I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview both Nicolas Michaud and George A. Dunn, the editors of the book The Hunger Games and Philosophy: a Critique of Pure Treason. Both George and Nicolas also contributed their own chapters to the book, and offered some fascinating insights into their thoughts on Panem, the Capitol, and The Hunger Games series in general. I highly recommend taking the time to read their thoughts. Below is my interview with George A. Dunn. (Warning, it does contain spoilers if you have not read the entire series!)
If you had to summarize what the book says about The Hunger Games trilogy in only a few sentences, what would it be?
George: That’s a tough one, but how about this? The Hunger Games trilogy isn’t only about an extraordinary teenager who volunteers to enter an arena death match in order to save her sister and ends up sparking a rebellion that topples a tyrannical regime. It’s also about the meaning and significance of art, entertainment, music, morality, luck, suffering, gifts, family, science, love, gender, authenticity, identity, warfare, rationality, virtue, justice, fashion, education, and human dignity. The Hunger Games and Philosophy explores all those themes and shows how the Hunger Games trilogy can help us to think about them and their importance in our lives.
Is there one book of The Hunger Games trilogy in particular that you really love because of the philosophical principles behind it?
George: I love all the books. Every one of them is exceptionally rich in philosophical themes. But I have to admit that there’s something about the ending of the last book, Mockingjay, that really struck a chord with me. Of all the books, it doles out some of the greatest horrors, but at the same time it offers a fragile but still very real hope that many of the evils of this world can be overcome. That hope resides in Katniss and Peeta’s two children, who play in a meadow that they don’t realize is a graveyard. Early in the story, Katniss confides to Gale that she never wants to bring children into the world. She doesn’t want to produce more little workers and potential tributes to feed Panem’s cruel engine of evil. That she changes her mind strikes me as a testament to hope. Katniss will never again be entirely whole after the horrors she’s endured in the arena and the rebellion—and I’m not just talking about the terrible things that have happened to her, but, even worse, the terrible things she’s had to do and the kind of person she’s had to become. As I argue in my chapter, she’s a victim of “bad moral luck,” morally compromised due to circumstances over which she had no real control and with no way to reverse what she’s become, at least not entirely. There’s no changing the past, no reset button to restore the innocence she’s lost. Or is there? Children in a way are that reset button. They’re a new beginning, the meadow that replaces the graveyard, and the triumph of hope over the fear—Katniss’s quite justified fear!—that the renewal of life is really just the perpetuation of evil. I like that Collins ended her trilogy on that note.
You have been a part of a number of Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture books. Some cover more lighthearted entertainment. The Hunger Games trilogy; however, has a pretty direct message in relation to society and justice. Did you feel that in editing this book in the philosophy series? How was this book different compared to the other philosophy books?
George: The Hunger Games and Philosophy is actually the third book I’ve edited in the series, after True Blood and Philosophy (released in 2010) and Avatar and Philosophy (which still hasn’t been released). Those books also included chapters that dealt with political philosophy and social justice concerns, so those aren’t new topics for me. Where the Hunger Games trilogy differs from a lot of other pop culture media is in its explicit focus on entertainment and fashion—in particular, extreme, envelope-pushing entertainment and fashion. One of the most intriguing aspects of Suzanne Collins’ trilogy is how it gets us thinking about what our taste for certain forms of entertainment, such as those that involve the suffering and degradation of other human beings, might say about us. We’re very lucky to have some excellent chapters in our book that tackle that theme and deliver some really good insights.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview both Nicolas Michaud and George A. Dunn, the editors of the book The Hunger Games and Philosophy: a Critique of Pure Treason. Both Nicolas and George also contributed their own chapters to the book, and offered some fascinating insights into their thoughts on Panem, the Capitol, and The Hunger Games series in general. I highly recommend taking the time to read their thoughts. Here is my interview with Nicolas Michaud:
What do you think Hunger Games fans will enjoy most about your book?
Nicolas: I think many HG’s fans will feel validated. They know that there is a lot of deep intellectual and emotional value in the book series they love so much. But it is technically a book for young readers, so I am sure that they have to deal with some skepticism. In reading our book, they will see how professional philosophers and thinkers agree with them. And our text helps the reader explore those ideas even more deeply.
You have been a part of a number of Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture books. Some cover more lighthearted entertainment, such as 30 Rock and Philosophy, and SpongeBob Square Pants and Philosophy. The Hunger Games trilogy; however, has a pretty direct message in relation to society and justice. Did you feel that in editing this book in the philosophy series?
Nicolas: Yes. To some degree it was difficult to get away from the ethical issues that are so prominent in the books. And I didn’t really want to get away from them, as they are so powerful. It was important that we made sure to cover a more than just ethics in the text, else our book would not have given a true portrait of philosophy as a field and it would have been a little redundant. However, it is those ethical questions that really drive the book series, and I think you see strands of those ethical tensions running through even the least ethically related of our chapters.
How was this book different compared to the other philosophy books?
Nicolas: Well some of the other books I have participated in are a great deal more lighthearted. Really, of the ones I have written for, I think The Hunger Games and Philosophy is the most serious. So with the other texts we could afford to be a bit more playful and share philosophy with people in a very lighthearted way. But in this book our audience would not have appreciated much in the way of jokes, I think. So, it was important that we keep our own book in line with the tone and seriousness of Collins’s work.
