Do I have to reiterate that there’s nothing to do with the series this site is focused around, that has been released within the last several hours, or days that warrants a 1000 word dissection, or take down piece written about it? Well, that’s the case today, and probably tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, so what’s there to tell y’all about. JJ covered a myriad of other media material that might strike your fancy, I’d start there if you’re so inclined. But if you’re not, how about you try this one on for size.
Have you ever heard of the actor/ producer/ director Milo Ventimiglia? Yes, his last name is a mouthful and a half, but his face, and voice should be more recognizable to those that have been paying attention to several loved, and lost TV series’ of the last decade. Okay, okay, Milo’s best known for his roles on Gilmore Girls, and the Tim Kring superhero series Heroes. Yep, Jess Mariano, and Peter Petrelli– loved, and lost– am I right? Anyway, Milo’s been working pretty hard on behind the scenes career stuff for the last several years, built a production company, cultivated some interesting projects, and this last year one of those projects came to fruition on the cable channel Crackle. I know, I’ve never heard of it either, but talk gets around especially if you’re paying attention to Twitter feeds, and general Internet chatter. The project is called Chosen, and if you’re strong of will, heart, and a lover of good writing, performance, production design, and cinematography, it’s right up your alley. The premise is this: Average people are seemingly randomly selected, and are inducted into “The Game”. You’re inducted without invitation by receiving an innocuous, finely crafted wooden box usually left on your front door step, at your place of work, or in your car. You open it, ’cause why not?– inside the box is a photo of a person you’ve likely never met with their name, and a time stamp and date that hasn’t happened yet, along with the photo as well is an un registered firearm, and the game is on just like that. But what is the game? Easy peasy, you’re every move is being watched, and if you don’t kill who’s in that photo, someone you care about is going to be in grave danger, oh– also people are trying to kill you now too! Hey, does that sound familiar to anyone? Anyone at all? Yeah, of course it does, ’cause it’s tres Hunger Games-y! Before anyone calls foul on me though, I’m gonna state it loud and clear, Chosen is not a rip-off of The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins does not hold the patent on the concept of Kill or Be Killed, true fact– ’cause I think cave men may have coined that one, or animals– not a former TV writer from Connecticut. Chosen is fast paced, intensely acted, and an acute examination on the limits human beings go to do survive, and protect loved ones. Milo plays the initial lead role in the series, his character is propelled swiftly from “what the hell is going on?” to “am I a man, or an animal?” Much like The Hunger Games, the characters on Chosen are put in the most impossible of situations, however– instead of the stories taking place in a far distant future in a post apocalyptic world, it takes place right now, and the audience instead of being an entire nation who unequally see the production as entertainment, and a punishment– the audience is a select, and anonymous über class of sickos who have become bored with the fast life of sex, drugs, buying expensive shit, and traveling to exotic locales. Nope, instead, because productive hobbies are so passe, they watch random, desperate people kill strangers, and sometimes not strangers, because “ha ha ha, isn’t this the best!?”
And you know what? It kind of is, because the show’s awesome, and you should watch it. However be forewarned, it’s no where near PG-13 at all, it’s R to the nth degree. Even better though, is spotting actors in it who’s careers we may have all thought had gone in completely different directions, including none other than Rider Strong, Chad Michael Murray, Rose McGowan, Brandon Routh, and a Catching Fire cast member himself– Patrick St. Esprit.
Them There Eyes
Robert Knepper doesn’t know anything about the character he’s playing in Mockingjay: Part 1, and Mockingjay: Part 2, not his name, not his background– okay, maybe he knows a bit about the background, or at least a teeny-tiny-tid-bit. Other than that, Bob knows nil, zilch, nada! Um, and Bob would be Robert Knepper by the way, I’ve decided that since I’ve been a fan of his since 2005, that I’m allowed to call him by a nick-name, ’cause I’m cool like that, and a little bit self entitled, and all that jazz. Wait, there are other things things that Bob knows, like how to ski, and roller blade, but that’s not really something he’ll likely need to do on his job! He does however know one important factoid. He knows that in April he’ll be flying to Paris, France to partake of filming the scenes in which he will be portraying the character he knows only crumbs about! Yea verily, we now know that they’ll be filming in Paris, France! Now come the questions: Why Paris, and what in Paris?
