What exactly is this “Hunger Games” wonder that has so many folks talking months before the movie (which just wrapped up filming earlier this month) is even released? Like many of the wildly successful film franchises these days, it began with a book.
Suzanne Collins is the mastermind behind “The Hunger Games” trilogy, which has been gaining momentum over the last few months for both its suspenseful plot and overarching message about society.
The plot revolves around a dystopian society where punishment for a previous rebellion has resulted in a televised event. One boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district (there are 12 total) are selected at random and forced to participate in the Hunger Games, where “tributes” must fight to the death until only one is left standing.
“The Hunger Games” gives us a heroine named Katniss, a strong-willed and unwavering spirit, who volunteers for the games in order to spare her younger sister. Once inside the death match arena, she must get down and dirty to outlive her competitors, but there’s one slight problem.
Her hot friend Peeta gets cast into the games, too. In the midst of all the slaying, Katniss finds herself embroiled in a love triangle with her longtime pal Gale, who is watching the games from his home, and Peeta, who confesses his love for her inside the arena. Katniss’ emotional turmoil of love or death makes Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” look like child’s play.
Apparently, Collins’ twisted plot came to her one night while she was channel surfing between a competition reality show and a news program about the Iraq war. She blended the two shows and “The Hunger Games” was born.
The first film of the franchise is slated for release on March 23, 2012, while the second film is already booked for November 2013. Fans can only hope director Gary Ross doesn’t soften the book, because the twists and turns will make for an edge-of-your-seat thriller. At this rate, the film is set to have more passion than “Twilight” and more action than “Harry Potter.”
The film has already faced some controversy.
When Lionsgate announced that Jennifer Lawrence had been cast to play Katniss, both fans and critics questioned the choice, believing she was too old, too blond and too pretty to play a ruthless warrior. However, if her success in “Winter’s Bone” and “X-Men: First Class” is any indication of her range, Lawrence has the potential to nail this role and pave the way for kick-butt female heroines.
The movie’s lead male stars will likely rise to instant fame, just as Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner did with “Twilight.” The relatively unknown actors Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) and Liam Hemsworth (Gale) will provide plenty of eye candy for the film. Other stars on the bill include Woody Harrelson (Haymitch), Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman) and Lenny Kravitz (Cinna).
The film was originally meant to be low budget, however the hype has pushed the movie to a nearly $100-million production, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The cast and crew wrapped filming earlier this month after an 84-day shoot, and a recently released teaser trailer has given fans a taste of what’s to come. The hype may have escalated the budget, but the film may still exceed all expectations — and be one lucrative franchise that reaches audiences of all ages.
Now, with only a few months until the first film’s release, you still have plenty of time to pick up the book if you haven’t read it. But be warned, once you finish the addictive read, you’ll probably hunger for more.