Yesterday morning, Victor’s Village and a whole bunch of fansite friends got the chance to interview Sam Claflin and Jena Malone via phone!
If you’ve ever questioned these two in their roles, we can officially tell you not to worry about it. Sam Claflin is beyond charming. He talked about the love of his life so much that our hearts melted. Srsly quise, it was adorbs. And it was so very Finnick Odair! Jena Malone is small and cute, but there’s also a fierce passion in her that lets us know she’ll bring out the best (and by “best”, we may mean “worst”) parts of Johanna Mason.
They were unbelievably sweet, especially considering that they were probably woken up at the crack of dawn to get ready for the Philadelphia stop of the Victory Tour and 7 out of 10 sites asked them how they were because it’s habit and it’s the polite thing to do, okay?! The interview itself ran a little long, so each site only had a chance for one question. But in the post-interview downtime, Sam and Jena sang “Happy Birthday” to Samantha from Panem Propaganda, because her birthday was Saturday and hey, they could. Yeah, we’re kinda TOTALLY smitten.
So now that they gushing is done, on to the interview! Please note that a large portion of the interview is under the READ MORE link!
Sam, fans have followed the casting with a lot of attention to detail, and Annie Cresta was not cast until you guys had wrapped Catching Fire, so without an actress in that role, did you find it difficult to draw from Finnick’s relationship with her in the Catching Fire arena and if so how did you overcome that?
Sam: I definitely see where you are coming from. No, but I don’t feel like without a picture in my head, as an actor I necesarily needed that to draw from, if you know what I mean. Obviously from personal experience, I am married and there for my wife was my kind of experience that I could draw from. You know, the love of my life and all that. So I didn’t necessarily need an actress or an image of a person to emotionally inform me, if that makes sense. Definitely I am very excited to get started with Steph Dawson, who is playing Annie Cresta. Finnick spends so much time in the arena, away from her, focusing on mainly protecting Katniss. I don’t feel that it affected my performance necessarily during Catching Fire.
#2 HG Movie Site
When you become part of the cast for a franchise as big as the Hunger Games, with such a big fanbase is there a pressure to please a lot of people or do you find that it’s easier when there is already millions of people that love it?
Jena: Well it’s kind of a give and take. I think luckily Sam and I – Sam if I could just speak for you – we were both such fans of the series anyway, that coming in with such love and appreciation for the project, such passion for a project it only propels you forward knowing that there is 100,000 people out there that has the same love and passion. Of course it’s a little terrifying in the morning when you want to make sure that you are getting it right. But fortunately books are two dimensional beings and films are a three dimensional format. We were building things in a whole new way. So there is no way to get it like the book in every way, because books are two dimensional. We are building blood and love and sweat. We’re breathing life into these characters and so I think that they are always going to be better than the books ever imagined them.
#3 Hunger Games Fireside Chat
Over the course of filming, you’ve obviously gotten to spend a lot of time with other members of the cast. Who did you really enjoy hanging out with off set, and are there any close bonds you formed that you think will go beyond the films many years into the future?
Jena: The entire cast is so rad, it’s hard to pick one person. We’ve become such a tight-knit family. I kind of fangirled out over Philip Seymour Hoffman, just a little bit. I mean, he’s been one of my favorites, I don’t know.
Sam: Yeah, we all sort of ended up socializing off set as much as we did on set, and there was a lot of fun to be had. And that all kind of spans back to the fact that Francis was very open to ideas and it made it much more of a collaborative family experience, if that makes sense. There was a lot of misbehaving and mischief caused, but, you know, in a very fun way, and we were all able to kind of focus on the job at hand when we needed to. But yeah, I don’t think there was one person I disliked, and if I did, I’d be sure to tell you! (laughter) Actually, I’m not a big fan of Jena, Jena Malone.
Jena: …Jina Mahone or something? She’s a crazer.
Sam: But we all got along like a house on fire. You can’t help but really admire an experience like that really.
#4 The Hob
What were the most emotional scenes for you to film?
Jena: Being covered in blood and having to uphold the energy of intense violence and anger and emotional velocity while covered with this intense blood that thickens in 30 seconds and dries on your skin and becomes painstakingly horrible, that was probably the hardest thing to hold that energy for like 6 hours..
Sam: The most emotionally difficult scene for me would definitely, the jabberjay scene, hearing the love of my life screaming through the woods was pretty darn difficult to film especially when you just have some average Joe screaming instead of an actual woman. There was also obviously the scene where Lynn Cohen and I were split apart for the last time when Mags has to walk off into the fog, pretty damn emotion too. There were very physically demanding scenes as well, very very physically demanding shoot. We’re obviously shooting in the jungles of Hawaii and therefore the drain was pretty horrific. Emotionally I felt very drained by Christmas last year.
#5 HG Girl on Fire
In the film you both use some pretty awesome weapons, how was it working with a trident and an ax? How much training did you do until you felt comfortable wielding such a cool weapon?
Jena: What’s so funny is that we worked with such an incredible stunt team 87Eleven. They have such an amazing arsenal of all of these different guys that are just trained in all these different forms of fighting styles and weapons , and they really let us figure out what was the best way to go about working with our specific weapons, with our specific districts, and our specific fighting styles. I don’t know I feel like it wasn’t necessarily just the weapons, it was more about finding the character within the style. You know and what kind of person we were becoming in all these different ways we learned how to fight and it was pretty rad. For me it was not even like a specific thing, it was just getting to work with such an incredible stunt team that really entrusted us with such rad techniques.
