Actors

Up For the Ride with Passengers

Last week we were raving about Rogue One (and enjoying seeing evidence of the “Everdeen Effect”). Now add Passengers to the list of movies we’re excited for in December. Well, we’ve been psyched for it since the movie was announced. Because Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in a sci-fi space thriller romance movie from the director of The Imitation Game has pretty much everything going for it in our book. Personally, since my favorite movie of all time is Catching Fire and favorite TV show is Parks and Recreation (which starred Pratt), it brings out all my fan hopes and dreams. Which can be a scary thing. So. Much. Pressure.

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But now our excitement level is at the SHOW-US-THAT-TRAILER-NOW-impatient level. Because footage debuted at Cinema-Con last night (warning – link has spoilers that I did not read). The buzz was super-positive.

 

 

 

 

WE CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS. Plus, think of all the fun that’s going to come out of that press tour.

I mean, look at them!

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If you’re wondering when a trailer will be available to the public’s eager eyes, bets are on the week that X-Men: Apocalypse comes out at the end of May.

If we can’t have a Hunger Games movie to look forward to this year, this definitely helps.

JJ

 

 

NOSTALGIA-RAMA: Looking Back At The Hunger Games In 2012

While we’re not the OGs for The Hunger Games fandom and many of our fansite friends predate us, we’ve been around for a while. Victor’s Village was around when The Hunger Games debuted in theaters four years ago today and…

SWEET BABY JESUS! WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?!

How has to already been four years? How are these movies already done? Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were squeeing over the release of the first movie?

We can only say that despite ups and downs, being in this fandom has been an honor and a pleasure. To celebrate, let’s kick it with a few of our favorite geeky fandom moments circa 2012!

1. The Teen Tributes

Today, Theresa from Down With The Capitol reminded us about THE CHART. It filled in as each tribute, most of whom were nameless characters, were announced.

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We watched this thing like a kettle of hawks circling its prey (Fun fact: a flock of hawks is called a kettle!) And we all lost our minds!

Though some actors from later movies were social media accessible, the original tributes were teens fresh into their new roles who were just genuinely as excited about The Hunger Games as we were. They were thrilled to be in it, we were thrilled to see them in it. We all fed off each other. There’s a special place in our fandom-loving hearts for Dayo, Jackie, Jack, Alexander (and his slightly inappropriate fan interactions), Isabelle, Amandla, and all the others. There always will be!

2. Snazzy Sayings

Part of what we loved about the cast in the weren’t afraid of being irreverent as all hell and had zero qualms about it. That included tons of hilarious phrases that the fandom picked up with zeal! For instance, on the premiere day back in 2012, I wrote for the people at the premiere to “Liv it up and stay crispy like a boss.”

And in case you forgot why we “liv it up”…

Our Cato, ladies and gentlemen. I am truly laughing out loud right now. GENUINELY LOLING!

3. Russ Bowen

Oh, Russ! In case you missed it, Russ was an intrepid North Carolina reporter who basically tried to build up his career on getting The Hunger Games scoop before anyone else. He was really good at getting all the news and for a while, we loved him dearly for it. But after a while, Russ dubbed himself the Perez Hilton of The Hunger Games and it became pretty clear that he was more interested in getting recognition for himself than the series. Needless to say, the fandom collectively let Russ go after a while because he forgot who was boss. Maybe he moved on, but frankly, we stopped paying attention so we wouldn’t know!

4. Umami Burger

The cast of the first movie was OBSESSED with this burger joint. Suddenly, fans all over the world knew about the chain that really only exists in California and a few other major American cities. We knew what burger we wanted to order. Fansite friends went there to grab a bite and it was fucking awesome. Screw Subway, THIS was the unofficial restaurant sponsor of The Hunger Games franchise!

5. Backpackgate

Once upon a time, the fandom didn’t know for sure if Katniss’ backpack was orange. And I made the mistake on one of my earlier Hunger Games Fireside Chat appearances of suggesting that it wasn’t a big deal. SO BEGAN A GREAT DEBATE! It was all in good sport and there were lots of points considered. We dubbed it “Backpackgate 2011”… and in the end, it didn’t even matter because the backpack was totally orange.

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Only the straps were black, guys!

