Toronto played host to The Hunger Games this week as the film premiered at the Scotiabank theatre on Monday night. Before the screening kicked off though, a couple of the cast members appeared for a special red carpet event and I was lucky enough to be in attendance.
Liam Hemsworth, Alexander Ludwig, Josh Hutcherson and Chris Mark all showed up to tease fans, cause teenage girls to lose their minds and of course, answer some questions from rabid journalists.
It was a hectic event to say the least. Fans were going nuts as they desperately clamoured for pictures and autographs with their favorite stars while journalists and photographers were cutthroat in their attempts to get coverage. Simply put, it was pandemonium.
Luckily, I was able to speak briefly with Mark, Ludwig and Hutcherson. Although my time with them was extremely limited, I did manage to get in one or two questions. Unfortunately, Mr. Hemsworth wasn’t able to make it through all the journalists. He opted to spend more time signing autographs and taking pictures with his crazed fans.
First to show up, and walk the carpet, was Chris Mark. Mark plays a District 5 tribute and he’s also from Toronto. Speaking to him, I was curious how a young Canadian actor with little experience in the field ended up in such a huge Hollywood production.
“Luckily enough, just from the work I’ve been doing here I was able to work in LA. At the time of auditioning I was in LA and I heard about the auditions. I was sent to go audition and lucky for me I booked it.”
I then asked him what he planned on doing next and if he currently had any projects that he was working on.
“I’m still looking. I have work here and there but I’ll probably go back to LA soon and pick up again.”
Finally, I wanted to know what advice he had for other young actors trying to break into the field.
“Keep at it. Don’t give up and just be confident about it. It’s a tough industry but you need to have the right mentality or you won’t succeed.”
Following Mark was Alexander Ludwig, who plays Cato in the film. With a few credits to his name, Ludwig is starting to build a profile for himself and just from talking to the friendly, charismatic and charming 20 year old actor, I have a feeling that he’s going to be successful.
Coming from a small town in British Columbia, Ludwig told me that the transition to Hollywood has been tough but he’s lucky that he still has all his friends from home supporting him.
“It’s been a wild ride and it’s so nice to be a part of it. It’s great that I still have all my close friends from Vancouver and that everyone is supporting me and keeping me grounded. That’s meant the world to me.”
Next, I wanted to ask him about the role itself. The role of Cato is a very physical one and I was interested in hearing what was the toughest thing for him to do, physically, for the film.
”I had to put on 40 pounds of muscle for the role and I had to work with NAVY Seals, so that was pretty tough.”
Finally, the two big guns came out. As Liam Hemsworth appeared, followed by Josh Hutcherson (who’s incredibly short in real life, which I never realized), the crowd erupted. Fangirls went mental and the professionals (journalists, reporters, photographers) pushed and shoved each other around, all eager to get just a moment with the two actors as they knew their time would be limited.
Like I mentioned before, Hemsworth (who plays Gale in the film) didn’t get a chance to talk to a number of the journalists but Hutcherson (who plays Peeta in the movie) did make it down the carpet and luckily I got to sneak in a quick question before he took off.
Before answering my question though, Hutcherson spoke to us (myself and two other people) about his co-star, Jennifer Lawrence (who plays Katniss), and what it was like working with her.
“I was more than happy to play her [Jennifer Lawrence] supporting cast in this. She’s an amazing actress and Katniss is just such a great character. I was so happy to work with her.”
Before his “people” rushed him off, Hutcherson turned to me and that’s when I threw out one of the many questions I had for him. I was wondering if he was ever worried about the Harry Potter effect.
Daniel Radcliffe, who played the boy wizard through all of Warner Bros.’ films, will forever be known as Harry Potter. Throughout the rest of his career, that’s the role he’ll be known for and it will likely overshadow everything else he does. I was curious as to whether Hutcherson was worried about the “Peeta effect” and I decided to ask him about it.
“With Harry Potter, they started when they were little kids and they grew up with the franchise over the years. For me, The Hunger Games is only a four year thing and I’ve done work beforehand. I also plan on doing some very different indie stuff in between. So I hope that doesn’t happen to me, but who knows?”
Unfortunately, that’s all the interview coverage I was able to get. As I said, it was quite hectic and there was only really time for one or two questions with each actor. Nevertheless, it was an exciting opportunity and all of the actors were incredibly friendly and more than willing to talk for as long as they were allowed to.
It’s clear that Lionsgate has a mega hit on their hands with The Hunger Games and the film is set to bring in a ton of money for the studio. Early predictions are putting it past Twilight and I wouldn’t be surprised if it brought in box office numbers that far surpassed anything that Summit’s hit series has seen. If the reception that The Hunger Games received in Toronto is any indication, the film is going to be an absolute juggernaut.
If you haven’t yet read our review on The Hunger Games, you can do so here and make sure you go see the film when it hits theatres this Friday. That is, if you can even get tickets at this point.