Author: twiffidy

What A Catch, Hunger Games Fans

Liam may have won November, but you still have Mjolnir, Chris.

Liam may have won November, but you still have Mjolnir, Chris.

I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but I’ve been feeling a tad bit smug since The Hunger Games: Catching Fire came out. There are a few good reasons for it.

1) Catching Fire blew that other November sequel out of the water, both critically AND at the box office.

For those not catching my drift, I mean Thor: The Dark World. The first Hunger Games came out in March with practically no competition in sight, but we’ve known for a long time that Catching Fire would have serious competition with a Marvel sequel. But as soon as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire came out, it was a little like “Thor who?” And generally, Catching Fire is thought of to be the better movie (89% vs. 65% on Rotten Tomatoes if you want to quantify it). Catching Fire also took the November box office, even though Thor has been out longer.

2) We can finally stop hearing about the goddamn shaky cam.

Ok, that’s just one example. But, in general, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire seemed to take care of the most complained about parts, especially those from the type of viewer that might not be too familiar with The Hunger Games. That would be shaky cam (nixed) and visual effects (upgraded big time). I’ve always felt that Catching Fire would be the one to snag the more action-oriented moviegoer more so than the first, and I was proven right when several friends and family members who were underwhelmed by The Hunger Games told me over Thanksgiving how impressed they were. It took every bit of willpower I had not to dance around them singing “I told you so”.

Them: Catching Fire was awesome! Me: THEEEEEEEEEEENKSSSS

Them: Catching Fire was awesome!

3) Catching Fire seems to be less divisive than the The Hunger Games among fans.

Not that there aren’t any haters or mild complainers, because the movies can never be perfect for everybody, but I’ve noticed that people who have had serious problems with the first movie seemed far more content with Catching Fire. And that’s awesome!

So forgive us if we hold our heads high for a little while, at least until The Hobbit sequel comes out and has its day in the sun. It’s a good time to be a Hunger Games fan, wouldn’t you say?

Let’s just bask in the glory of it all, shall we?

A Weekend at Catching Fire Fan Camp

In order to score spots in the prestigious fan camp area of the Hunger Games: Catching Fire red carpet, I, along with the rest of the staff of Welcome to District 12, stayed two nights on Chick Hearn Ct. outside of the Nokia Theatre in LA Live.

Saturday started at 5:30AM, leaving early to make it to our 8:30 check in time with all of our stuff.


Our fansite friends, including fellow Victor’s Village staff members The Girl With The Pearl and Them There Eyes, arrived soon.


Good thing too since Willow Shields and Stephanie Leigh Schlund came to sign posters for fans.




There was also that Kindle Fire booth from the mall tour where we could take our pictures with Katniss.


After grabbing dinner, everyone took their camping chairs and blankets from the camping area to the square to watch the first Hunger Games movie. It was a pretty cool way to watch this movie we’ve seen so many times, considering it was a Saturday night and they were playing the movie in the midst of people heading to clubs and fancy restaurants.


The next day proved to be a big one, with even more Catching Fire people coming to sign posters for fans. We got to meet Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Jeffrey Wright, Josh Hutcherson, and Francis Lawrence, who are all awesome.




Throughout the day, the KIIS FM booth ran contests and giveaways, even a scavenger hunt that cause a kid to run up to us frantically asking for a belt (we thought at first he was trying to sell us one). The day ended with a dinner with the fansite runners that was delicious and fun.

At 5 AM the next day, we were all woken up by security to pack up and vacate at 6AM so they could set up completely for the red carpet later that day. Overall, the weekend was a lot of fun, and I would definitely camp again. It was great to be with the fans and to bond with others excited about The Hunger Games.

And So The Interviews Have Begun

Ah, finally. Cast interviews and press tour goings-on have started trickling onto the Internet, and it’s been worth the wait. Already, we have some fairly hilarious videos. Not that I’m complaining, but when did junket interviews start including playing games? Here are a couple revelations from what we’ve seen so far.

1) Jena Malone and Sam Claflin are the other Dream Team.

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 8.07.22 PM

Check out that Blue Steel look from Sam.

We got our first taste of this during the Fansite Roundtable interview with the two of them, but that’s not just a one time thing. They seem to have fun during their interviews together and can play off each other well. It kind of makes you expect to see that off-screen chemistry to translate to an interesting dynamic on-screen. And we know that if Jennifer and Josh are understandably busy, they can at least send Sam and Jena to keep us entertained in their stead.