Interiors? Paris is home to some of the most fashionable, and some of the oldest, and still working urban homes, restaurants, and other establishments. And as an interior design dork, the prospect of the Mockingjay films taking advantage of the artistic, and diverse array of interiors the City of Lights has on offer makes me giddy with delight. And
then (yes there’s more), Paris is one of the first cities to utilize the concept of urban planning in the world. Say thank you Napoleon III! “Thank you Napoleon III!” Or, actually let’s thank the real mind behind the planning, “Merci, Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann!” And what comes with the amazing that is the planned lay-out of the vast city of Paris? Um, well… a striking resemblance to the fictional Capitol in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy. Booya! Location shooting is always so much more authentic than when sets are built from scratch, plus I think it makes the cast and crew more happy, because they get better food like 99% of the time. The jet lag sucks though!
Who cares, they’re going to freakin’ France!
Them There Eyes
Coriolanus Snow, Coriolanus Snow, Coriolanus Snow. See, I wrote it out three times, because maybe he’s like Beetlejuice, and he’ll magically appear in my living room spouting calm, cool, and collected barbs of hatred? I don’t see that happening any time soon, so alas I will have to suffice with other Coriolanus’. Tonight I went and saw the National Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus starring none other than Tom Hiddleston, yep Loki from the Marvel films. I’m pleased to announce that Tom was formidable, present, and totally worthy of all the praise that’s been lavished upon him. He is truly a gifted actor, however truth be told– I only made it through an hour and a half of the production.
Aye there’s the rub. See, while I am a fan of Shakespeare, and all its rich, and splendid language, I however am not a fan of near continuous shouting. Bulging veins in Tom’s forehead are greatly welcomed, heaving chests too, Tom standing on
stage stripping to the waist and then screaming in pain as a stream of water falls on his head, clearing his face, arms, and chest of a red mask of blood he’d been sporting for several long, sticky minutes, hell the fact that he could carry off the costume they put him in is a feat in my humble, and mild opinion (skinny grey jeans, black mid calf lace-up combat boots, light green Henley, brownish red leather wrist guards/ cuffs, black leather fingerless gloves, and a vest/ body armor made of tough chocolate-brown leather– cheeky grin was just extra). However, here’s another truth for the bucket, I’m kinda sorta painfully ignorant where it comes to the story and/or play about Caisus Martius, later named Coriolanus after a battle he fights brutally at Corioles. Ah ha! Not as ignorant as I thought! So sadly I came to the play tonight fully open, and fully hoping I’d come away with material that could be used in this article you’re reading right now. Um, well– yeah, not so much.
I get why Suzanne Collins named the foul dictator of her made-up country, Coriolanus. That is what I got in an hour and half of simultaneously lusting after Hiddleston, and not exactly knowing why everyone wanted the truly un-political beast he was portraying, to become one of his societies top politicians. Both are brutes, however one in a more reserved, calculating, and scarily silent way, the other will get down in the muck, and the grit, and fight steel to steel with his foe. Both have little to no respect for the common man as well, they feel above them, entitled even, superior, supermen. However tact is where
Coriolanus Snow and Caisus Martius Coriolanus seem to diverge the most, sure they share a name and several personality traits. But Caisus Martius cannot quell a crowd, cannot lower himself to smile and nod, and interact freely and openly with his fellow citizens without insulting them in the process of begging their approval. Well, neither can Snow, but at least he knows that a smile, and putting on parties, and serving amazing food, and masking his sick blood disease from the world is a better way to go than calling out the masses as less than, plebeians, and minnows. In the end I came away with one thought– some day soon I hope to see Tom Hiddleston and Donald Sutherland in a feature together, preferably nothing based on a comic book. And a second thought– I could watch Tom Hiddleston scream whilst having a shower for hours– and I don’t care how perv-y that sounds.
