Inventing Antonius: The Casting of Robert Knepper

I gasped. I’m serious, when I read the news of Robert Knepper being cast in Mockingjay Part 1 and 2, I sat bolt upright, and I gasped like Lizzy Caplan’s character waking up in Bachelorette. Ah yes, and then I think I cried a little. Okay, I squeezed out maybe two tears, and then I calmed down– maaaaaybeee.

Little FYI, Robert Knepper is an amazing actor. Honest to god he is one of the best, unsung, supporting actors that’s been working their way through Hollywood for the last twenty + years. As a die-hard fan of Prison Break (the series that most people know him for), where he sank his teeth into one of the creepiest, most despicable characters ever written for television– I’m just gonna come out and say with self-proclaimed authority that the role of Antonius, whom many are speculating is quite possibly Peeta and Johanna’s torturer– is in the best hands

Hey Bob!

Hey Bob!

possible. At this time however, the only information we have about the role is his name, Antonius, and his job title, Minister to the President, or something akin to that. Ahem, if you’re a fan of the novels written by Suzanne Collins though, you have likely surmised that Antonius is a newly invented character that will be exclusive only to the films, unless Miss Collins is willing to go back and write in new characters for an anniversary edition in say, 2017. Also, the invention of Antonius means they’re branching out from canon.

To me adding new characters is a great idea, granted others may piss and moan that if they want to add new blood to the film series, why not include some of the original, and somewhat neglected, or omitted characters from the novels– like Hazelle Hawthorne, or Madge Undersee. Welp, because Madge is now superfluous, and who knows maybe Hazelle will show up in District 13 along with Poppy, and Vic, and there was another, right? Like the fleshing out of President Snow’s granddaughter in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, as well as the fleshing out of both Seneca Crane, and Plutarch Heavensbee, from a film making perspective the addition of more Capitol characters that are close to the president makes sense plot development wise, as well as character development wise. In the novels Snow is quite possibly one of the most ephemeral characters, we know we should hate him, but even when he flits into a scene and scares the shit out of Katniss, we’re still a bit perplexed, and also kind of, sort of yearning to know more about this creepy, old man. Therefore fleshing out, or in the case of Antonius, inventing and adding new characters for Snow to interact with– makes Snow more real, more menacing, not to mention let’s us enjoy the amazingness that is Donald Sutherland more and more.

Any who, Bob Knepper, I call him Bob because I’m weird, I’ve been a fan of his for 10 years, and also it’s what he goes by. Bob’s a welcome, and should be a celebrated addition to The Hunger Games family. Kindly go check out his work in Prison Break, you will not be sorry! Or if you’re willing check him out on the new Frank Darabont series Mob City, opposite Milo Ventimiglia, come to think of it he was also on Heroes opposite Milo, and then do try out the critically acclaimed defunct HBO series Carnivàle.

Huzzah, yea virally!

Them There Eyes

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11 comments

  1. Thank you for the explanation. I’ve been racking my brain trying to remember who Antonius a minister to Snow might be. Gee, I don’t really want to know who tortures Peeta. But on the other hand, I thought the addition of scenes with Snow’s granddaughter was brilliant for the movie and so I trust that any characters added for MJ will indeed help viewers to inderstand the story better.

  2. I never heard of Knepper, but if looks can kill….

    Meanwhile, I’m totally on board with some new characters. In Francis Lawrence’s capable hands the new scenes and new lines in Catching Fire have been completely in the spirit of the books. Am I as crazy as the hammer catfight people for hoping they show some of the torture scenes? We HG fans must really be a bloodthirsty bunch.

  3. I actually excited to see the Peeta Johanna torture scenes (I’m a sadistic person apparently) because I want to see how Peeta’s character can go through all that pain and still survive afterwards. Plus I’m curious how they will do that in a PG-13 way. I’m sure they won’t actually show the physical torture but more of Peeta’s screams in the background while Johanna is trying to block them out. That’s firmly within the ideas of “showing the consequence of war” theme that Francis is trying to communicate.

    Many in the fandom have said Antonius is based off of Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) who was the right hand man to Julius Caesar. The interesting part is after Caesar’s death, Antonius formed in alliance with Octavian (Augustus) until there was a civil war which determined newly-named-Augustus as dictator. The question is though…will this tie into Antonius’ story line in the MJ films? I ask this because sometimes Suzanne Collins uses historical Roman names and their respective back stories when creating the characters IE. the fate of Castor and Pollux.

    1. Maybe Antonius abandons the sinking ship and tries to ingratiate himself with Coin and the new regime?

      In any case, I am glad that they’re adding scenes outside of Katniss’ POV, and I hope to see more of Peeta, Joanna and probably Annie (who needs to be properly introduced for her reunion with Finnick to be more emotional for the audience) in the Capitol. They should give the viewers an idea what they went through during those months. I’m also glad to have Snow more fleshed out. If Antonius is the minister of propaganda, which is quite likely, he probably won’t be directly torturing anyone, but he will be coming up with ideas. Maybe he’s the one who suggest the hijacking? Knepper great at playing devious characters,

      1. Of course! Thanks! Now it falls into place for me. He’s probably the one who *suggests* it, not the one who actually does it or administers tracker jacker venom. At first some said he was a doctor, so I pictured him as a scientist torturer, kind of like Dr. Mengele, white coat and everything. But he’s a Minister, so he wouldn’t be doing the dirty work. However, he might suggest or supervise it.

        He will probably also be an exposition device, since Snow doesn’t have Seneca or Plutarch anymore to talk about his plans to. I’d say it’s a fair guess Snow did a MAJOR background check on him 🙂

  4. OoooH Team Buttercup — I love your history references! Totally agree that the films have to deal with the consequences of war. I would not mind an R-rated version of Mockingjay, but Suzanne Collins believes that even really young kids need to understand what happens in wars, so maybe they will try to make the PG-13 designation happen for more important reasons than just the $$$.

    1. Haha thanks 🙂 If you type in the hunger games wiki, you can find out the actual roman figure behind each and every name. Suzanne purposely did this to show history repeating itself with the characters doing the same actions.

      President snow is based off the General Gaius Marcius Coriolanus who rose and fell from power. Plutarch is based off Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus who was a Greek historian (that’s why he knew about democracies in the past) and documented Coriolanus’ rise and fall.

  5. Love Knepper. Love the idea that they are going to show the torture. Not for the torture, for the growth of Peeta’s character. I also have no doubt, whatsoever, that Francis Lawrence understands our series after watching Catching Fire. So it will be great. lol

  6. I’m going to shamefully admit that I was so excited about Knepper’s casting (die-hard Prison Break fan here, I also tried watching The Cult for him but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations, and I still haven’t made myself to sit through the last season of Heroes), that it took me a while to register that Antonius is not an actual character in the books. Which just made me even more exciting.

    I’ve seen people moan about how this kind of character addition is only good for stretching the time frame and I sooooo disagree. By adding new content, new characters and new view points they’re actually making sure that the viewers won’t be bored out of their minds and won’t see extended scenes that go on forever just to fill those 2 hours or what (yes, I’m looking at you Deathly Hallows and your 5+ minutes running through the woods kind of sequences). And beside, some of the most brilliant moments of the movies came from fleshing out peripherial characters and adding new stuff. Like how genius was that they decided to introduce Snow’s granddaughter and what a punch that will make at the end of Mockingjay?!

    So yep, I have faith in Bob and I have faith in our screenwriter. And I just want a sneak peek at this movie already!

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