What seems to be all over the entertainment news sites for the past week or so are “spoiler” images of the Cornucopia from the Catching Fire movie. Where did these pictures come from? Good ol’ Google and their satellite images. Yes, some resourceful fan was able to locate where they were filming the Cornucopia scenes and the picture that just so happened to be up showed an aerial shot of the set.
Google lived up to its “you can find ANYTHING” reputation (except maybe the airport), and it was a +1 in the Hunger-Games-fans-will-find-it-if-it’s-on-the-Internet column. It’s actually impressive and kind of scary. It’s becoming more and more difficult to keep things a secret. And this was found through a service that the average person has access to for free. Studios didn’t used to have to worry about, “Hey, what if fans looked up satellite images of our super secret sets?” Technology these days makes it so much easier to spy on your fandom’s closed-set productions. Even sites like On-Location Vacations help you stalk your favorite movies and TV shows.
This wasn’t the first time the Cornucopia “leaked”. Remember when pictures of the first Cornucopia showed up way before we were supposed to see it?
Well, we seem to have impressed some of the nerd world by this, but Lionsgate is probably not too happy, especially since it seems like it was everywhere. Seriously I was getting a ton of Google Alerts about it the past week or so.
Now where is the satellite image of Finnick’s dimples
We did it, guys! The Hunger Games: Catching Fire won the tournament-style MTV Movie Brawl 2013, beating The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by 100,000 votes out of 10 million total in the final round. Catching Fire is “officially” the most anticipated movie of the year!
I couldn’t have been happier to hear the news that Catching Fire won, not after last year’s upset when Cosmopolis took the crown. Heck, I was just happy to know that we’d be in the finals with a movie that deserved to be there this time around. And to be clear, I’m not saying Cosmopolis is terrible (I still haven’t seen it so I can’t judge), and this ain’t Robert Pattinson hate either since I find he’s a pretty cool dude. Let me put it this way: the past couple of weeks while the movies were a-brawlin’, I told the story of last year’s Brawl several times to some of my coworkers, and when I’d say that Cosmopolis won, without fail, every response was, “What’s that?” How could it have been the most anticipated movie of 2012 when my small cross-section of people didn’t even know that it was a movie that existed? But hey, I’m still bitter.
No, this year, we were at least up against the first The Mortal Instruments movie, a movie that I am actually anticipating almost as much as Catching Fire, thanks to the fact that I’ve read (more like devoured) the first 3 TMI books in the last month or so and the movie’s cast filled with practically every actor I’ve ever loved. You bet I’m dragging my friends to see that movie, which happens to come out the weekend of my birthday. I also knew that The Mortal Instruments have a huge following that often overlaps with the Hunger Games fandom so it would make it an interesting match-up. It seemed like a much fairer fight this year, so I was pretty content to just see what would happen.
And we won! That Magical Internet Pony we can brag about is now finally ours.
Until next year
They’re really and truly not finished filming The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Did you know that? God, I hope you knew that, ’cause I knew that– but what I didn’t know, or didn’t see coming was them choosing of all places to shoot scenes from Catching Fire is… New Jersey. Get your heads out of your asses, ’cause New Jersey isn’t all Jersey Shore, with Guidos, and Juice-heads, and– whatever, I don’t watch MTV so I really can’t spout off the colloquialisms. It’s true though, Catching Fire as of today the 25th of January, was shot in part in northern New Jersey, okay at least one or two scenes– I think.
The skinny is this: Locals have been buzzing recently about permits being acquired, and locations being scouted, and today all was confirmed, because the trailers showed up, and areas of a state park called Ringwood were cornered off so Francis Lawrence and his team of misfit toys, which includes the usual suspects of Jennifer Lawrence, and I’m taking an educated guess here, possibly Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, perhaps even Mr. Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Mr. Donald Sutherland, could film there– maybe. That or they were there to play dress up and play mean game of Charades! Now, I’m speculating here, but since the location is a state park lousy with wooded areas, that they’re filming bits and bobs for scenes taking place in District 12. Please note as well that today it was very cold in Northern New Jersey, actually it’s below freezing there right now as I type, so they may be taking advantage of all the winter that’s going on, and going for authenticity where it comes to certain scenes we all remember devouring like scalding hot chocolate. I also speculate that since the park is also home to gardens, and a stately looking house, that they may be filming portions of the Capitol Victory Tour Gala, thus why Sutherland and co. might be in attendance– I really don’t know if they are, don’t hurt me if they aren’t.
Well, location, location, location as they say– I hope they feature the Garden State well. She really needs the TLC right now.
