Author Archive: Heather Leigh Hunt
I am the author of a handful of novels and write for a Detroit newspaper - but most importantly, I love The Hunger Games trilogy.
Happy New Year to all of you Mockingjays! Better late than never, as Emy reported earlier, we were both fortunate enough to attend the premiere of Catching Fire, and I’m thrilled to finally share my own experience at the event.
By now, most of you have likely already seen the film (at least once) and I agree with Emy that they really took it up a notch. It seems with Catching Fire, they embraced the basic premise that so many fans love about the series so much: the uprising. Much of the film conveys the revolutionary aspect, in some ways more than the actual games in the arena. I found it a very empowering movie, especially through the eyes of a female. Not only via Katniss, but even through Johanna Mason, who stood out to me as one of the stronger characters; fearless, angry, and yet committed to cooperating with fellow tributes for a specific end-goal.
So the film itself aside, my experience at the premiere was fantastic. Although it was chilly and we had to wait outside for some time, it was worth every second. I felt especially privileged to be afforded the opportunity to give CatchingFireMovie.org a shout-out live from Yahoo’s Streaming Live from the Red Carpet! It was a pretty surreal moment to stand there, glance around, and see famous faces, cameras, and the whole elaborate set-up all around.
Inside the theater, the producer, director, and full main cast came out on stage before the film began, and though I don’t usually get extremely star-struck, I confess that seeing that entire group together did it for me. The film, as I mentioned before, did not disappoint. And having a handful of tributes from the first movie sitting a few rows behind us made the experience even better. The mood inside the theater was unlike any film I’ve ever seen. Being surrounded by those who worked on the set, and their friends and family there for support, resulted in a vibe that was much more enthusiastic, involved, and even a little hyped than a normal movie-going experience. I highly recommend, to anyone who can manage it, save up and get tickets to a premiere at least once in your life. It’s worth it!
We were also lucky enough to attend the party for a short while after the film, which of course was done beautifully. The decor was perfectly themed, the atmosphere subdued but fun, and we were even able to meet a couple of the tributes, who were very gracious.
Overall, the whole event was mind-blowing, and one I won’t forget. I’m proud of the entire cast and crew for bringing such a fantastic adaption of the book to the big screen, and am only more excited for the next. A tremendous thank you to Will, as well as Lionsgate, for allowing us the chance to attend such an amazing event!
Professional stunt double, Katie Eischen, who performed for both Jennifer Lawrence and Jena Malone on Catching Fire, was gracious enough to answer a handful of questions about her work on the film! Read on to see what she had to say about working on set.
1) How was working on the set of Catching Fire different from other television and film roles/stunt jobs you’ve had?
This was my first time working with the stunt team 87Eleven, and with the Stunt Coordinator/2nd unit director Chad Stahelski, and assistant Coordinator Sam Hargrave. They have a very good reputation, and are one of the best groups out there when it comes to fights/fight choreography for films. So getting to be a part of this crew was very exciting for me. Working on this set was different than most for me, because this Stunt Group really drills each fight until it is perfected… and then they will drill it some more. I really respected how they continue to work hard until each fight scene is perfected.
2) What did you do to specifically prepare for this role?
I have a background in gymnastics and martial arts/fights for film, but I had never had to perform with both the ax, and the bow and arrow. The first day I got to set, the stunt team taught me the scene where Jennifer takes out about 12 tributes during their training. After learning and perfecting this scene, they had me practice just shooting the bow and arrow multiple times to make sure that my form was spot on. I also needed to get acquainted with how Jennifer moved, to make sure that I was matching her movement. After perfecting that skill, they had me learn some of the routines that Jena Malone had to do with the ax, and they had me drill this a few weeks in a row until this, too, was ready to perform.
3) We know you can’t give too much away, but what was the hardest or most frightening stunt you had to perform for Catching Fire?
