jennifer Lawrence is our resident Disney princess in disguise. For the last two years the buzz about The Glass Castle being made into a film starring Jen, has been circling the entertainment media news. And finally more solid info on that project has come to the surface, well as solid feeling as the word “negotiations” can muster. But we all know that Jen’s no slouch where it comes to projects outside of The Hunger Games, it could be easily argued that she does her best work when she’s not playing Katniss– but that’s an article for another day.
I still want to see Mockingjay anything before I see Jen in anything else– well unless it’s the film Serena.
Them There Eyes
We’ve had some time to stare at every inch of the Mockingjay Part 1 character posters by now. When they first came out (or rather leaked, THIS HAS GOT TO STOP HAPPENING) I wasn’t filled with a whole lot of passion for them, but I told myself that this is somewhat appropriate. Effie’s poster was the only one that gave me some sort of visual surprise because she looks so different from her old self.
These posters are meant to set a mood, and for these six, the mood is pretty somber, no-frills, and grey. I saw some comments that it looked like they were in prison, and well, I won’t argue with that. It’s an accurate interpretation of the book, and I want that. I also know that a lot of thought and care must have gone into the creation of these posters. So I’ll try to dig out a few more hints (For Plutarch and Effie, see TTE’s previous post).
Body positioning immediately stands out, especially when you see all the posters together. Coin and Beetee facing the left, with Plutarch at a kind of lefty-angle. Effie staring head on like she’s getting a mug shot taken. Haymitch and Finnick to the right almost trying to escape off the print. The positioning made me kind of want them to have a “beginning of story” Katniss that is huddled on the floor in the shadows, turned to the right like Haymitch and Finnick. THAT would have been a really dramatic statement, but I suppose they are waiting to debut Katniss in another set of character posters with the field crew (Katniss, Gale, Boggs, Cressida, etc). That miss kind of hurts me though. I would have loved that (Any artistically-minded people, I implore you to create some fanart in that vein).
Dried Out Haymitch
We know there’s no alcohol in District 13, so Haymitch goes through severe alcohol withdrawl, and the pain of that (and everything else) is very clearly etched on his face as he stares down towards the floor. District 13 must have taken pity on the man and allowed him a hat and cardigan to ward off the chill, and in a way hide himself away through clothing. I love this one. Probably because I love Haymitch. It got my coveted phone lock screen spot.
Coin Stands with the Mockingjay
Suuure she does. But it does make a statement that she is the only one with the big Mockingjay symbol in the background. We all know that her support is only when it serves her own purpose. She’s a smart woman who understands the power of the symbol and wants to take it as her own. You better believe she’s going to be photographed with that in the background.
Beetee Pays You No Mind
The most striking thing to me about Beetee is not that he’s in the wheelchair. We expected that. But the fact that his body position is dead straight to the left, and he’s looking straight ahead to the left. He is in no way acknowledging us, but probably lost in his thoughts, focused on his task at hand.
We know that Finnick will not be mentally well in this movie (or at least until reunited with Annie). Sam’s sad and dazed expression says it all. He is, dressed however, in the District 13 uniform, so no joking about him in his underwear right now. Just sad Finnick, trying to hold on another day.
Yes, I was one of the people disappointed about the lack of a Katniss poster. If you’ve read any of my posts for the past few months, I WANT TO SEE KATNISS is kind of my mantra, so no surprise there. And I guess they are waiting to debut her in a more of a field / action type-setting. Katniss standing in her Mockingjay suit with these grey walls behind her would have looked out of place, I agree (but wouldn’t you have liked to see damaged Katniss in the corner? I can’t stop thinking about it). I just hope this next set has a little more spark to balance things out. District 13 can be a really depressing place.
You know what they say about hope…
There’s good news, and there’s bad news to report. Let’s start with the good news shall we? Okay. WE’VE FINALLY GOT MOCKINGJAY PART 1 CHARACTER POSTERS! And yes, that sentence deserves to be written in all capital letters, thank you very much. We sure do like our characters posters in this franchise, also this genre, I can remember all the way back to the revealing of The Hunger Games character posters, and the collective sighs of relief that sounded across the Internets. I think that sigh was echoed today, and perhaps some of those sounds felt a little bitter-sweet for some. I know that when I personally thought on the idea of a character poster being revealed of Plutarch Heavensbee this time around, I felt some trepidation. I think you all know why. And then there’s the reveal of Finnick in his drab District 13 garb, and then remembering what will happen to Finnick in Part Two. But then there’s the simple excitement of seeing Julianne Moore in all her Coin glory, and not just in a clip from the teaser trailer.