Sam: Yeah I think that the standards, across the board, I don’t think anyone who had to hold a weapon, had no ability to hold the weapons. I think the we were all pretty nifty with how to hold the weapons right from the get go, however there were many hours spent going over the choreography. The opportunity for me to basically hit a few stunt men with a rubber weapon was pretty amazing, and somewhat like a dream come true. The problem for me was that my stunt double was so so good with a trident that no matter how hard I tried , I could never be quite as good, but yeah it was good fun. It was really good fun.
#6 Victor’s Village:
Obviously, the best answer to this would be “None of the above,” but if you had to go up against one of the mutts or obstacles in the Catching Fire arena, which one would you choose and why?
Jena: Lightning Tree! Just stay out of the way.
Sam: Yeah, that’s a tough question. I guess… Not the fog.
Jena: Not the fog. None of them!
Sam: Maybe the blood rain?
Jena: No! No! Stop. You don’t even know!
Sam: I’d probably say the lightning tree. But actually, no. I say whatever is in the hours that we never actually find out about.
Jena: That’s even more terrifying.
Sam: I suppose the unknown actually is even more terrifying…
Jena: It was so terrifying Suzanne couldn’t even write about it. You know what I mean? That’s how bad it was.
Sam: Yeah, lightning tree. I’ll go the obvious way. Lightning tree.
#7 Down With The Capitol
Apart from food, medicine, and weaponry, what would you wish a sponsor would send to you if you were in the arena?
Jena: I would go with what I would want in the arena, when I was on the beach, all I wanted was a way to turn off the wind so the sand would stop blowing all over me. What ever that is, like some type of nice shower curtain type thing that would protect me from the sand.
Sam: I would say soap. I mean, if I died at least I died well. You know, I died and I smelled good. Its such an array of I don’t know. I’ll say soap. I’ll go with soap.
#8 My Hunger Games
What was your favorite outfit you had to wear during filming?
Jena: I liked the chariot outfit. Mine was really intense, and also I had to become really acquainted with it because I had to learn how to do a four second strip-tease on the parade, so obviously, I had to really, really learn it. Yeah, that was my favourite; I wore a gorgeous tree outfit.
Sam: For me, I think probably the arena outfit because it meant I was actually covered up. (lots of laughter). There was a lot of pressure on me to be working out a lot so therefore once I got….(drifts away)…I mean, funnily enough, a wetsuit is obviously very, very tight fitting, but nonetheless, that was still the least revealing outfit that I had, so I’d say that. There was a lot of stretch in the crotch as well which meant I could lunge.
Jena: That’s true, I could see some very good lunge work.
Sam: Deep lunges
#9 Welcome To District 12
What other role in the series did you see yourself playing or could you see yourself playing, no matter description or type.
Jena: I mean, I wanted to play Mags. That was my first choice, but…
Sam: You wanted to be carried by me.
Jena: During the audition, they kind of touched my face with fake old age makeup, and they’re like “Jena, this is not going to work.”
Sam: It’s a tough question. I mean I’d most like to play Haymitch, I think.
Jena: Oh, really?
Sam: Yeah, because I think he just goes on one hell of a journey, and the fact that he is who he is, the things that he’s seen and been through, that he’s a mentor to Katniss and Peeta. Yeah, that’s the character that most inspired me, I guess… Effie Trinket, just so I could’ve got the costume, you know. Anything for an orange wig.
If you were a Capitol person, what crazy fashion trend would you start?
Jena: I would want to put zippers on my eyebrows. (laughter)
Sam: Oh my god.
Jena: It’s the first thing that came to me! I was like, What would I want? I think just a little chain, metal something on my face.
Sam: I would definitely go with a tiger face paint.
How would you both define Finnick and Johanna’s friendship?
Sam: I wouldn’t (Laughs).
Jena: I think it’s beyond friendship and it’s just like family. Like they’ve drawn blood together. They’ve killed together, got tortured together.
Sam: They’ve been screwed a lot. There’s only a very few amount of people still alive that have gone through the experiences they’ve witnessed .
Jena: Kinda like military buddies. They’ve been out in the field together and witnessed, you know, horrors together and that’s really bonded them forever.
#12 Panem Propaganda
When you were working on your roles, did you speak to anyone, or consider for yourself, what kind of background your characters had outside the Games? Things like family or friendships they may have had back in their Districts, and how did that affect the development of your characters?
Jena: Yeah! The book is SO rich, even though it doesn’t go into specifics about what these characters have gone through, you can pick through, and there are sentences that, really, for an actor, are goldmines. It’s like a doorway you go through, and there’s a whole house inside there. Suzanne Collins created stories that, I feel like as an actor, are like candy. There was so much to work with. And Francis was constantly providing us more information. Even just really understanding who these people were, giving us essays on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and all of these different things to research. I feel like we had so much to go in and paint with. It was kind of amazing.
Sam: Lynn Cohen, who plays Mags, and I spent a few weeks during the preparation time discussing our relationship, coming to the decision that she was more of a mother to Finnick. He was kind of an orphan, we decided. She was his mentor when he was in the Games, and everything that happened since, obviously, leading up to ‘Catching Fire,’ her volunteering for Annie Cresta, etc. Finnick’s past and his history is mentioned in ‘Mockingjay.’ There is a very, very dark history painted for him, and I got to talk that through, not only with Lynn Cohen, but with Jena and everyone else as well. It was easy for me to sort of mold ideas.