Well thankfully I was working with a very good stunt crew that rehearses things multiple times, so that everything will be as safe as possible. But I would have to say that the most fun stunt that I got to do, were two different stunts….the first was when I was doubling Jena Malone, and Renae Moneymaker was doubling Jennifer Lawrence, and we were on the spinning cornucopia, and had to tumble and catch each other….and the rest I’ll leave for you guys to see. I don’t want to totally spoil the movie.
The other really fun stunt was doubling Jennifer Lawrence. She is about to shoot her bow and arrow, and then there’s an explosion which knocks her (me) off my feet about 15 feet high and 20 feet far. We did a ratchet for this, which means I was on wires and got thrown into the air, then to the ground.
4) Seeing as the arena takes place largely around water, did you have to utilize your SCUBA certification for this job?
I do have a SCUBA certification…but when they shot all the water stuff, I was doubling Jena Malone at that time, and Renae Moneymaker was doubling Jennifer Lawrence. So, Jena doesn’t actually have any scenes where she is swimming. She is in the water, but no intensive swimming.
5) Did you get to work with any of the actors on set? If so, how was the vibe?
Yes, I got to double both Jennifer Lawrence and Jena Malone, both of which were super sweet! Jennifer is pretty funny, and always does a good job, but also doesn’t take it too seriously, which a breath of fresh air in this industry. And Jena is very good at attention to detail, and was always sure to collaborate with me that the action was on point. As a stunt double, that’s the best kind of actress to work with. She also had a very sweet spirit.
Josh, just like Jennifer, always does a good job on set…but is always cracking jokes, and not taking himself too seriously. His stunt double and good friend Ralf Koch also told me that Josh is one of the most generous and thoughtful people he knows. Sam, too, was super nice, and just a lot of fun to work with. The overall vibe was a lot of fun. Everyone did their job and worked hard, but also knew how to have a good time.
6) Have you had the chance to see a rough cut of parts of the film yet?
No, unfortunately I haven’t. I’ve only gotten to see what you guys have seen in the trailers. However, I did get to see all the clips that I performed stunts on while on set….and I’m super excited to see the whole film, and am pretty confident that it is going to be amazing!
You can check out Katie’s impressive stunt reel at the link below!
Liam Hemsworth (Gale Hawthorne) was spotted last week (by yours truly along with a couple of fellow writers!) at the Toronto International Film Festival, leaving the exclusive Soho House. With only a very small entourage, he exited low-profile to catch a yellow cab. Liam attended the film festival to support the premier of his brother Chris Hemsworth’s new movie, Rush. Talk about a lucky sighting!
[Photo courtesy of Holly Ducarte]
Smart Pop Books, publishers of The Panem Companion by V. Arrow, will be attending Comic-Con in San Diego (July 18 – July 21) and will be giving away Panem Companion district buttons, one each day, at booth #4300. So if you are in the San Diego area, or plan to attend Comic-Con, stop by and pick up a button to show pride for your favorite district!
Booth visitors can also enter to win all five of Smart Pop’s movie tie-in titles, including copies of The Girl Who Was on Fire – Movie Edition and The Panem Companion.
For those of you who enjoyed The Panem Companion, or love writing fan fiction, V. Arrow will be participating in the “Why Fan Fiction Is Taking Over the World” panel on Friday, July 19, talking about all things fan fiction!
Just before stepping onto the red carpet for the 2013 GLAAD Awards on Saturday, Jennifer Lawrence decided to change things up. She called celebrity hair stylist Mark Townsend and told him she was ready to try something different.
Jennifer showed up an hour before call time and as she opened the door she was like, ‘Mark, I want to cut it all off,” Townsend told Harper’sBazaar.com. “I was like, ‘What? Are we allowed to do that?’ And she said, ‘Of course, it’s my hair!’ As I cut, I lost track of how many times she said, ‘I love it!’ She was super excited. It’s the shortest her hair has been in her whole life.”
What do you guys think of the new look?
An already outspoken advocate of LGBT rights, our Hunger Games leading man recently posed in a photo shoot for NOH8 with the co-founders of Straight But Not Narrow, Avan Jogia, Heather Wilk and Andre Pochona. Straight But Not Narrow is a campaign they created that mostly targets straight males to positively influence their views on LGBT teens.
