Two-thirds of that The Hunger Games love triangle that only grows deeper in Catching Fire, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, sit down with Movie Fanatic to take us through where they are now in Suzanne Collins' world and where they see them going. Oh, and they also chime in on the battle over Katniss’ (Jennifer Lawrence) heart, given how she seems to be torn between what her heart is telling her (go for Gale) and what survival requires (stick with Peeta!).
Hutcherson appreciated the arrival of a new director in Francis Lawrence, which he feels infused the series with a shot of adrenaline. “I think it is cool because we are getting new and different input now. We have a new director leading us, so that is a cool change for us,” Hutcherson said.
Given that, as shown in the Catching Fire trailer, President Snow has decided to respond to the Peeta and Katniss victory tour and its spurring of revolution with a Quarter Quell. The all-star Hunger Games will put the recent Hunger Games winners back in the ring fighting for their lives.
“I think that, for me, the places that Peeta goes is natural just based on the story,” Hutcherson said of his Katniss and her newly minted emotional and survival needs of Peeta. “I want to follow that.”
Hemsworth admitted that regardless of the project, he likes to let who he is playing breathe a bit from the source material. Whether it is his recent turn in Paranoia, or something like Catching Fire that is based on a script that itself is based on a bestselling book. “I always feel like, when I’m shooting something, I often let the character go in different directions because of either the director's influence, or something will work out on set,” Hemsworth said.
“With something like this, we have four different films to do it over. It’s definitely going to head in directions that you didn’t know, or you didn’t think of, or didn’t expect. It’s part of a collaboration. People are developing a character, and your instincts might go in a different direction because of another actor’s instinct.”
For Hutcherson, he treasures the fact that he has Collins’ book to turn to, in addition to the fantastic screenplay by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire). “There is a lot of that in the source material. It’s nice when you have a whole book and then you have to whittle it down into a movie because as an actor you have a lot more information about your character,” Hutcherson said.
For the actor, it was nice to amp up the emotion for Peeta in Catching Fire. After surviving the Hunger Games, he not only has post-traumatic stress to deal with, but he -- honestly -- feels like he’s being used by Katniss!
“Peeta is angrier in this movie. In the first movie he was a baker and a painter, and in this one he has more edge to him. He is angry about having to go back into the games,” Hutcherson said.
“He is angry about how Katniss has been with him and the feeling that he has been led on. Up until they are training together and have that moment of coming together as friends, he feels really disappointed with the whole situation obviously. I think this movie really expands on all the different relationships. I think you see a lot more of the dynamic of Katniss and Peeta, how they are affected by the Games and by the whole world they live in and the relationship between Katniss and Gale.”
For Hemsworth’s Gale, he is more worried about his love Katniss and her emotional and mental state, rather than where her heart is heading. “When Katniss comes back from the Games, Gale obviously sees the post-traumatic stress that she is dealing with and has obviously seen her fall in love with someone else and cares deeply about it,” Hemsworth said.
He does get to plant a nice kiss on her though, shown in this Gale kisses Katniss Catching Fire trailer! “As angry and frustrated as Gale is watching her going back into these Games, I think he understands that at the end of the day Peeta is trying to protect her as well and is one of her best chances at survival.”