Read our interview with Josh Hutcherson.
The notion of a new movie franchise based around a trilogy of young adult novels may terrify those of you who have been forced to endure four years of Twilight
but The Hunger Games
is a very different proposition.
Based on three books by American author Suzanne Collins
, the story concerns a shattered future world where 12 poor districts are ruled over by the iron fist of the Capitol. As a further system of control, each year the Games are held – a televised event which brings a male and female teen from each district to a dangerous arena where they must fight to the death. Our heroine is young Katniss Everdeen, who starts out as another Capitol sacrifice and ends up being something much more important.
In the film, directed by Pleasantville
helmer Gary Ross
and adapted by himself and author Collins
, Katniss is played by Jennifer Lawrence
– who earned plaudits for her role in 2010’s Winter’s Bone
. She’s the ideal antidote to the anaemic leads we’re used to seeing in teen friendly films and the narrative itself is remarkably harsh, spiralling up to a much larger story as the books progress. We recently finished the final chapter and while it might seem, on paper, that much of the narrative is borrowed from Koushun Takami’s Battle Royale
, the similarities are actually quite minor, particularly as the stories continue.
is joined on screen by Josh Hutcherson
in the pivotal role of Peeta Mellark, who accompanies Katniss into the arena. We recently caught up with Hutcherson
for an interview which we’ll have up shortly, where he talks about how he campaigned for the role. Liam ‘Chris’ brother’ Hemsworth
also appears but the real testament to the quality of the material lies in the quality of the older performers. With names like Donald Sutherland
, Stanley Tucci
, Elizabeth Banks
and Woody Harrelson
(as Haymitch) attached, it’s clear that this isn’t just another teen movie.
was better known as a writer for most of his career, picking up best screenplay Oscar nominations for his debut Big
in 1989 and Dave
in 1994. The Hunger Games
is only his third directorial effort, after the marvellous Pleasantville
in 1998 and 2003s Seabiscuit
, which saw him pick up another two Oscar nods. The Hunger Games
is undoubtedly his biggest film to date and also the start of a potential franchise, with Ross
rumoured to continue directing duties. It was recently confirmed that the series would be split into four films in a move that reflects that of The Twilight Saga
. While the last book is longer than the previous entries, we can’t help seeing this as a way to extend the earnings of the series.
Nevertheless, we’ve got a good feeling about The Hunger Games
. For a start, the raw material of the novels is a step above what we’ve come to expect from the genre and it can’t hurt to have the author and an Oscar nominated screenwriter bringing it to the life. Lawrence
has been in need of a grittier role to recapture the potential of Winter’s Bone
and the rest of the cast is filled with starlets and accomplished veterans. And better still, the marketing campaign is keeping the reality of the Games themselves a secret, with the trailers focussing on elements before the combatants enter the arena. As Josh Hutcherson
says in our interview, “to see the Games you have to buy your ticket to the Games!”
The Hunger Games is in cinemas from the 23rd of March. Check back soon for our interview with star Josh Hutcherson.