…[the campaign] hits close to home for me. I have a lot of gay friends in Los Angeles. My roommate’s gay and I lost two uncles when I was young to AIDS, so it’s an important cause in my family,” Hutcherson says.
Hutcherson was honored by GLAAD last year with the Vanguard Award for his work with the LGBT community. He was the youngest person ever to receive the commendation, at only 19 years old.
Sorry for the delay, Mockingjays, but we do have a winner to announce for our giveaway of The Panem Companion! And thanks to a few adamant requests for a photo of the ridiculous looking Capitol hat from which the name would be drawn, I caved and decided to give the people what they want. Did you know that unicorn hats are all the rage this year in the Capitol? Well… you do now.
Anway, our lucky winner is Chrissy Simoncelli Pfeiffer! Congrats, and enjoy the book! Now the rest of you can go find a copy and tell us if you think Peeta and Prim are related…
Welcome to District 10, where we handle all of your ranching and dairy needs! We’re here to celebrate V. Arrow’s release of The Panem Companion, and to mark the occasion, we will be giving away a copy of the book, and scored a brief, exclusive interview with the author!
To win a copy of the book (sorry to trans-oceanic Mockingjays, shipping is within the U.S. and Canada only), just leave a comment to this post, and your name will be put in a ridiculous looking hat from The Capitol. Comment quick, though, because our drawing will be done on December 12th.
Below is our exclusive interview with V. Arrow, as well as the District 10 excerpt from the book. Good luck to all contest entrants, and if you don’t win, be sure to get your hands on this book. You’ll be surprised by how much you didn’t know about the beloved series.
Interview with V. Arrow:
1. What compelled you to write The Panem Companion?
I have a lot of passion for, and belief in, fan communities and the intelligence and nuance that they really bring out in looking at various forms of media. I think it’s really unfair, too, that fandom and fan communities are pretty summarily dismissed by the mainstream, or even by the “nerd zeitgeist,” when they center on a popular phenomenon like The Hunger Games (or Twilight or boy bands or YA lit in general or what have you), because the amount of care that fans put into discussing their media and transforming it via fan-works is really, really incredible and a thing that should be celebrated. So I’m really sick of fan guides that just explain basic concepts and act like fans haven’t already realized that Katniss, Peeta, and Gale were a love triangle!
2. What was the most challenging part in writing the book?
Probably organizing my ideas enough… I have a habit of jumping from Point A to Point F and assuming that people can see into my head to connect the dots, when of course they can’t, haha! I had to rewrite a few of the chapters many, many times before I’d finally explained the actual extrapolations sufficiently.
3. If you had to pick, which chapter are you most excited for readers to dive into, and why?
I’m really excited about the Gender, Sexuality, and Exploitation chapter, just because it was fascinating and horrifying to really research into how our own contemporary reality TV is reflected by Katniss- and Peeta’s Games strategy and Plutarch’s attitudes. But I also really love the chapters about District 4, District 11, and Cinna!
4. What is your personal favorite of the three books in The Hunger Games trilogy?
Catching Fire! It’s actually what helped me narrow down what I wanted The Panem Companion to be about, since TPC is about *Panem itself* and we get to see the most parts of the country and its people in Catching Fire, as opposed to The Hunger Games and Mockingjay. I loved reading about the Victory Tour and I LOVED all of the Quell tribute characters!
5. What do you hope readers come away with most after reading The Panem Companion?
For readers who aren’t or have not been involved with fandom(s) in the past, I’d love for them to come away with maybe more appreciation for how much thought and care and discourse really goes on in fan media and fan-works, because I do think that fandom can be a sort of insular world that looks… maybe facile or silly to outsiders when really, like I said, I think it’s a hugely empowering and important subculture. For fans of The Hunger Games, I just hope that I wrote something they haven’t already discussed themselves and that they have something new to debate with each other!