Aptly named Miss Collins– aptly named.
Them There Eyes
Suzanne Collins has been quoted saying that one of her initial inspirations for The Hunger Games, was an innocuous, and very common time wasting moment in her life in the early 2000s, when she was caught channel surfing on her TV. She switched back and forth, and noticed a strange, and disconcerting, as well as disturbing trend. On one channel she’d see Iraq War footage, guns blazing, coffins being wheeled out of giant planes onto airport runways, and sometimes battle footage– and sandwiched between the stark reality of war she saw reality TV programs where people played head games in uncomfortable tropical conditions to win a lot of money, a complete disconnect from the blood, and the smoke, and the death of reality. And that’s when it came to her, what if reality TV went so far that instead of the game being make-believe like it is on series’ like Survivor, what if it was real?
Years later the trilogy is complete, and now the last installment of it is being put to film. Mockingjay is becoming a reality though, but not in the way we’d all like to think whilst sitting back in our comfortable homes. Today three major socially changing events are continuing to unfold. Kiev, Ukraine is burning, and shaking in protest to their pro-Russian government leaders. The internet, print news, radio news, and broadcast news are buzzing with the flames, and the angry, desperate faces and voices of the opposition. West of Ukraine an ongoing civil war has been raging in the country of Syria. People are starving, people are dying in their homes, and on the street as they forage for what ever they can find, and there’s no end in sight, even as leaders on opposing sides of the conflict are having so-called “peace talks”, in Geneva, Switzerland– thousands of miles removed from the mess back home. The talks aren’t working though, at least that’s what I keep hearing over and over again, and the people of Syria are still desperate, starving, and dying. To the east of both Ukraine and Syria is Thailand in Southeast Asia, people continue to take to the streets protesting their government calling their electoral system a sham– police officers are dragging every day, normal citizens away– and tourists still meander the streets of the capitol city of Bangkok. Suzanne Collins published Mockingjay in 2010, but the inspiration could be what’s plastering our TVs, Internet news feeds, and our broadcast news programs right now. We don’t need to wait and see how well Mockingjay is put to film, to see how well the scenes of Katniss and Squad 451 storming the streets of The Capitol– we just have to pay attention to what’s happening to our fellow human beings right now.
Them There Eyes
Thank you for being you, Suzanne Collins! For writing The Hunger Games series, of course, but also for allowing it to be loved for what it is.
Yes, we’ve talked about how we wished you were more actively involved in the fandom and that still stands. But at the same time, your lack of chatter regarding the series helps maintain the mystery and the purity and just recently, we’ve realized just how much we appreciate that!
As you’ve probably heard, JK Rowling recently put the Harry Potter fandom in an absolute tizzy when she recently described Ron and Hermione, one of the most popular relationships in literature, as “wish fulfillment” and a stubborn choice to stick to her original plans for the series even though it was “not for reasons of credibility”. It doesn’t help that these quotes have been sensationalized by media sources saying she regrets writing the relationship and that Hermione should have ended up with Harry (which would directly contradict many of her earlier interviews and was actually implied by Emma Watson, not JKR, during the interview in question.) Unfortunately, it was super easy for the media to imply all these things because JKR sliced that can of worms wide open, seven freaking years after the end of the series. Fans who understand exactly why Ron and Hermione worked as a couple (like us!) are outraged and Harry/Hermione shippers, would Jo once playful agreed were delusional for ignoring “anvil-sized hints” to the contrary, are simultaneously rejoicing and demanding an apology. Despite the full interview explaining the situation with a little more depth to show JKR is not anti-R/Hr and the fact that none if this changes the ending to the Harry Potter books or movies, the whole fandom is a complete clusterfuck.