2) Interview games tend to include white boards and vague rules.

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 8.15.20 PM

Here, write your answer on this white board! Why? I don’t know, just do it.

What’s the point of having teams if everyone is just showing their answer? It doesn’t matter, just go with it, it’s fun.

3. Francis Lawrence likes to talk a lot.

And thank heaven for that! For me, I like going into movies knowing very little, but Hunger Games fans are big worriers. Just hearing Francis Lawrence acknowledge some of our favorite, small moments from the book and indicating that those little things are in the movie gives me great hope, without completely ruining it. Describing Peeta’s touching speech in District 11 gave me a lot of feelings, and it’s nice to hear finally speak about Sam and Jena make the perfect Finnick and Johanna.

Pirate or Super Suave Director?

Is he a pirate? Is he flirting with Josh Horowitz? Either way, it’s great to hear from him.

4. And here’s the biggest revelation of all… The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is just around the corner! With interviews coming out, that’s the sure sign that we are almost there! Can you taste it?

Reduced to watching videos on my phone during breaks at work while coworkers look at me funny

The National Pastime

Josh BaseballBaseball. The great American pastime and the major sport that I happen to care the least about, much to the dismay of a friend who has spent every day of this year’s playoffs trying to get me interested. Don’t get me wrong, I know the rules and have enjoyed going to the occasional game in person, but there is something about putting a baseball game on TV that makes me fall asleep. I come from a basketball family, and having gone to a college that takes its rivalry football game super seriously, it’s just not really my thing.

So, of course, the final Catching Fire will have to debut during Game 4 of the World Series this Sunday. I’m in a fandom dilemma: do I really want to sit through a ball game for this? Thankfully, they have specified which inning it will air during (5th), so we don’t have a VMA situation where we’re forced to sit through practically the entire thing with no knowledge or hint as to when we’ll see it.

All of this aside, let’s ponder this for a bit. The Hunger Games to Panem is what baseball is to us, minus all the death. Did Panem have other “sports” or were the Hunger Games like their World Series? Coming from a Hollywood perspective, given the time of the year that Catching Fire comes out, airing during the trailer during the World Series is a pretty big gig (the Super Bowl is ideal, but not good, timing-wise), but the irony doesn’t escape me.

I want this movie to do well for all demographics, and this is a few notches above debuting on MTV. But will it be enough?

Take me out to the Hunger Games
Take me to the arena
Buy me some bread and an orange backpack
Because you care if I ever come back

The First Spot

Yesterday, the first The Hunger Games: Catching Fire TV spot debuted online. Set to Coldplay’s Atlas, the TV spot featured several scenes that had not been seen before, and fans went WILD.

Believe me, I don’t usually go on Walmart’s Facebook, but I did quite a few times last night. I felt compelled to watch it over and over again to catch all of the little things that I may have missed. When the first TV spots for The Hunger Games had shown up a year an a half ago, I don’t remember them having the kind of impact this one did. There was a lot more new footage than anyone was expecting, and the tone, helped along by Coldplay in a surprisingly not-cheesy way, was distinctly different from what we’ve seen so far.

The TV spot seemed to focus on how Katniss is doing emotionally, pulled in different directions by her feelings for Gale and Peeta and their feelings for her, her duty to her family and her public image for the people of Panem, not to mention dealing with the psychological aftermath of the Games. I’ve always wondered how all these things swimming around in Katniss’s mind would translate to film, and this was the first real taste of it. Finally we get to see the staple of Everlark in Catching Fire, Katniss and Peeta comforting each other from their nightmares. Who knew two seconds in a TV spot would wake a fandom up like that. And of course that one featured Capitol extra with the best OMG face stood out for everyone too. Was it just a reaction to the Mockingjay dress reveal or was it the baby announcement? Something important to note – it looks like the guy behind her is saying “baby”.

So enjoy, everyone! I personally can’t wait to see it actually on TV.

Carry your woooooooorld (carry your wooooooorld)

The Effects Are Bananas (B-A-N-A-N-A-S)

King_Kong_2005Watch out guys. In a recent interview, Francis Lawrence dropped the biggest news (to me, anyway) regarding The Hunger Games: Catching Fire that we’ve had in a while.

Will this one have better CGI?