6. Panem October

Welcome to the fandom’s first big clash with Lionsgate! Fandom is pretty intuitive, so it’s no major surprise that someone came up with plans for a major interactive Panem-based experience early on, even before movie marketing really began. Naturally, Lionsgate called out their copyright and shut it down. The fans had A LOT TO SAY. Eventually, Panem October did come back, served as an unofficial fan community full o’ fun for a while, then disappeared in the way that many fan-related things do after a while (including official sites.) But seeing the fandom stand up for fanmade creations and Panem October make its return felt like perseverance and victory!

There are so, so many memories of the fandom, but these are the ones that really stick out when we think back to 2012. We couldn’t be more grateful for all of it.

WE’RE NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING!
The Girl With The Pearl

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CONTEST RELAUNCH! Win Your Tickets To The Hunger Games Marathon Event

IT’S TIME! CONTEST RELAUUUUUNCH!

Update: AAAAAAAAND IT’S GONE. SORRY FOLKS! These babies went fast. Congrats to our winners!

Lionsgate will be holding a Hunger Games marathon from 10am to 11pm on March 20th at The Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles. The event will include Hunger Games cast Q&A (mystery guests!), trivia, a green screen booth, treats from Peeta’s bakery, and a costume contest with a reportedly amazing mystery prize!

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BUT THERE IS SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW FIRST.

Ready? You need to be in the Los Angeles area or willing to get there via you own means on March 20th by 10:45am. We can’t get you to Los Angeles. We can’t even get ourselves to Los Angeles. We love you all… but we’re broke.

Now, are you prepared to celebrate the franchise in all its awesomeness? It’s this easy:

Click this link to reserve your tickets, LA-based fans!

But DO IT REALLY REALLY FAST! We only have 5 sets of tickets and these puppies are first come, first serve.

If you don’t get your tickets here, fear not! Several other Hunger Games fansites will be giving away tickets, though we don’t know when or how. Get on social media and keep your eyes peeled, Tributes!

May The Odds… And All That Jazz,
The Girl With The Pearl

UPDATED: Win Your Way Into The Hunger Games LA Marathon Event!

OH HAI! REMEMBER HOW THERE WAS A CONTEST HERE?

BAD NEWS – Some really pathetic “fans” cheated and tried to claim The Hunger Games marathon prize for themselves before we officially launched the contest last night. We weren’t the only site they did it to, either.

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GOOD NEWS – We caught those suckers and invalidated their tickets with extreme prejudice! MUAHAHAHAHA!

For you patient LA-based fans who follow the rules and still want tickets to The Hunger Games Marathon Event, we’ll relaunch the contest later today, but we’re not going to tell you when!

Much love and respect for everyone waiting patiently for their tickets. We’re thrilled to be able to give you another opportunity!

Mockingjay Part 2 Extras Excitement

As caught up as we are in the prospect of old school, never-before-seen footage coming our way in The Hunger Games 4-Film Collection, it’s also pretty damn exciting that we’re getting Mockingjay Part 2 special features for the first time, as well!

Today, we got not one but TWO Mockingjay Part 2 DVD extras to drool over. Observe!

First, check out the story behind Johanna’s bald cap!

We love this. LOVE IT. Why? Because Jena Malone was ready to go all way. She wanted to shave her head for ten months for five scattered days of shooting. But when that was shot down, she went through a pretty grueling bald cap process to get an authentic look. Holy fuck, that is a ride or die kind of chick if I’ve ever seen one!

We’re really glad Johanna was bald. It wasn’t necessary, but it was a stark reminder of the torture the Rebellion members received in Capitol. So bless Francis and Jena for going there, seriously!

Of course, most of these sites are trying to keep their exclusive by refusing to include embeddable video– Get ads on video embeds and get with the times, CraveOnline– so you can click the picture below to watch the second clip about the mutt attack!

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While we admittedly don’t pay THE MOST attention to set design, it’s really cool to see how, even though the scene obviously required special effects, a lot of the shriek-worthy fear we experienced was actually due to a wonderful location and expert lighting. And DAMN was it effective!

There’s always a few humorous gems behind the scenes and sadly those are missing here. But fear not! We’ll devour them and every other moment when the Blu-ray comes!

Featurette Obsessions Are Totally Legit, Right? Right?!
The Girl With The Pearl

That Golden Globes Fiasco

By now, you’ve all heard about it– because no one will shut up about it. Soooo let’s just confront this sucker head on!

