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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Elizabeth Banks and Jena Malone interview

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Interview by Rob Carnevale

ELIZABETH Banks and Jena Malone talk about some of their experiences of shooting The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Elizabeth discusses the film’s emotional content and some of her outfits, while Jena reflects on the appeal of the film to her and why its themes resonate with audiences on so many levels. They were speaking at a UK press conference…

Q. Jane, Francis Lawrence said there that with this film we really get to grips with the themes of The Hunger Games. This is a story that takes place in this parallel world, but has lots of nods to our world. TV, politics, government surveillance, reality TV, and much more. Those ideas that Francis mentioned, what do you think it is about them that resonates with audiences?
Jena Malone: I think you really hit it on the head, it’s not just one theme of political uprising. It’s also surveillance, it’s also independence, it’s also figuring out what your voice is, and voicing it. It’s believing in yourself. It’s the idea of being torn between love that exists when you were a young innocent child, and love that exists as you become an adult in the world. As women torn between the two, and finding your own voice between these two choices. There are so many different things, and I think that’s why audiences are so drawn to it. It is so much like real life, it’s not just going and watching a thriller, or a political drama, or a romantic comedy. On all levels, it touches something, and there’s enough questions to open up a discussion for anyone to start.

Q. Elizabeth, this is a very emotional film, how was that to film for you?
Elizabeth Banks: I really cried when I said goodbye to them. I find pride is something that really moves me, always. Like if my parents say they’re proud of me, that moves me more than if they say they love me. I already know they love me, but pride is something you have to earn. I get to actually say that I’m proud of my victors and it really moved me in the moment when we did it.

Q. You mentioned about tearing up in those scenes. Your character is developing more shading, and more depth. Is that something that’s important to you?
Elizabeth Banks: It’s one of the reasons I loved Effie. We all had the opportunity to read all three books before we started the very first movie, so I knew she had a big heart in there. We all knew Effie was going to evolve as a character and go on this journey, and that Katniss is going to go on this journey. One of my favourite things about these two movies back to back is both reaping scenes, it’s the only scene that repeats in both movies. You see the evolution of everybody in that one moment.

The first movie is a young girl who raises her hand for her sister. She seems like a total innocent, and now she stands up there and she’s a warrior ready to go back. Peeta was scared shitless in the first movie, and now he’s a hero who volunteers for Haymitch, and Effie’s devastated and actually aware of the consequences of everything. It’s my favourite scene in both movies.

Q. Jena, what was it about the character that appealed to you?
Jena Malone: So many things, there’s such an interesting arc for everyone. As an actor, to be able to enter into that. For me to have a two part series, but for them to have the three books to really work from. I love the art of restraint as an actor. Going in and not having to play every single colour. And trying to force it into every single moment. But knowing that there’s breadth, and knowing that there’s time to develop things is a gift. Obviously working with Francis was a bonus, and getting the chance to work with such an amazing cast. The list keeps getting better and better, I’d be crazy if I turned it down.

*Q. Elizabeth, does anyone ever try on your wigs or any of your costumes?
Elizabeth Banks: I don’t know what people do after hours! I don’t want to guess, but probably, yes.

Q. What was your reaction when you were presented with a series of costumes for this film? Did you feel they were upping the game with this movie?
Elizabeth Banks: Well, we really have an opportunity with this movie, because we see so much more of the capital. Everybody’s famous now, so in that regard we wanted the excess to be really prevalent. Trish Summerville came into do costumes, and pulled incredible stuff from different designers all over the world. I happened to wear a lot of Alexander McQueen. I personally think her wedding dress is the most fabulous thing in the movie.

Read our review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Read our interview with Jennifer Lawrence

Read our interview with Stanley Tucci and Jeffrey Wright