The full, uninterrupted episode of Reelz TV’s “The Hunger Games: Inside the Arena” is now up on their site! Which actor’s interview did you enjoy the most? Let us know what you think!
ReelzChannel Specials | Movie Trailer | Review
It looks like Francis Lawrence has been chosen by Lionsgate to be the director for the Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, though we are still waiting to hear if he has accepted their offer. You may recognize his work from I Am Legend and Water for Elephants. I am having high hopes for him, as I loved I Am Legend, but what do you think about Francis Lawrence directing the sequel?
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter] Thanks to readers Eilidh and Erin!
There’s a brand new TV spot out today with scenes like the cave kiss and Caesar Flickerman with Claudius Templesmith. ”I love that!”
Hunger Games was at IMAX during release week but had to make way for Wrath of the Titans after a week due to previous contractual obligations according to EW. It’s great to see it back up!
We’re giving away a pair of tickets today on Twitter. Press release below.
We previously reported that Indiewire had exclusive information that The Hunger Games director, Gary Ross, would not be returning to the franchise to direct Catching Fire, the second installment in The Hunger Games trilogy.
New reports are stemming from The Hollywood Reporter stating that Gary is still in negotiations, and the resume today –
The Hunger Gamesdirector Gary Ross is set to meet with Lionsgate executives on Monday for a key meeting that will help determine his role in the follow-up to the mega-blockbuster.
Contrary to previous media reports, Ross—who returned from a vacation in Italy on Friday—has not exited the booming franchise. But he is not yet signed to return for the second installment, Catching Fire, and sources say the filmmaker is concerned about an ambitious production schedule that would require shooting to begin in August so that star Jennifer Lawrence can complete her work before she is due to start filming a sequel to Fox’s X-Men: First Classin January.
THR reported last week that Fox has informed studios and talent agencies of its planned start date for the Matthew Vaughn-directed X-Men movie. Since Fox’s deal with Lawrence predates her contract for Hunger Games, X-Men is in a priority position. With the script for the second Hunger Gamesnot yet locked, that means all preparations for a sequel would have to be done in four months—a tough schedule to meet.
Sources describe the negotiations between Ross and Lionsgate as delicate. In addition to his concerns about the schedule, THR reported on Wednesday that the filmmaker would like a raise from the $3 million (and 5 percent of backend) that he received for the first film, which has passed $450 million in worldwide box office and received an 85 percent “fresh” rating from critics on Rottentomatoes.com. Ross, an accomplished screenwriter and director (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit) has several other projects in development and could choose to pursue any of them.
You can read the rest of the article here.
Indiewire is reporting that The Hunger Games director, Gary Ross, will not be returning to the franchise to direct Catching Fire this fall -
While this morning it was reported that Lionsgate and Fox worked out their scheduling issues to allow Jennifer Lawrence to shoot “Catching Fire” and the “X-Men: First Class” sequel essentially back-to-back, it looks like before cameras can start rolling on “The Hunger Games” sequel this fall, the studio will need to find a director. The Playlist has learned that Gary Ross has officially exited the franchise and will not direct the sequel, formally giving Lionsgate and Summit his notice earlier this week, that he will not be coming back.
Check out the rest of the details over at our sister site, CatchingFireMovie.org!
NOTE: This is NOT confirmed by Lionsgate. We will consider this a rumor until we hear from them directly.
A new commercial for The Hunger Games is out! How many times have you seen the movie so far?
Generally speaking, the movie industry has been trying to relive the Golden Age of Action since its ’80s heyday, with little success. Alex Pettyfer, Jason Momoa, Justin Timberlake, and “John Carter’s” Taylor Kitsch are among those who have been unsuccessful in embodying an action hero the masses can rally behind of late. In her article for NY Daily News, Elizabeth Weitzman tells us how Katniss appears to be filling the role in which many male leads are falling short.
Jason Statham comes closest to replicating Bruce Willis’ deadpan swagger, while The Rock had potential, until he donned a tutu for “Tooth Fairy.” But even once-unassailable stars like Willis, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger have to band together — as they will in this summer’s “The Expendables 2” — to make any sort of impression. And when they do, will it compare with the impact we’re about to see from a 21-year-old woman? Because this year’s biggest action hero is very likely to be “The Hunger Games’” Jennifer Lawrence. As Katniss Everdeen, Lawrence brings us a warrior tougher than any in recent memory. At just 16, she single-handedly supports her family. Stares down death on a tragically regular basis. Insists, despite intense opposition, on remaining the master of her own fate. And is far more likely to save boys than swoon over them. (Though “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games” are often compared, the self-reliant Katniss has little in common with the oft-rescued Bella, a character perpetually defined by her relationships.)”
Weitzman goes on to compare and contrast Katniss to many of the modern heroines, such as the variety of characters Angelina Jolie has portrayed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Zhang Ziyi from “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.” It seems Hollywood churns out action hero after action hero, trying to find one that will stick in the minds of fans. Katniss is likely to be exactly what they’ve been searching for. I recommend reading the whole article!