In a not-so-surprising twist, Jennifer Lawrence won the Golden Globe for Joy. The movie really wasn’t great, but Jennifer was great in it. She got noticed. The backlash from the hipsters who want to paint her as overrated was inevitable, because HATERS GONNA HATE, AMIRITE?! But then it happened.

The headlines were loud and sheer clickbait, all along the lines of “Jennifer Lawrence scolds foreign reporter”. There were lots of rumors and embellishments surrounding this short interaction. And then the Internet seriously lost its shit.

If you missed it, here’s the full video clip so you have some context.

Let’s start with the rumors. Right after this happened, all people knew is that the journalist has an accent and some sources reported he was using a translation app, making it look like Jennifer poked fun at a man because English wasn’t his first language. Even when we first heard it, accompanied by a ultra-edited version of the video from Variety, we thought “Man… this actually might be pretty bad…” But of course, more details came out, like this:

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O RLY. So it turns out that the media agencies and anti-Jen folks calling her a racist are actually kinda racist themselves for assuming a man with an accent can’t speak English without help from technology. Funny how that works! It turns out the guy was stumbling over his question because he was too busy trying to get photos/video of Jen looking directly at him.

Under the circumstances, we kind of agree with Jen– it was actually pretty rude of the reporter. He only had one question to fire off. He could have held the phone somewhere other than eye level when asking, if that was his only recording device. He clearly let himself get too distracted to ask his question succinctly. From someone with a journalism background who has interviewed actors, there wasn’t a whole lot of professionalism going on there. So why is she a brat for jokingly telling the guy to get out from behind his phone, again?

People were mad about Jen making the “This is the Golden Globes” joke in there, but perhaps people don’t realize the reporter’s folly that likely prompted her to cut her off. He was asking about The Oscars– and we would guess Jen knew that– and that is a HUGE FAUX PAS. Superstition runs high everywhere, even among actors. Discussing the Oscars at the Golden Globes is considered a jinx and just bad form. A lot of actors would blow off that topic.

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We’re not saying Jen handled to situation perfectly. But damn, the lady is human. And automatically jumping to the conclusion that she’s a spoiled brat bullying a foreign man for just trying to do his job is pretty ridiculous. How about instead we try to get all the details instead of biting an actresses head off for asking a guy to interact with her in a way that made her feel comfortable, k?

God Forbid Actors Want To Be Treated Like People!
The Girl With The Pearl

Visualizing Panem Post-Movies

Now that the entire Hunger Games series has been adapted to film, I’ve been taking stock in how these movies have impacted how I think about the book series. I’ll come right out with it and say it – while I LOVE SO MUCH about the movies, they will never top the books for me. There are some creative choices in the movies that I will adamantly reject forever and try to forget (mainly some parts of The Hunger Games movie and some scenes from the last 25 minutes of Mockingjay Part 2). Hmm, that sounds like fodder for a post, but for a later date.

On the other hand, there are some parts of these movies where everything fell into place and just was so RIGHT that it’s taken over how I visualize certain characters or scenes when I now re-read the books.

Right from the Start: Snow and Coin

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From first casting announcements of both Donald Sutherland and Julianne Moore, I felt really good about how these characters would translate to screen. They look the part and inhabit those roles in a way that fits so well with how I’ve imagined the characters. Donald Sutherland owns Snow so much for me now that I get chills when hearing his voiceover work on orange juice or airline commercials. President Snow wants me to drink orange juice. Yes, sir! I remember being surprised how sympathetic Coin was in Mockingjay Part 1, but it seemed very right for the progression of the character, and how she would have been without the framing of Katniss’s “unreliable narrator” perspective.

Oh. My. Finnick

Finnick cfFor those around the fandom in Catching Fire casting days, you remember what a BIG FREAKING DEAL this was. Lots of names thrown around to play Finnick. Lots of fan favorites. And Sam Claflin, a relative unknown (outside of roles in Snow White & the Huntsman and a Pirates of the Caribbean movie) was chosen. We had time to “get to know him” pre-CF. He was delightful on Twitter. Set photos leaked that were very promising. There was that Capitol Portrait with the pirate look. And then we saw him in the movie and YAY, IT WORKED.  He was Finnick. He is how I see Finnick now. Bravo.