Uh, yeah. I think the effects are phenomenal. If you know the book, there’s a monkey-mutt attack, and Weta, who did Rise of the Planet of the Apes and King Kong, did the monkeys for us.

WHOA! Hold up.

Weta refers to Weta Digital, a digital effects company co-founded by Peter Jackson, which is known for developing and utilizing ground-breaking technology and has done prestigious, award-winning visual effects work for so many movies, including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, The Avengers, Avatar, Iron Man 3, King Kong, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and so many others.

Weta's most famous contribution to pop culture

Weta’s most famous contribution to pop culture

Wait a second.

Are you telling me… that the monkey-mutts were done by a company who has done visual effects for movies that specifically require CGI monkeys and apes?

One criticism that was often heard among fans and non-fans alike is that The Hunger Games was a bit lacking on the visual effects side. Which, if you ask me, is all down to money. The budget for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire allows for a world-renowned visual effects company to step in and handle the CGI.

This news has made me a bit too excited about Catching Fire coming out. You know that the arena will be hidden from us for as long as Lionsgate can allow it, and I’m dying to know if my “just you wait for Catching Fire”‘s that I doled out to the skeptical masses have been proven right.

Kind of like this but less cars

Kind of like this but less cars

So be excited, guys! They’ll most likely not be as bad as the dog-mutts.

Did Andy Serkis mocap for the lead monkey-mutt for this too?

EW Covers Are Not “Ew”

Entertainment Weekly and The Hunger Games go together like pie and ice cream. Ever since we got our first look at Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, the magazine has given this fandom some great gems (Jennifer Lawrence toasting with “To Amelia Earhart, may she find her way” is a great example). Also, let it be known that I have an Entertainment Weekly subscription just because it was more cost effective for me than to keep going out and buying magazines with Hunger Games covers. So, of course, fast forward to now, pre-Catching Fire release, I was just waiting for their second The Hunger Games: Catching Fire cover – because let’s be real, we knew the first teaser one wasn’t going to be the only one. And we get four – yes, FOUR – covers to collect choose from.


We’ve got Katniss, sans braid, which we’ve been seeing a lot lately, her blown behind her. At first I thought that maybe they could’ve chosen a better picture, but the more I look at it, the more I’m digging the vulnerability in her expression.


For Peeta, I feel like it’s time to retire that pose for Josh Hutcherson. Poor Josh, they don’t seem to like having him look straight at the camera, he seems to always be looking up and to the side.


Sam Claflin as Finnick (yay, he gets his own cover!) is dead on in my opinion. That’s Catching Fire Finnick to me – smoldering and a little dangerous with something hidden. I’m crossing my fingers for this one; if it doesn’t come to my house I’m going out looking for it.


And Gale… in the arena. Okay, okay. I’m fairly confident that he’s in front of the arena background to make all the covers look uniform – no, I don’t really think he’s just going to randomly show up at the Quarter Quell. I really can’t wait for the Mockingjay movies so that Gale can stop looking out of place. But it’s just like with the chair pictures where, as a major character, he needs to be included in the major marketing. And the waves and rain are just added into the picture with Photoshop. We can live with that, right? (Everyone: Right.)

I really can’t wait to get this issue of Entertainment Weekly. November is fast approaching, and I’m ready to get into fangirl mode.

Oh and I’m sure the article will be awesome too

Casting Gemini

Castor and PolluxWhat are you talking about Twiffidy? There isn’t a Hunger Games character name Gemini!

Well, my friends, that’s just another name for them! On Monday, we got two casting announcements because one could not have been announced without the other. Wes Chatham was cast as Castor, and Elden Henson was cast as Pollux for Mockingjay. For those that need a refresher, Castor and Pollux were part of Cressida’s film crew as the cameramen for the propos, Katniss likening them to insects because of the shell-like apparatuses that were the cameras that they wore. They were brothers, and Pollux was an Avox.

Now there is another Castor and Pollux in Greek and Roman mythology, who Suzanne Collins no doubt named the characters after. They were also brothers – twins, but with different fathers. Castor was mortal, his father being Tyndareus, king of Sparta, and Pollux was a demigod whose father was Zeus. This is fitting with the Castor and Pollux from The Hunger Games since Castor dies during that nasty bit with the lizard muttations and Pollux survives. In Roman mythology, Pollux shares his immortality with Castor, and they become the constellation Gemini.