Now imagine if Suzanne Collins did something similar? What if several years from now, she tells the media that in hindsight, Katniss probably should have ended up with Gale. Because they came from the same type of background and they presented each other with fewer challenges to see the world differently than they already did. That it just would have made more sense if she stuck with the totally stagnant cliche in which the hero falls for their best friend, suggesting that was the more credible option than what her intuition originally convinced her to write.
We’re pretty sure we’d rip all our hair out.
Relationships are not the only thing this could happen with, of course. New details on Panem’s infrastructure? The actual names of Katniss and Peeta’s children? Suzanne’s doubts about killing so-and-so or the severity of so-and-so’s attitude in Chapter X? Even these minor things would drive this fandom crazy!
Do we want to know every single detail, even the ones we don’t need? Sure! Do we need them? Prooooobably not! Sometimes it is better to wonder than hear all the answers and revelations, because as JK Rowling has proven– all the answers and the revelations can certainly take away from the magic and the mystery.
Live and let live (in a fictional plane of existence as originally concluded at the end of the final book.)
The Rest Is Up To Fan Fiction,
The Girl With The Pearl
Mockingjay was published August 10th, 2010, that’s almost four years this coming August. Unfortunately since that August in 2010, Suzanne Collins the authoress of The Hunger Games Trilogy has not published anything of any great note. True, she wrote the copy for the picture book Year of the Jungle, based upon— erm I’m just going to admit now, I haven’t read it. What can I say, I only re-read picture books
that were part of my childhood, and true to form I have a stack of Angelina Ballerina books, and a bunch of Babar books in French no less, as staples in my collection. And no, French is not something I regularly read. All of this is beside the point, which is this– Suzanne Collins, really, really, really, really needs to publish something new of substantial length, and of social note… like right now. It doesn’t even have to top The Hunger Games, because I think we all know rationally that that’s something that’s almost impossible to do, so hopefully Ms. Collins knows that her best bet is to go a totally different direction where it comes to narrative style, subject matter, protagonists, and might I also add um, well, targeted demographics? Yep, I think Ms. Collins should take the leap and write straight up fiction, not Young Adult, not children’s lit, like Year of the Jungle, but fiction with no specific demographic, because believe it or not– if you’re 12 years old you can go to the fiction section of the public library and read those books too. You may not be able to check all of them out, but you sure as hell can read them! How do I know this? Um, I did it, and I’m okay– swear to god.
Knowing Ms. Collins proclivity for creating odd worlds, I’d be open to her reaching into the amazing stores of her brain, and inventing a new world for readers to traipse about, and possibly cry over once the novel, or novel series finishes out. I never read The Underland Chronicles, I’ve also never really had a desire too, but like I said above– she’s gotta go another direction! No looking back! No talking animals, no impossible teenage girls to guide the reader, just new, all new all the time! Hell, write a novel from the point of view of a 40 something year old woman, who’s a successful novelist, who’s trying to traverse a new life that she never saw happening, but it did– and now fame is just un-normal normalcy, where people ask for your autograph at the supermarket, or the pharmacy when you’re buying laxatives, or lube, or both! Write the saying, “write what you know.” That’s what Suzanne Collins knows, and you better believe that her story is amazing in and of its self.
New novel penned by Suzanne Collins coming… whenever it happens! Next week?
Them There Eyes
I gasped. I’m serious, when I read the news of Robert Knepper being cast in Mockingjay Part 1 and 2, I sat bolt upright, and I gasped like Lizzy Caplan’s character waking up in Bachelorette. Ah yes, and then I think I cried a little. Okay, I squeezed out maybe two tears, and then I calmed down– maaaaaybeee.