The highlight however may be the unveiling of Elizabeth Banks’ poster of Effie Trinket. If you’re unaware at this point, book canon has gone the wayside, and Effie has for all intents and purposes, taken the place of Fulvia Cardew. At least that’s the educated guess more than half the fandom has made about her presence in District 13. Oh also, I believe Suzanne Collins mentioned something about it. Book canon as we all know is more often than not something that goes out the proverbial window when it comes to book to film adaptations. In this instance knowing that the author of the series condoned the “tweak”, I think makes the poster reveal a little vindicating. Also, leave it to Effie Trinket to pull off a stylish ensemble by refashioning a District 13 issued button down as a mini dress, might I add as well that her re purposed head scarf is very on trend right now. And I’m even on board with this trend! Seriously, it’s perfect for bad hair days, which I’m guessing happen a lot in District 13.
I said there was bad news however. And the bad news is two things. One being that the poster reveal today only happened because they were leaked on line before their slated released date of tomorrow. To some fandom members this is good news, because hey– we got the posters early, and that’s all we should really care about! Right? No. Bottom line those images were stolen, and you all should know by now how I feel about stealing. So, while it’s great to see the posters finally, I wish it hadn’t been in such a discombobulated, and frankly– clunky manner. What can I say? I like my social media campaigns to run smoothly? Yep, that’s what I’m going with. The other bit of bad news though is this– ’cause of course I didn’t forget that it’s two things. No Katniss poster.
Seriously, cough up the rock– we want our Mockingjay already!
Them There Eyes
Today, we’re going to be positive and grateful. For what, you ask?
Though we’re still confused about why the Katniss ad for Always exists, today we will show our thanks that some other character-specific ad campaigns DON’T exist, even though they’re surprisingly more relevant to the story than tampons.
At least we’ve not yet seen…
Peeta’s Pastries - Not the fresh yum yum shop pastries at Comic-Con (even though they totally stole the Effie cupcakes design). We’re talkin’ prepackaged, dry cakes with a frosting filler served en masse! All covered in icing Mockingjays, arrows, arena obstacles, and more! Just like out of Mellark bakery (except with more sugar and artificial preservatives!)
Haymitch’s Liquor - Though we would most definitely name a little homebrew project after Haymitch, could you imagine an actual liquor brand releasing commercials with Katniss’ mentor drunkenly attesting to its level of awesome? Or creating unique labeling with Hunger Games fans in mind using Haymitch? Spit take worthy, possibly hilarious, yet sadly 100% inappropriate. But most fans are old enough to drink anyway, so why not?!
Gale’s Hunting Bows - What product does The Hunger Games show off more than anything? WEAPONS. So why not sell some badass hunting gear?! Promoted by a male character, of course, so that men don’t have to feel shame and outrage because a woman like Katniss can handle a weapon just as well as them!
Johanna’s Body Lotion - If you’re often naked or scantily clad in low cut outfits, you NEED a moisturizer that leaves your skin looking beautiful! Johanna knows the secret to soft, supple skin, even on a recently shaved head!
Finnick’s Manscaping Products - Hair gel, chest wax, self tanner, and more! Finicky probably uses it all. Now he can share his methods with the modern male population so they can ALL be studly! Or maybe just throw him into an Axe body spray campaign, because anyone who looks that good MUST smell good, despite the sweat from continuous workouts!
Aren’t you glad these things DON’T exist? Don’t you feel better?
This doesn’t make every product partnership that’s been associated with the film good (most aren’t), but sometimes we gotta be happy that there’s only one product tie-in tweet we’d categorize as utterly ridiculous.
Of course, we also want to show that specific character tie-ins are tough to pull off for this franchise. The only one we could see so far is Samsung possibly using Beetee to tie in with their technologies, but that hasn’t happened yet. Advertising can be fun, but we just gotta make sure everyone knows THERE’S A LINE!
If You Want To Sell Brands, Maybe Start With A Story That Isn’t About Poverty?
The Girl With The Pearl
San Diego Comic Con 2014 is in full swing, and the Internet is a buzz with all things Benedict Cumberbatch, Marvel, Hobbit-y, Game of Thrones-y and oh yeah– Lionsgate-y. I’m one of the sad few who is not attending the convention, and frankly will probably never attend, because crowds of that magnitude give me the heebie-jeebies, and trust me when I say this– you don’t want to be around me when I have the heebie-jeebies. Anywho, Comic-Con is a place of fandom-wide fun and excitement, and just all out nerd-gasmic heaven.