I know Wes Chatham mostly from small roles in The Help and the mini-series Political Animals. And this is not Elden Henson’s first time playing a “brother” since he played Fulton Reed in The Mighty Ducks movies, aka one half of the Bash Brothers. He’s also continued to act through the years and has had roles in She’s All That (another classic!), Lords of Dogtown (another favorite), and Psych (Tuesday the 17th, a classic episode), among many other episodes. Keep in mind that, given the assumption that with the inclusion of Pollux the Avox storyline will be touched up, Castor ends up talking for both of them through most of the story.


And before anyone complains that the actors aren’t twins, let me remind you that book canon does not confirm they are twins though Katniss remarks that they look similar. Not to mention casting twins is a difficult and often disappointing process, especially when they need to look a certain way. Let us all remember that they had to digitally put Armie Hammer’s face on another also attractive but unrelated person for The Social Network because the twins they saw were either not good enough or didn’t fit the physical description.

And with Castor and Pollux cast, that rounds out Cressida’s crew, and believe me when I say that I didn’t expect them to make it as featured-enough-to-be-announced.



Why Do We Always Forget About Lyme?

1208739_757525487597438_545165230_nWith Monday came another Mockingjay casting announcement: Lily Rabe will play Lyme. Now if you don’t know who Lyme is, don’t worry. You’re not the only one who’s forgotten about her. It’s been a running joke on HG Fireside Chat since for a brief moment, pretty much everyone forgot who she was when a listener asked about her. We didn’t even fancast her! And I wasn’t completely sure she was going to even make it into the movie.

So here’s a quick refresher. Remember in Mockingjay when Katniss goes to District 2, and they try to disable the Nut, leading to Katniss getting shot? Lyme was a past victor who joined the rebellion and became the Commander in District 2 during this time period.

Being a District 2 victor, it’s assumed that Lyme was a Career and even could have mentored Cato or more likely Clove. But she fought for the rebellion and was even high in rank, probably due to her victor status. As far as a physical description, Katniss remarks that she’s tall and muscular and is about a generation above her.

One reason that people seem to forget about Lyme is because she doesn’t end up voting for the Coin-proposed Hunger Games, so it is assumed she died sometime between the taking of the Nut and then. Because Katniss doesn’t say anything about her after District 2, not even an explanation for why Lyme isn’t around at the end, we as readers forgot along with her.

But hey, we won’t forget you, Lily Rabe! We’re excited to see what you can bring to fill this role out a bit. By several accounts, I hear you’re great on American Horror Story. And I may actually watch this season (I’ve been a big fat chicken and don’t like scary things).

And now I want some pie

That Scarf-Wrap-Sling Thing

scarfAs most of you know, I live in Los Angeles, which has been hot and humid and all kinds of gross to be outside in lately. This morning was the first morning I got even the slightest chill, so I am welcoming the cool, crisp weather of fall (let’s be real guys, I know that LA autumn isn’t exactly the same as autumn everywhere else but I’m talking in a relative sense) that is looming just over the horizon.

Back when the first non-mockingjay pin poster for Catching Fire came out, there were a lot of mixed feelings about it, but what pretty much everyone agreed upon was that the gray knit wrap she wore was AWESOME. And every year when it starts to get a little chilly, I like to think about my next knitting project.

There was something unbelievably District 12 about that article of clothing despite it not being, strictly-speaking, book canon. Whether it be the rustic, homemade feel of it, or the fact that, of course, Katniss would need a little more than her father’s hunting jacket to keep her warm, it seemed to fit. For some reason, it’s easy to imagine a trade at the Hob for wool yarn and Mrs. Everdeen painstakingly weaving or knitting that for Katniss. It’s easy to imagine knitting circles in District 12, especially the Seam, since it’s easy to assume that most clothing is made at home, not bought.

I’m hoping one of two things happens: 1) I miraculously come up with a pattern myself to recreate that piece of wearable art. I could theoretically comb through the knitting books I’ve been gifted throughout the years for inspiration. 2) Some person more talented than I could beat me to it. Wishful thinking, but crazier things have happened. Our fandom is a very talented bunch so it could happen.

Like I said, I’ve found my project for the upcoming fall/winter. It’ll probably be a poor imitation, but here’s to hoping.

Then there's this project.

Then there’s this project.

Now I need twenty cats all named Buttercup