Are you guys worried about the phenomenon aspect of this project? The extreme nature of the fan response?
LH: "We love making movies, we got into the business to make movies, and at the end of the day, whether you’re doing a low-budget film or a big-budget film you want it to do well, and you want people to see it. That’s the whole point."
JH: "But you know it could be over ten years. You have that one big hit, and they want to thrust you into that world, but in the end game if you’re actor and you become successful, you become well known. And that’s just part of the business."
One of the most interesting things about the series as a film and as a book is that twenty or thirty years ago the lead character would have been a man. Liam you play the girl at home, and Josh you’re the girl in the field in that equation, is that something you thought about, the role reversal?
LH: "More power to them. I think that’s the appeal of the book. You have this young courageous strong woman who’s doing unbelievable things, and I’m all for it."
JH: "And Jennifer is perfect for this role. She’s such a strong person, and on screen as well. Having a character that powerful – as a woman – is amazing."
What’s it like working with Gary Ross as a director?
JH: "I love Gary."
LH: "He’s amazing. I’ve been a fan of his since 'Pleasantville,' and I love that movie. He’s a great director to work with because he’s very open, and trying everything possible, and getting it from every different angle. He’s energetic, keeps everyone on their toes, and keeps the set alive, just open to your ideas."
JH: "And he’s a talented writer on top of that. Coming in with Suzanne (Collins) to get the script where it needed to be. I think much of the heart and soul of the movie is the script, and if it’s shit, the movie’s going to be shit as well. But he’s able to add in different devices. The book is all narration and he found ways to make it work in the film without it being just exposition."
Does he give you the freedom to improv?
JH: "There was improv but we didn’t need to."
LH: "He’s an open enough person to try, but if it doesn’t work, we move on."
Was there music you used to get in the mindset of your character?
JH: "Sade’s 'No Ordinary Love' (laughs) Music’s a huge part of my life, but I can’t think of anything. I’ve done that before with characters, but I never really did with this. I normally listen to music all day every day. I normally go into interviews and I bring speakers with me to play music softly."
Do you have specific interview music, like Metallica?
JH: "Metallica, Slayer. Nah, something relaxing that keeps my mind in a calm place."
It's probably hard to have perspective on it yet but what do you feel you've taken from the experience so far?
LH: "Every job I do I learn more. Working with an actress like Jennifer, a director like Gary, I learn more again. I learn more with every job, and I’m very thankful for where I am."
JH: "Every experience on this film was so much fun for me. It’s great to work on a movie with such an intense subject and a dramatic storyline and still have fun on set. That’s something I learned. As Liam said, you work with amazing people, like Jennifer, and Woody and Lenny, it’s a great experience."
What was it like to work with Woody?
JH: "He’s so great. He’s one of those guys where sometimes when he’s talking to you you’re not sure if he’s on Earth, but if you listen to what he’s saying, he’s very perceptive and he gets a lot of things. He’s such a good person as well in terms of what he believes in."
[VERY MILD SPOILER BELOW]
Are you glad they eliminated the scene from the book where he throws up on Katniss’s shoes?
JH: "Yeah, it’s a bit much."
LH: "I don’t know, I was looking forward to it (laughs)."
Stay tuned for our continued coverage and let us know what you think of the film when The Hunger Games opens in theaters this Friday, March 23rd.
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