Little FYI, Robert Knepper is an amazing actor. Honest to god he is one of the best, unsung, supporting actors that’s been working their way through Hollywood for the last twenty + years. As a die-hard fan of Prison Break (the series that most people know him for), where he sank his teeth into one of the creepiest, most despicable characters ever written for television– I’m just gonna come out and say with self-proclaimed authority that the role of Antonius, whom many are speculating is quite possibly Peeta and Johanna’s torturer– is in the best hands
possible. At this time however, the only information we have about the role is his name, Antonius, and his job title, Minister to the President, or something akin to that. Ahem, if you’re a fan of the novels written by Suzanne Collins though, you have likely surmised that Antonius is a newly invented character that will be exclusive only to the films, unless Miss Collins is willing to go back and write in new characters for an anniversary edition in say, 2017. Also, the invention of Antonius means they’re branching out from canon.
To me adding new characters is a great idea, granted others may piss and moan that if they want to add new blood to the film series, why not include some of the original, and somewhat neglected, or omitted characters from the novels– like Hazelle Hawthorne, or Madge Undersee. Welp, because Madge is now superfluous, and who knows maybe Hazelle will show up in District 13 along with Poppy, and Vic, and there was another, right? Like the fleshing out of President Snow’s granddaughter in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, as well as the fleshing out of both Seneca Crane, and Plutarch Heavensbee, from a film making perspective the addition of more Capitol characters that are close to the president makes sense plot development wise, as well as character development wise. In the novels Snow is quite possibly one of the most ephemeral characters, we know we should hate him, but even when he flits into a scene and scares the shit out of Katniss, we’re still a bit perplexed, and also kind of, sort of yearning to know more about this creepy, old man. Therefore fleshing out, or in the case of Antonius, inventing and adding new characters for Snow to interact with– makes Snow more real, more menacing, not to mention let’s us enjoy the amazingness that is Donald Sutherland more and more.
Any who, Bob Knepper, I call him Bob because I’m weird, I’ve been a fan of his for 10 years, and also it’s what he goes by. Bob’s a welcome, and should be a celebrated addition to The Hunger Games family. Kindly go check out his work in Prison Break, you will not be sorry! Or if you’re willing check him out on the new Frank Darabont series Mob City, opposite Milo Ventimiglia, come to think of it he was also on Heroes opposite Milo, and then do try out the critically acclaimed defunct HBO series Carnivàle.
Huzzah, yea virally!
Them There Eyes
A few months ago our very own Girl With The Pearl published this article here, and true to form, and/or the nature and purpose of this site, it was written entirely in humor. Today though the hypothesis has become a little, or a lot less of a silly, flippant idea– nope, now it may prove to be an honest to god real thing. There are a few things that The Hunger Games fandom have had to endure over the last several years, one of those things has most definitely been the unadulterated commercialization of the series. Sure, we know the series is successful, we don’t begrudge that, however sometimes I think we can all agree that the money-making schemes that use The Hunger Games as its draw have gone to places that don’t make a lot of us happy, or even comfortable. The Girl With The Pearl doesn’t like Trish Summerville’s partnership with Net-A-Porter and the Capitol Couture line, and I do, so even staff writers on the same site don’t agree on things, but I think today we can all resoundingly agree that the news of Lionsgate seriously considering building a theme park, or theme park ride around The Hunger Games is an extremely ill conceived of venture and idea.
Panem is not a happy place, this is why The Hunger Games trilogy is called Dystopian. So I’m just entirely confused as to how, or why anyone would want to walk through a park, or sit on a ride that glorifies the dystopic world that Suzanne Collins created. The Hunger Games trilogy is not Harry Potter, which was kind always a theme park waiting to happen if you think about it, I mean Diagon Alley was straight out of Dickens, and Hogwarts already looked like Shakespeare and Poe got drunk, and decided to go on a turn about The Haunted Mansion, and killed a few people along the way. In other words, the best time ever!
