Amid a frenzy of rumors surrounding his possible role in the next installment of “The Hunger Games,” Taylor Kitsch last week told us he won’t be playing the attractive Finnick Odair in “Catching Fire.”
Finnick, who shows up for the first time in “Catching Fire,” is described by author Suzanne Collins as a handsome 24-year-old womanizer who excels at athletic pursuits. According to E! News, other actors still up for the part include Garrett Hedlund and Armie Hammer. But a producer of the sequel says even those whispers are “so not true.”
“That’s the thing that’s crazy — people are like way ahead of where we are,” Nina Jacobson told us on the red carpet at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday. “We’ve not narrowed things down by any means. It’s funny to see how things can take on a life of their own.”
But are the filmmakers taking fan input into account while seeking out their Finnick? Not entirely, says Jacobson.
“It means something that people can see [an actor] in that light, so you know [the actor] will be accepted by a lot of people, on the one hand,” she said. “On the other hand, you have to kind of ignore it. You have to just sort of act like you’re sitting in a room and you want to just pick the person who gives the best audition and looks and feels most like the part.”
I have no preference as to whom will play Finnick. I just want whomever it is to do the best job they can and bring Finnick to life on screen. Everyone was up in arms with Jennifer and Josh when they were first cast, and after their performance in The Hunger Games.. I think it shushed those few up quickly. So, I trust Nina, director Frances Lawrence and author Suzanne Collins will give us the perfect Finnick. Like Nina said, “the person who gives the best audition and looks and feels most like the part” The person can look like Finnick, but to play him is a different story.
But I would really like to know who is playing Finnick really soon.
When initial rumors began to spread that the “Hunger Games” series might make it to the big screen, some fans found the idea ironic, while others panicked, haunted by flashbacks of favorite books-turned-movies being mutilated. A little over a week away from the midnight showing and those fears are practically nonexistent. Judging by the brief snippets we have seen so far, the movie is bound to be fantastic. Nina Jacobson, who first pursued the rights for the “Hunger Games” series, deserves partial thanks for the success of the film thus far. The folks at Collider sat down with the “Hunger Games” producer to discuss the entire process of bringing the book to life and what lies ahead.
Question: What led you to The Hunger Games and bringing it to the big screen?
NINA JACOBSON: There is a young fella who works for me, named Brian Unkeless, who’s very smart. We’re a very small company that has been Brian and me and two assistants, although we’re growing a little bit now. He read the book and loved it, and told me I should read it. He had been a fan of the Gregor books. So, I read it and couldn’t put it down and couldn’t stop thinking about it. I really became obsessed with the thought of producing it, and was completely bothered by the idea that anybody but me could produce it. I felt that there were so many things that could go wrong, in adapting it, and I had this fierce desire to protect this book that she had written. At that time, I read the second book, in manuscript form, and so I saw where she was going with the series. I was able to convince Suzanne [Collins] to trust me with the books.
Being a huge fan of the book, did you have any input into the design of the film?
JACOBSON: Yes and no. Ultimately, I am very filmmaker oriented, as a producer. I think the most important thing is that you have to really choose the players carefully. It was very important to me to choose a director like Gary [Ross], whose instincts come from character, who’s a storyteller, and who puts characters first. Visually, I felt that with each movie, Gary adopts a different style. He doesn’t have one look that’s the Gary Ross look, and I thought that was important. We needed somebody who would be character based and who would find the look of the movie. Also, the hiring of Phil Messina, the production designer, was a big decision. He’s so gifted, and his ideas were always so smart and rooted in American history and architecture. Nothing feels like it’s not us, or couldn’t be us, and I think that’s very important. But, in the evolution of the movie, Gary and I talked a lot about tonal bandwidth and making sure that the look and feel and style and choices of the movie stayed within a certain consistent bandwidth.
What were the parameters for the tonal bandwidth?
JACOBSON: When you read a book, you create that tonal bandwidth. You set a tone for yourself, as you’re reading it, in which everything exists within the world of your imagination. In the book, it’s great when she can push a button and food comes up, as per your order. But, we didn’t do that in the movie because we felt that it would be too fanciful and too Oz, and that the Capitol had to actually still be ominous. It had to be a mind-blower, but it had to be ominous. Another small decision was that, in the book, Haymitch throws up on Katniss’ shoes, but if you show that in a movie, suddenly the whole scene is about a person throwing up. There’s so much important character work that gets done in that scene, that we still wanted him to be a drunk, but also menacing and having some danger to him. So, you’re not doing the scene exactly the way it is in the book, but the intention of the scene is there.