Y’all like cupcakes, right? I betcha do! Why not, they’re delicious, and fluffy, and if they’re made right they are moist (not in the naughty way), and light, and put a smile on your face with their fondant, and they’re butter cream goodness. Lionsgate apparently likes cupcakes too, or baked goods if we’re speaking in broad terms. I know this because this weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, part of the fun and festivities are baked goods, including cupcakes. That’s right folks, they have a sleek-looking, Capitol-esque bakery set up on display for the burgeoning public to ooh and ah over. This is awesome for all intents and purposes, ’cause everyone and their glutton tolerant aunt likes some free baked goods every now and again. The only fly in the ointment of this sweet, little gesture is the slightly glaring fact that who ever, or whatever marketing firm chose the designs for some of these goods, well– stole them.
That’s right folks, I just used the S word, and it’s not the shit kind. Nope, I call foul on who ever, or whatever person, or group of people who decided stealing other people’s ideas is an acceptable business practice!
Crystal Watanabe has been a staple in this fandom for years, she’s involved more than a random fan as well– and on top of that she’s got more than a life outside of her endeavors involving The Hunger Games. Crystal used to pretty much run Mockingjay.net, now she’s the founder, and head at Jabberjays.net. Crystal is a master at bento, as well as artisan baking. Which brings me to the previously used S word. Crystal’s designs for two Effie Trinket themed cupcakes are being used without her permission right now at one of the biggest entertainment themed conventions in the world, and all of this is going down without what’s probably most important– credit where credit is due.
I’m just going to say it, but this is not cool! I know that the big guys on top of the money-making machines that supposedly dictate our lives, wholly believe that taking a “little persons” ideas and shilling them as their own, is acceptable. But damn it all to hell– it’s not! I know they’re just cupcakes, but even cupcake designs are things that deserve to be credited to the originator, the designer– who in this case is Crystal Watanabe.
So Hunger Games fandom, if you think it’s cool to steal other people’s ideas– by all means eat up. But if you don’t– say something, that’s what the Internet is for– other than porn of course. This credit issue could be easily remedied with a simple piece of card stock going up on display in that bakery set up. Simple, concise and easy, because this is potential revenue lost to an artist.
Effie Trinket cupcakes designed by Crystal Watanabe of Fictionalfood.net.
Them There Eyes
In case you didn’t already know it, we’re gross. So much so that the whole advertising world is busy telling us how gross we are in an effort to help us conceal our unholy level of disgusting, because we should totally be ashamed!
These companies sell us (and in part help create) our insecurities. But don’t worry! Then they empower us! How, you ask? By making us feel insecure about having said insecurities, of course!
Thankfully, The Hunger Games isn’t like that. They may sell clothes, makeup, and nail polish that represent the selfish, ignorant elitists of the tale that should in no way be glorified. They may try to sell us elongated sandwiches full of irony to promote a film about the struggles of the starving and underprivileged. They may soften the collective fan experience by only letting people who possess certain technologies or live near certain stores get exclusive early access. But they would never exploit Katniss’ gender as a means to pander to a false empowerment campa— OH WAIT.
*blink blink* WHAT?
First off, as many fans have discussed several times over on every Hunger Games related form on the Internet– Katniss Everdeen does things LIKE A GUY. One of the most interesting thing about her is that she transcends gender stereotypes by taking on traditionally masculine roles. If anything, Peeta is the one who does things #LikeAGirl.
Don’t get us wrong– we still think Katniss has a hefty dose of femininity and is a great role model. But she can be a great role model for ANYONE, not just girls. If Katniss and Peeta’s genders were reversed, the main character would still be a great role model. To say that her accomplishments matter BECAUSE she is a woman and that she should inspire girls any more than boys is just ludicrous.
Does she get super secret strength just from having her monthly period? Is that what makes her such a great hunter, strategist, and leader? DID WE MISS THAT PART OF THE NOVELS?!
Also, this totally fails to empower us. It has the opposite effect:
- Katniss Everdeen is made of pure awesome. She fights for justice, leads a nation, and creates a new way of life for the entire populace of a struggling society.. and hey, she’s a woman!
- Well, I’m a woman and I do none of those things. Therefore, I SUCK. And don’t dare try to tell me I could sway the nation and lead a bloody human rights revolution right now, because then you’re just lying.
Then Always jumps in to really drive that point home:
We really, really hope this isn’t a long-term, ongoing partnership with this brand. It’s straight up patronizing: “Oh look, she’s a strong, heroic leader AND a woman! Let’s all stop and treat that like an anomaly!”
A major facet in Katniss’ likability factor is that she hates misleading campaigns that paint her as a false hero for the people. In a strange way, that’s what makes her a real hero.
