Movies.com recently had a chance to sit down with Liam Hemsworth who talked about how he brought his character, Gale, to life on the big screen. For those of you who have seen the movie how do you think he did?
Movies.com: You have to provide a grounding influence in a world that’s often very fantastical. What if anything did you think about to include to create a juxtaposition between District 12 and the capital?
Liam Hemsworth: The world that District 12 is living in is very realistic – it’s not futuristic in any way. They’re living in depression and they’re living in basically 1900s technology. They’re hunting for food, a lot of them, and trying to get what little money they can from different jobs, but it’s a pretty grim place to live in. I remember when we shot the Reaping scenes, we had three or four hundred extras on set, and all of these young kids and young adults, and the thought I think was in every mind – if this was real, and we really all were standing here waiting for someone’s name to get called out that might be your brother or your sister or your best friend, as an actor it was already all there. It was so strong and powerful, the idea and the theme, that it was easy as an actor to convey that.
Movies.com: How tough is it to balance the expectations of the fans with just making a good movie, even if some of your performance isn’t faithful to maybe the description or their interpretation of the character?
Hemsworth: There was a big physical change; I had to dye my hair, and lose a lot of weight – I was eating a lot less, and for about a month before shooting, I was training a lot, five or six days a week, and trying to strip down as much as I can for the film. I really wanted to get a good sense of feeling hungry in the film, and this character is living in a depression and hunting for food every day and providing for a whole family. So I wanted to get a sense of what that hunger felt like.
Movies.com: Do you just obey the script, or how much do you think about what’s in the books versus that script?
Hemsworth: This script and the book were very, very similar. The script is very true to the book. You get to see a little more of what happens with other characters that you don’t see in the book. I didn’t switch between the two; I read the books and put down the books and kept to the script. But like I said, it didn’t matter – I was forgetting which is which. But I’d like to just keep one thing in my mind, though.
Movies.com: Given where your character goes in the second and third books, can you just be present in your scenes in The Hunger Games, or do you sort of have to telegraph where he goes?
Hemsworth: I read all of the books before shooting, and then I’d just stick one thing in my head – I’d just keep the script in my head, the first thing we were shooting at that point. And I don’t try to think too far ahead at that point; obviously, there are things that you may need to take into account, but for me, the first book and the first movie are very similar, so they kind of became the same thing anyway. But I’d just focus on the script and turn up on set every day and be as present and honest as I can be.
Movies.com: He’s been described as sort of an angry guy. Because he has to be appealing through three films or books, how careful do you have to be about digging into that without alienating audiences?
Hemsworth: He’s essentially a really good guy, and you see moments in the first one where you see the connection Gale and Katniss have; they’ve grown up together and they’re obviously very close and they’re allowing each other to survive every day. But yeah, you see moments when he’s talking about the games, he just doesn’t believe in it and he doesn’t want to be a part of it, and he’s trying to find a way around it and get out of it and away from it so you see those moments of kind of fire inside him, how passionate he is about not siding with that evil.
Movies.com: One of the strengths of the movie is that so much of it is very internal and unspoken. It that a typical acting challenge, or does that change what you have to do to bring the character to life?
Hemsworth: Yeah, I think I’m always a big fan of “less is more,” but the writing in this was so good that it was just there. Gary was always guiding us in the right direction, and as an actor, you obviously have your own vision in your head, and you have to come to a happy medium with the director and what their vision is. I mean, this was great, because I had a great director, and Jennifer was an amazing actress to work opposite who makes it so much easier for me, because all I do is just work off of her. She’s that good and that present that I don’t have to do much. And then also the writing is just that good – the story is so good – that it all came together. It just, it had it all there.
You can read the rest of the interview at Movies.com.