Little decisions like that were made, every day. In this movie, we really focused on Cinna and we didn’t get time to focus on the other stylist. Part of it was staying inside Katniss’ head. I love those other stylists in the books, and I hope we can bring those characters more into focus, in the next movie. But, in this movie, we decided that we really needed to focus on Cinna and Katniss’ experience. We had to be in her shoes. She had to step into the Capitol, and it couldn’t be fun. In the books, you’re really in her head. She’s able to be frightened and intimidated, and you’re also able to have fun with the stylists. In the movie, we decided that we’d focus on the Cinna relationship, and keep grounded in her fear and anticipated, and we’ll explore the stylists in the next movie, if we’re lucky, once we’ve set the stage with this one.
Here are videos directly from the Hunger Games red carpet premiere last night from LA Times. They include interviews with Liam Hemsworth, Jackie Emerson, Willow Shields, Amandla Stenberg, Nina Jacobson, Toby Jones, Jack Quaid, Dayo Okeniyi, and Samuel Tan.
Forbes has a new interview with Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson about all things Hunger Games -
Jacobson was early to The Hunger Games, too. When she first read it only about 150,000 copies of the book had been sold. “By the time I put it down I had become obsessed with the book and with the idea that I had to produce the movie,” says Jacobson. So she made a plea to author Suzanne Collins to give her the rights to the books. No studios were competing to buy the rights, but Jacobson won out over several other producers. “She felt extraordinarily passionate about the material,” says Collins. “She had the same fears that I did about the ways it could be misused.”
Some studios passed mostly because of the riskiness of a movie that involved so much violence by and against children. But smallish Lionsgate jumped, paying less than $1 million. It will spend an estimated $60 million to produce the first film. Jacobson brought on Jon Kilik, the producer of movies like Babel and Inside Man to help her produce the films. She will get a slice of box office receipts and was just as happy not to be at a huge studio.
“I hope this will give rise to more opportunities,” says Jacobson. “I want the next J.K. Rowling to say, ‘I want Color Force because they’ll do right by me.’”
You can read the rest of the interview here!
The Hob.org has a scan from the most recently issue of Entertainment Weekly featuring a short interview from Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson. In the interview Nina talks about their casting decision, and Gary Ross’s dedication to the movie -
“It’s very easy to be in the camp of ‘Oh, I’m a Peeta person’ or ‘I’m a Gale person’,” producer Nina Jacobson tells EW. “I think Gary understands what Katniss sees in both of them and knows how to build a movie which is both an epic adventure but also a very intimate love story.”
We just posted an interview with EW and Suzanne Collins, which has Suzanne saying how dedicated Gary is to this movie, and the characters. Now we have the producer, Nina Jacobson, saying the same thing! I have full confidence that this will be an epic movie!
What do you think? Let us know the comments section!
Hunger Games News: Suzanne Collins, Gary Ross, and Nina Jacobson Comment On The Casting Of Peeta & Gale!
Lionsgate has just emailed us exclusive comments by Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, director Gary Ross, and producer Nina Jacobson, in regards to the recent casting of Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and Liam Hemsworth as Gale -
“When I read the book, I thought Peeta would be the hardest role to cast, and I feel so lucky that we found someone who embodies every aspect of such a complex character. I can’t wait to work with Josh.”
- The Hunger Games director Gary Ross
“I was fortunate enough to be in the room with Gary Ross when Josh came in to audition. Three lines into the read I knew he’d be fantastic. Josh totally captured Peeta’s temperament, his sense of humor and his facility for language. I’m thrilled to have him aboard.”
- The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins
“Gale is a young man who uses words very sparingly, so the onus was on the actor we cast to capture him by showing, not telling. This was accomplished so beautifully in Suzanne’s writing, and Liam was able to translate it so naturally to the screen. At the same time, Gale’s journey across the three books transforms him, and Liam’s performance left no doubt that he would take us there. ”
-The Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson
I know that some people are extremely happy with their choices, and some are on the fence. And then there are those who are upset. There is no way that they could please everyone, and no matter who they choose there would be some part of the fan base that would be upset.
We have full faith that the right choices were made, and trust the decisions of Suzanne, Gary, and Nina wholeheartedly.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section!