It’s painful to equate that Katniss’ success and power to the fact that she, just like all the other women out there, survives that time of the month. In fact, it gives us cramps. Katniss never seems to get cramps. Dammit, we can’t ever measure up to this chick!
All in all, we think our friend Joan said it best when it comes to the premise of this whole campaign:
And There Goes The One Topic We Never Thought We’d Come Across Here,
The Girl With The Pearl
We’ve got BONUS guest posts for you this week! Check out another Mockingjay musing from Satsuma, who sees plenty of opportunity of historical parallels in the final two films!
Here I am, trying to make more predictions about the MJ movies. My last post dealt with their possible approach to romance. This one focuses more on the politics. Specifically, whether the movies will continue to make references to historical political events that have parallels to what happens in Panem.I say “continue to”, because both THG and CF seemed to make a directed effort to make viewers consider the parallels, in many subtle ways. Maybe it’s just me, but the “Capitol = Rome” set-up SC created seems to have actually taken a back seat, with more modern examples of tyranny and oppression being focused on more. We have the Capitol set design from THG, inspired by “brutalist” architecture used by the Nazi’s, as well as Tianamen Square; and the use of Henry River Mill village, a real life “company town” (though for a different industry than coal) for the Seam.
And while this isn’t expressly political, I was also quite struck by the Capitol equivalent of a sports book that was showcased in that movie, especially as we see gambling in all forms becoming more and more socially acceptable these days in the US, and states trying to get a cut of the action; not just the state lotteries, but, for example, how Governor Christie of New Jersey recently attempted to legalize sports gambling in his state). And while FYI I admit I never “got” the whole allure of gambling, certainly one can argue that it’s yet another way that the “powers that be” can distract citizens from more serious issues.
In CF, the D11 design actually tweaked aspects of canon, such as showing workers picking cotton instead of fruit as they did in the book, to drive the “D11 = Deep South”, not just geographically but culturally as well, to the extent of giving the Peacekeepers attack dogs that I bet Bull Connor would have loved to own. (Brief history lesson: Connor was a notorious segregationist “Commissioner of Public Safety” in Birmingham, AL, who cracked down harshly on civil rights protestors in the 1960s. I’ve even wondered if Connor’s deceptively benign job title, helped inspire the “Peacekeeper” moniker.)
And not only did CF harken back to the 1960’s, it also showed “rebellion” footage that seemed straight out of the Arab Spring. I’m sure that was no co-incidence.Especially knowing that Danny Strong wrote the first scripts, I’m sure that MJ will continue to showcase these historical and political parallels. (Note that, as has been mentioned on this blog before, “Game Change” actually has a lot of similarities to MJ even though Sarah Palin is VERY different from Katniss in many ways, both feature a female character “campaigning” for a cause and frequently “going rogue” and disregarding the scripts their handlers want them to follow.)
Note that the MJ marketing again touched on the idea of “Panem field hands = African Americans”, considering the race of the woman chosen to represent the Grain district (even though she likely hailed from the Midwest, not as strongly associated with the African American civil rights struggle as the Deep South, though certainly the North had/has its own issues with racism as well.)
Unfortunately, it’s likely too late for the MJ movies to draw the obvious parallels between the MJ rebellion and what’s happening at the Ukraine-Russia border these days, right down to innocent civilians being caught in the cross-fire, with each side pointing the finger at the other as the culprit for a wartime atrocity. Much as in MJ, I wonder if we’ll ever find out the REAL story about who shot down that airliner. (On the other hand, there’s still almost two years worth of marketing to go…)
But we know that the Iraq war helped to inspire SC to write this story, as did her father’s experiences as a soldier in Vietnam. I can certainly see, for example, a shot of rebels dragging down a statue of Snow, much as Saddam Hussein’s statue bit the dust. Or perhaps we’ll see a shot of Snow being dragged out of a bunker somewhere. And while Julianne Moore’s description of D13 seems more consistent with “Jericho” and other post-apocalyptic societies than the historical Soviet Union, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some reference to the idea of “Capitol = US, D13 = USSR”; perhaps a nod to classic Cold War era movies such as “Dr. Strangelove” (which itself based the not-so-good Doctor partly on Werner von Brown, who managed to jump from serving the Nazis in WWII to directing NASA in the 1960s; hmm, that sounds almost like what Plutarch did, actually).
Finally, the reason I titled this post “Applicability”, is that the current events in Crimea really did impress me with how applicable this series is to the Ukraine/Russia conflict, even though SC wrote the books years before this conflict flared up. In both, we have rebels who want to break away from one problematic regime, yet are backed by another regime that has many problematic aspects as well. This is one reason I think this series may remain relevant for a while, even after the last MJ movie.