I was so excited to write this article you guys, but then the rug was pulled out from under me, and now I have to share that the glorious, and in my own personal opinion, best damn rumor about Catching Fire in months– is not true. Or, more like– isn’t allegedly true, because I like to think all this Hollywood stuff is more cloak and dagger than it probably is. Iris van Herpen was rumored yesterday to be the brain tasked with designing Katniss’ infamous wedding dress, i.e. the one that transforms into a Mockingjay and shocks the entire country of Panem, and pisses off President Snow oh so very much. Yeah, according to Fashionista.com, it’s not happening. And that’s when I cried all the tears, because I may have just been introduced to this woman’s work yesterday, but I quickly fell in love with it! It’s demented, and weird, and innovative, and so fucking disgustingly Capitol, and I literally started bouncing up and down in my seat when I was perusing photos of her latest Haute Couture collection called Voltage. I’m sad, you guys– because even though I’m giddy over the places I see Trish Summerville taking the costuming in Catching Fire, I think that hiring a Haute Couturier like van Herpen to design Katniss’ most controversial costume is a brilliant, and inspired idea.
Look, it’s no big reveal when I state again that I was very disappointed with the costuming in The Hunger Games, and especially with Katniss’ interview dress. I know that when you see the gown in person it’s stunning, but come on– you and I know that it did not translate to film well, and that we were all expecting not a prom dress, but something deserving of a runway in Paris or Milan. I was expecting a jewel encrusted one of a kind, absolutely
staggeringly fantastic gown, we got 1990s prom– and some low budget looking flames. I still don’t know why they decided to add the flames to the dress, and no one try and defend that concept to me, I’m stuck in my ways in my old age. Part of me reads van Herpen’s denial of being involved with the film, as a tactic that the studio asked her to employ. Kind of like staving off the scent, when she’s really already designed the piece, and it’s already on film. Think back a few months to when Catching Fire was filming in Atlanta, and Stanley Tucci was quoted to have improvised during the interview scene, because Jennifer tripped, fell, and flashed the entire room her underwear? Well, I remember that, and no I was not in the room, but it means that the scene in which Katniss dawns the smokey Mockingjay dress is in the can, and that means the gown has already been designed– whom by though? We really may never know the answer to that question.
Oh well, at least no one is dead.
Them There Eyes
Sam Claflin is our Finnick Odair. How many times does that have to be said for the fact to sink into people’s skulls? I honestly have no clue, ’cause I accepted it before the rumor of his casting became not a rumor, but true. But, as always there are harder sells out there, but hey– if I can accept Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, you out there in the nothing can accept Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair. Acceptance has been reached by some, and with acceptance comes well, some bargaining, if you will?
The recent Entertainment Weekly cover story should have assuaged some people’s apprehension, but before I go any further, I have to confess something fandom related– I no longer frequent Tumblr, except in fits of weakness, and then I rebuke myself for it for hours. Also, I’ve maybe been to a Hunger Games message board a handful of times including before I became a staff writer for Victor’s Village, as well as after. I am a bad fandom member in this sense, because I don’t engage in discussion in the most common and conventional way, or at least the way in which I’m gathering most people who consider themselves Hunger Games aficionados do. So, what does this have to do with Sam Claflin, or Finnick Odair for that matter? Easy, I had no idea that after the Entertainment Weekly cover story was released, that people were freaking out over the frankly unfounded idea that Finnick was getting more screen time, more attention, and was taking over the love interest role from Peeta Mellark and/or Josh Hutcherson in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. However, when I did learn that this was a reaction that a few loud people were having to the tiny soundbites of information Nina Jacobson, or Francis Lawrence were expelling– my reaction was “oh, for fucks sake!” I said it above, UNFOUNDED, and that is simply the case. I know people like to drum up trouble, and read into things that aren’t there, or are there but only if you squint and pop a zit at the same time, but come on people, really?! I mean, I know Sam’s a fit bloke and everything, but they’re not going to change the entire trajectory of the film franchise just, I don’t know, because they can? This isn’t 1942, they didn’t buy the rights to a novel, just so they could keep the title. Luckily people have seemed to have calmed their tits down, but I wouldn’t know– ’cause yeah, message boards, and Tumblr freak me the hell out, ’cause as you know– tons of crazy talk seems to go down. And trust me, I’m crazy enough as it is.
Shine on you crazy diamonds, Finnick’s not replacing Peeta in the beach scene, I’ll bet my camera on it, her name is Ado Annie, and she can’t say no– except when the memory card is full.