Awesome Surprises From Smaller Roles: Paylor and Jackson

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One of the great, wonderful surprises of the Mockingjay movies was the development of these two characters, who I honestly never paid much attention to, at least during my first reading of the books. So Patina Miller and Michelle Forbes had the benefit of a cleaner slate to build these characters. And build them they did. They project authentic power and leadership so well that you don’t question the news that Paylor will be president, or Jackson’s role in Squad 451 in the slightest. When I re-read Mockingjay, I see those actresses in full costume. They ARE those characters now for me, and it’s enriched the reading experience.

An Interesting Mix: Effie and Haymitch

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The overly bright, colorful world of the Capitol in Suzanne Collins books is intentional. You have to admit though, that the Candy-Land-on-acid-type buildings would have been too distracting to deal with on screen so the “Capitol color” is restricted mostly to the people, not buildings. But with the costume, makeup, and hair styling of Effie, the team really nailed it, and Elizabeth Banks surely took charge of making that character her own. I think the decision to add Effie to District 13 was a good decision for Mockingjay Part 1, but still think Book!Effie follows a more realistic path for that character. I love how Elizabeth Banks gave the character more heart, but I don’t see Effie really changing that dramatically so quickly. In terms of how I visualize the character though, it’s all Elizabeth Banks in her full Capitol glory. Kudos to her and the design team for the creativity and transformation.

Then we come to Haymitch, who I always though of as more “Seam” in looks with darker hair and complexion, more damaged, more dirty, more foul, and much more drunk than we see in the movies. Regrettably, the movies give us a PG-version of Haymitch. Sure, you see him drinking, and his mockery and wit is there, but he’s nowhere near the abrasive drunk he is in the books.  I would have loved to see Woody Harrelson given full reign to make the character more rough. All of that being said, when I read the books, my mind sees Woody Harrelson and that blond wig. Somehow, he’s convinced my brain. He is Haymitch. The mind does what it wants. It’s interesting that this happened, considering this next part.

The Big Three: Love You Guys SO MUCH, but…

What about Katniss, Peeta and Gale? Jennifer Lawrence did a phenomenal job with Katniss. She grabbed hold of that character and owned the performance throughout the four movies. So much so that her voice is very much Katniss’s voice to me. I feel the same way about Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth (well at least 90% for Liam, but he got better as the movies went along). For all the wonderful ways they inhabited these roles, my mind still can’t (or won’t) adapt. The way I perceive these three in my mind’s eye when reading the books is much different. The cast is perhaps too physically beautiful, too Hollywood, and for Katniss and Gale, yes, too much of northwestern European ancestry to cancel out how I’ve always imagined the three. It’s nothing against the actors, because those are things they can’t change and these were movies with certain expectations of super-Hollywood-esque attractiveness from the leads.  Katniss and Peeta especially remain murky visual concepts in my head, and I’m fine with that. It’s probably better that way for the two characters who I love the most.

Movies – they mess with your head in unexpected ways.

JJ

 

Kissing Co-Stars

Just when the fandom beings to quiet down and we admittedly turned our attentions elsewhere– namely, Star Wars and basically every major 2016 movie that released big advertising in front of Star Wars– leave it to Jennifer Lawrence to get all The Hunger Games fans riled up again!

If you were in the fandom back in the early days of the movie production, you probably remember how the trashy magazine rumors about the torrid love triangle between Jennifer, Josh, and Liam, despite the fact that at least two of the three were in other relationships at the time. Even through Catching Fire, the hookup rumors never totally faded. Meanwhile, fans all rolled their eyes and said “Urgh, they’re all just really good friends! Why does the media have to be like that?! GAWD!

Well, we were right and we were wrong. Observe!

Now, before you get on the “Lyke OMG they’re totes together!” train that some fangirls immediately ran to, remember that no, they’re probably not. Sure, everyone has talked about how Liam has been decidedly more light-hearted and active in the final round of promotions, perhaps even a little flirtatious, depending on who you talk to. But that doesn’t mean anything.

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Here’s the thing about being in your teens and 20s– you have a core group of friends, probably people you grew up with like Jen said. These groups are damn near incestuous. Because these like-minded people are spending all their time together, they grow very close. Friends flirt with each other. They date people their other friends have dated. And yeah, occasionally, friends who aren’t planning to be in a relationship make out. Essentially, shit happens.