District 10 – Excerpt from The Panem Companion by V. Arrow:
“The obvious exception, at least outwardly, to the aromantic tone of the series is the ‘love triangle’ between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. It’s important to address this up front because, though sex and gender may play a pivotal role in the trilogy and in Panem, that role has nothing to do with the Katniss-Peeta-Gale story—which is not really a ‘love’ triangle at all.
“The most frequent understanding of the Katniss-Peeta-Gale love triangle is purely allegorical. Katniss, at the precipice of inevitable war and experiencing her first true chance to make affecting choices, must choose between Peeta, representing noble intentions, and Gale, representing revenge. At the time of The Hunger Games’ writing, the United States was three years into the war in Iraq and just learning that Iraq did not in fact possess weapons of mass destruction. Justification for warfare was a hot topic both in the media and among US citizens.
“Although it could be argued that the ‘love triangle’ is both an allegory and a true narrative love triangle, that is still not quite true. For the story to have been a real love triangle, Katniss would need to be in love with both Peeta and Gale, or at least romantically or sexually involved with both men. She isn’t.”
Panem Names glossary excerpt:
Dalton, District 10 Refugee to District 13 who specializes in genetic manipulation
“Dalton means from the valley town. He may be named for Sir Howard Dalton, a British geneticist who died in 2008—approximately during the writing of Mockingjay, in which the Hunger Games’ Dalton appears.”
It may be hard to believe, but the filming of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is already halfway completed. Originally expected to be shot on the island Kauai, Hawaii, the cast and crew ended up in Oahu, Hawaii to shoot the brunt of the story line.
Lionsgate Entertainment confirmed on November 6 that the adaption to Suzanne Collins’ bestseller will finish shooting this December, wrapping in Oahu (spoiler alert for those who have not read it!) which will serve as the verdant, tropical arena from the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy, in which Katniss must return to fight in yet another deadly ‘games’.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to review a copy of The Panem Companion by V. Arrow (available on sale December 2012 via Smart Pop Books). This in an extensively researched book; I was surprised to see the lengths the author took in researching details to which I never gave a second thought. Did you ever wonder what the meaning was behind every single last character’s name? If so, get this book. My compliments to V. Arrow in putting forth so many investigative hours to present a book to the public that will bring new depth and meaning to die-hard fans of the series. It also gave me a renewed respect for Suzanne Collins, who clearly put a lot more thought into particulars than the general public realizes.
This book is definitely for that exact demographic: the intense fans who can’t get enough of The Hunger Games series. If you do not fall within that group, it can be a bit monotonous in areas. Knowing, however, that it was written for those who want to know more about the world Katniss lives in, it does a great job illuminating details one might otherwise miss while reading the books simply for entertainment.
I’ll get the bad out of the way first. At times I felt it was stretching to look for weathered injustices such as racism, sexism, and anti-gay elements in The Hunger Games series. Obviously there are injustices in the Panem, that is sort of the whole point. But with anything in life, if one is trying to look for inequality in every corner, a person will probably be able to find it… even if said prejudices are not really there. For example: the book delves into gender role reversal in an interesting way, yet over-simplifies it. Is there anyone who really thinks completely in black and white about male and female roles or traits anymore? Who does not know a man with a few feminine qualities, or likewise, a woman who is good at traditionally “male” skills?
Now the good: I never even thought about some of the fascinating elements that are scrutinized such as a compelling look at the strong possibility of Peeta and Prim being half-siblings. (Yeah, I know… say what?!) Annie Cresta’s character study was also intriguing and well-researched; and of course, the mapping of Panem is something fans will likely adore. It’s one of the more interesting aspects of the series, and yet in some ways, one of the most underdeveloped. It also sheds light on our current reality television in a way that most people are not currently aware of. You may have the general sense that reality TV is “garbage” or a guilty pleasure, but it gives hard information on the contracts that reality stars are required to sign, therefore revealing the darker side of our own current “reality” entertainment. It makes the reader think twice about what they chose to watch after reading the book.
Overall, it’s an informative and well-researched analysis of the world Collins created, and an exploration into some of the parallels between Panem and our current society. I give it a strong four out of five stars.