Them There Eyes
This has been a big week for Sam Claflin. We, of course, have obviously known for months that he is playing Finnick Odair. After all, to say we’d been invested in who was going to play this beloved character is an understatement. And the paparazzi photos have already clued us in on his look so we’ve been able to sit with it for a while. But for many the casual fan, the Entertainment Weekly cover was the debut for Sam’s Finnick.
I had taken my copy of the magazine to work, and I was bombarded by opinions on Finnick by my coworkers. Some liked what they saw, some didn’t, most were skeptical. Me, I’d already been pretty much sold on him. But that was a lesson for me in “Everyone’s going to have their opinions.”
I have to hand it to Mr. Claflin. He’s got a lot of pressure on him. We’ve been quoting “Don’t mess this up, or we will kill you” quite a bit this week. Granted, I’ve seen some very supportive tweets to Sam as well, but I can only imagine the tweets from those bound to hate anyone who isn’t their Finnick. But he’s taken it all in stride, keeping a relatively low profile except to thank the Hunger Games fans, support Jennifer and complain about London traffic.
To Mr. Claflin, I feel confident in saying that we are rooting for you, if that’s any consolation. Your dimples just about knocked us out this week, and that’s a good start. We know you feel the pressure, so there’s no point in trying to add to it. We’ve got you for three movies, so we better make sure you survive to film them. You said you’re prepared to do anything, and we’re prepared to show you some support.
We’ve found Finnick Odair, let’s not scare him away
Today I screamed a little bit, but not at anyone personally, just let out a sharp, shocked cry from my mouth. Why? ‘Cause, oh dear god… Plutarch Heavensbee! Yeah, yeah, you can hate on whatever the hell you want, nit-pick everything to within an inch of its life, and just be a complete knob, but today you can’t ruin my joy, because we got our first real, glossy, edited, official photo-stills from our new favorite film we haven’t seen yet, AKA The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Oh, and we also got the first Catching Fire Entertainment Weekly cover of 2013 revealed to us. But obviously that’s not what got us all screaming– nope, t’was the photo-stills. Yep, if you haven’t seen them, and also if you consider anything that shows costuming, hair styling, or pretty much anything from the film as a spoiler, read on at your own risk, ’cause I’m gonna gush all over you, and it won’t be pretty, also the photo-stills will be there, staring at you… judging.
Tonight I had a great meal. It was inspired, well cooked, spicy, but not too spicy, and the drinks were potent enough, but not so much so that I annoyed the people across the aisle. Which brings me to this: I have many gripes about The Hunger Games film adaptation– but this one I think is forefront in my mind, because I’m such a damn big fan of the stuff, and the stuff is food. The Hunger Games is practically a testament to Katniss’ undying obsession and adoration of food. The girl loves food, but sadly that love was left out of the film adaptation, and I don’t know about you, but I’m making a major sad face when I think about this omission of Foodie-ness. Also, can’t forget that Peeta is a baker, i.e. his entire life has been surrounded by the making and selling of food. Kind of telling, right? I think so. Was it touched on very much in the film? Nope.
I think my biggest foodie gripe has to be the missing lamb stew with dried plums. I mean, how many of us wanted to see Jennifer Lawrence practically lapping the Capitol china with her tongue?! I’m sure she wouldn’t have been opposed to this kind of direction, she has had to skin a real dead squirrel on-screen (Winter’s Bone)– licking bone-china would probably have been a welcome reprieve from pulling the guts out of a rodent. Alas, no lamb stew for her to lap up, and lamb stew wasn’t even silver parachuted into the arena for her and Josh to eat, and then spit out between takes, nope– just broth. I think I can count on one hand how often food was actually pictured, and also eaten.
- The rolls Gale traded for on Reaping Day.
- Haymitch’s roll with jam on the Capitol train.
- The rodent Katniss snared, and cooked in the arena whilst alone.
- The “groosling” (which they didn’t even say was groosling! Way to miss out on some handy-dandy world building), Rue and Katniss ate during their 1st real conversation.
- The chicken broth Katniss fed to Peeta in the cave.
Yeah, I’m leaving out all the fancy dinner spreads in the Capitol, as well as the infamous roasted pig, because no one seemed to eat any of it on-screen, just took swallows of their drinks. I think I’m made more sad by this choice to omit the seeming importance of food from the film, and possibly the series– because I know that they did put thought into the prop development of the food. They hired culinary artists to make all the food, and Gary Ross even went through a process of picking out the right way to brand the words “District 11″ onto some seedy bread. That’s right, everyone– Katniss was going to receive bread from the citizens of District 11, but I guess they cut it for time, or for the fact that the people of that district were depicted, and established enough with the added scene of them rioting. Your guess is as good as mine.