The Hunger Games has happy moments don’t get me wrong, but come on– those moments aren’t magical, you can’t gloss over the pain, there’s no giant spider named Aragog, and the horrors, you can’t build a movie theme park or ride, around a world that quite literally locks people up, whips them, starves children, forces children to fight to the death, and televises it! That’s just, well– insane, socially irresponsible, and um– sick. Sure, in a twisted sense this is all turning out to potentially be art imitating art, because Suzanne Collins did write that Capitol citizens love visiting arenas from past Hunger Games whilst on expensive package vacations, but that still doesn’t justify the as yet to be defined concept behind this “ride” or “park.” I’ve heard some ideas that it’s going to be something along the lines of Star Tours, the Star Wars ride that’s been running at Disney parks for decades, or like The Back to the Future Ride that has also been running for decades as well. But, those films don’t quite go to the same dark places as The Hunger Games– frankly comparison wise, those film franchises are a lot more tame. Sure, Star Wars has an empire ruling a galaxy, but you sure as hell don’t see Darth Vader killing kids on TV and selling, and packaging it as the entertainment highlight of the year. The galaxy in Star Wars wasn’t even
informed that an entire planet was destroyed to get information out of a scared girl, and Snow totally did the same thing– and used it for propaganda purposes later on. I don’t even know what could be plucked from The Hunger Games and condensed into a ride? What, the ride to the Capitol? It’s not exactly exciting, unless they want to throw in some intense imagery, evoking PTSD like feelings, which only masochists and sadists would be into.
There are some weird theme parks out there, I have to admit that. Like the Bible theme park in Florida, or a Christian evangelical museum where animatronic dinosaurs carry Jesus around, or something. And then there’s Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, which I don’t even like putting into the same category as the Christian themed things, ’cause yeah– dinosaurs did not carry humans around, not even Jesus. So, Powers That Be, please don’t make light of The Hunger Games, you can sell us clothes, and pins, and albums of music– but a theme park or ride based in a series about trauma, starvation, social upheaval, oppression, violence, oh and love– it’s not the best idea you’ve had, and it’s highly recommended that you reconsider.
I do kind of want to see Johanna Mason on a dinosaur.
Them There Eyes
I’m pretty up on current events, I watch both the local and the national news, I have the CNN app on my phone, I follow several news outlets on Twitter, and I listen to NPR, the BBC, and PRI almost daily, because I spend an unfortunate amount of time in my car. So, when I was making dinner for myself this evening (baked chicken, and green beans if you’re at all curious), and I heard this story being presented on CBS News’ evening broadcast, I stopped what I was doing, stood there in my kitchen and possibly said out loud something akin to, “you have got to be fucking with me?”
See, if you’re unwilling to click on the link above, this is the gist: professional athletes are or could now go public. If you don’t know what that means, this is what it means, professional athletes can now be considered like corporations or businesses that have stock options and the like, i.e. professional athletes can now be bought off in pieces– just like Tributes, or Victors. Sure pro athletes have seemingly always been sponsored by big corporations, think Tiger Woods and his Nike endorsement, or Shaun White with his
Burton endorsement. But, this is different, now you can buy shares in a specific athlete, and not have them shill for your company– because the shareholder can for all intents and purposes be your friendly high school gym teacher who happens to also like to trade in stocks. I’m both intrigued by this concept, and totally freaked out by it at the same time, because like what I said above, this makes our professional athletes seem even more like the Tributes from The Hunger Games. It also makes them seem even more like the gladiators of ancient Rome, whom Suzanne Collins was partially inspired by in the writing of The Hunger Games trilogy. Gladiators were commodities, just like Tributes and Victors, just like professional athletes are today, and they were sponsored usually by rich Roman citizens, supplying them with armor, food, and worldly pleasures. So, to me at least we as a society are one step closer to The Hunger Games not being a figment of a nice lady from Connecticut’s imagination. Go us!
I have the uncanny urge to rewatch Rome.
Them There Eyes