The media outlets are blowing this as if Jen and Liam have been secretly banging for months. AND MAYBE THEY HAVE. Who cares?! But all she admitted to was a kiss, folks, so don’t lose your mind quite yet. Lots of people kiss which later amounts to nothing. Speculation upon speculation upon speculation!

Frankly, we could care less with what’s goin’ on between these two. C’est la vie! We’re more thrilled about Jen’s reaction to being asked about Justin Bieber:

"That's a hard no."

“That’s A Hard No.”
The Girl With The Pearl

The Best “Presents” of the Past Year

‘Tis the season of giving, and it looks like many fans got some nice Hunger Games-related presents from friends and family. Tim Palen’s book has inevitably had a spike in sales thanks to the holiday season, along with the adorable Funko Pops, posters, pins and other merch. It makes us think about all the other Panem “presents” we got this year.  The top one, is obviously the actual Mockingjay Part 2 movie, but there was more.  Yes, there definitely were days where Lionsgate played GOOD Santa. Such beautiful days they were.

The release of the Mockingjay Part 1 Peeta/Snow Deleted Scene

We really wanted to see some of the behind the scenes world of the Capitol in Mockingjay Part 1, but we didn’t get much. Happily, there was this deleted scene between Peeta and Snow that was released on the eve of the Digital HD release.

 

After the Blu-Ray release, Lionsgate-Santa was pretty stingy for a while. There was that “trailer” with the logo animation and voiceover which played with Insurgent, but there wasn’t much in the fandom to cheer about until the summer.

 

Katniss chillin on Snow’s throne.

Suddenly we were psyched for the movie again when we got this amazing poster (my personal fave from the Mockingjay Part 2 campaign).

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A fabulous teaser trailer that reminded us again how much we love these movies.

 

After talking and talking about it for months on end, the Hunger Games Exhibition opened. And it was really cool. You just had to get your butt to New York to see it. (Though next year, San Francisco is the lucky host).

On the heels of the Exhibition opening came those cool character posters.

And the Comic Con Panel.

Yes, June and July were very good months in the fandom. Matched only by the month of November with all those premieres. Lots of premieres. And “special screenings“. So many premieres yet we still wanted more.

We certainly have our meltdown moments when things just make us very unhappy, but there’s been a lot of great stuff too. So in this season of reflection, those were the presents that stood out the most.

Freaking out with all of you as we received these cool presents, yes, that’s the good stuff.

JJ

Gale Finds Redemption Fighting Aliens

We’re looking forward to seeing the final result of Jennifer Lawrence’s post-Hunger Games activities with Joy next week. We also got a small glimpse of what Liam Hemsworth has been working on when the Independence Day Resurgence trailer came out over the weekend.
Yes, this shot brought us back to memories of solider Gale all over again (with all the good and bad connotations).

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And then he GOES TO SPACE (from the other promotional materials it looks like there is a moon base) and does presumably heroic stuff to save us all from aliens.

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We really don’t know much of anything else about the character he plays, but with Mockingjay Part 2 still so fresh in our minds, it’s fun to play with alternate post-Mockingjay timelines using these shots as inspiration.

Panem is rebuilding from the war when an ominous threat from the skies emerges above the Capitol. Gale Hawthorne, a rising military officer in District 2, haunted by his past, volunteers for a mission headed by an international coalition (yes, international isolation was so bad at this point that only destructive aliens could bring us together). He travels to the moon to study the enemy more closely.  They discover these “visitors” truly are on a mission of planetary destruction. He studies the tactics of the aliens and realizes that they always retrieve their downed craft as a means of interstellar recycling.  It’s then that he discovers the only way to defeat them…. delayed explosion bombs. He’s tortured by the memories. It went so horribly wrong once. It could go wrong again. When will the fighting stop???

Despite the guilt and the memories he knows this is the only way to save the planet. They move forward with the plan. It works. All the aliens go boom. Gale Hawthorne is able to find some solace, finally.

Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch remain in the isolation of District 12, completely unaware that any of this is going on.

Hmm, I think I’d rather just see Liam play this new character in IDR after all.

 

Bright side, I think I just killed a terrible THG sequel idea!

JJ