No lamb stew, no hot chocolate, no rice dish with Cinna, the only consolation prize is the fact that they have three other films to get across that the hunger in the series title has more of a meaning than survival.
They better not skimp on the Capitol Victory Tour Gala, all’s I’m sayin’! That or I’m going to be singing “Be Our Guest” throughout the whole movie, sorry to my seatmates in advance.
Them There Eyes
Earlier this week some sad news was quietly released. T Bone Burnett is retiring as a music producer, and therefore he is not coming back to produce the soundtrack to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, otherwise known as Soundtrack 2.0. Well, here it’s known as that anyway. I’m sad, and I hope I’m not alone in feeling that way, because while Mr. Burnett is in no way leaving the music industry, the fact that he will no longer be guiding musicians and performers in the same manner anymore, it’s just sad– okay? Hate to say it, ’cause it’s completely clichéd, but we’re not strangers to using those on this site, but– it’s the end of an era. Burnett, if you don’t know already, is an executive producer on the ABC drama Nashville, and that’s taking up pretty much all of his time, and energy as of late. I can’t fault a man for finding a new passion, and it’s also endearing to know that Nashville is a joint project with his wife, which kind of brings a smile to my face. Sorry, married couples who can stay married, and work together, I think they’re pretty special. The questions crashing around my head now, after I stop smiling over how functional Burnett’s relationship with his wife is, is who’s going to take over as the music supervisor/ soundtrack producer on Catching Fire, and is there even going to still be a companion album and/or soundtrack? I’m not a big soundtrack connoisseur, but taking the reigns from someone like T Bone Burnett is probably going to be a head trip for whom ever has the tenacity to take the gig. I can think of only a handful of people who might be able to do the job, and one of them I really hope isn’t being considered.
That person is Alexandra Patsavas, AKA the lady who produced all the soundtracks for The Twilight Saga, The OC, Grey’s Anatomy, as well as the new Nick Hoult film, Warm Bodies. I’m not saying she’s not good at her job, but I seriously fear that if she takes over for T Bone Burnett, the soundtrack will be balls to the walls super feel-y breathy voiced men and women, and pop bands who use too many lasers in their live shows. Also, I really truly believe that severing The Hunger Games franchise from anything and all things Twilight related is a good thing. Burnett already set a tone with Songs From District 12 and Beyond, and I don’t think messing with the formula is a grand idea. Not saying that branching out isn’t a good idea, but– yeah, I have trepidations. Here’s an even sadder tid-bit, all the best soundtracks that I can think of that have come out within the last decade or more– they were produced, or compiled by the director of the films, or the people who produced the albums have moved on. Those soundtracks include Garden State (Zach Braff), Juno (Jason Reitman) Reality Bites, Pump Up The Volume, Trainspotting, and even Romeo & Juliet from 1996, which I believe was also produced by Baz Lurhmann the director, and had two soundtracks. My take on this unexpected new direction this hopeful soundtrack is going to have to take is this, perhaps they should find a record producer who produces singular records for bands and artists, not a compiler of existing music– who then gets one or two songs written or sub-let for a film’s soundtrack.
I have no idea where this project is going, and not knowing is seemingly the default setting here in Hunger Games fan-world.
Them There Eyes
What’s to come, though, are months and months of what could inevitably make it or break it for the movie.
Post production is where they take all the raw footage that was shot and make it into a movie.
So what does Francis Lawrence & Co. have to look forward to while we sit and wait (and wait and wait)?
What gets me about as nervous as thinking about the script itself is how this film is going to be edited. Francis Lawrence’s background is in music videos, which tend to be more cleverly edited than blockbuster films. Lawrence also hasn’t directed many movies so we’ll see.
As far as scoring goes, that comes much later, but I for one am glad that James Newton Howard has more time. I’m looking forward to hearing how he develops and expands upon the themes put in place in The Hunger Games for Catching Fire.
And the effects. We’re hoping for an upgrade as far as effects go, considering many people weren’t all too impressed with the effects in The Hunger Games. It’s likely we’ll get it though, since the budget for the movie is much larger than the first movie’s and they have a lot more time. And Catching Fire needs it. We’re not sure how close the movie version of the arena will be to the book’s description but it is far less natural than the one in The Hunger Games. Josh Hutcherson teased it a little bit in an interview, saying he’s seen renderings of the effects for the way the water will look and that they’re awesome.
So while it seems like such a long wait for Hunger Games fans, remember that the filmmakers are hard at work trying to make a movie that will do the book justice. Time is what they need, and they’ve got it.
And #TrailerWatch begins… now!