Alan Ritchson

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Review

Don’t worry, you’ll still get your reaction post! It just so happens that we’re all so busy seeing the movie, we can’t find a time for all three of us to get together and TALK about it. It’s a good problem, no?

In the meantime, we’re going to give you a conventional SPOILER-FREE review to go alongside the reaction post to come!

Effie, bigger and bolder!

Effie, bigger and bolder!

Let’s start from the very beginning (a very good place to staaaaart)! When Katniss and Peeta win 74th The Hunger Games and return to their new home, broken and distant. They’ve survived, but they’re tentative friendship turned showmance is tepid at best after Peeta learns Katniss’ true motivation. Not to mention that they’re both plagued with PTSD.

It all leads up to The Victory Tour, which is where Francis Lawrence really gets to sink his teeth in and show us what this movie is made of. We don’t see much of the individual districts, but we’re offered a few shots that serve as shining examples of the bigger budget and Francis’ eye for detail.

Gale gets his rebellion on

Gale gets his rebellion on

This movie is mostly character driven, which we found super refreshing. Without adding significant film time (THG and CF are actually the same length), we see Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Effie, and Show’s roles expanded. It’s not just extra lines– the characters seem richer, with deeper personalities and more individual significance outside their relationship with Katniss and Peeta. Some people weren’t thrilled that other scenes were fast-moving, but we think it was worth it to get some character development in there.

It’s at the end of the Victory Tour that we meet Plutarch Heavensbee, portrayed with gusto by Philip Seymour Hoffman. You can’t help but marvel at his unprecedented political savvy and manipulations. He doesn’t lose his cool for a single moment and meanwhile, we were totally freaking out.

Chemistry-wise, the relationship between Katniss and Peeta seems more organic and palpable this time around. It goes without say that Jen and Josh are both extremely talented actors and dear friends in real life, which translates beautifully. That being said, Catching Fire is significantly more Gale-centric. Jen and Liam have presented a strong case for Kale/Gatniss/whatever else we want to call them. Their relationship plays off as a look at two friends falling for each other, brought together by the stress of impending rebellion, but still plants hints of what’s to come in the Mockingjay films.

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Family feels

When the Third Quarter Quell is announced, we finally get some new victors! And what a group they are! Sam Claflin is our Finnick. He embodies the character’s dramatic preening and sensitive soul with a stunning fluidity that we doubt we could have gotten out of many of the laughable fan suggestions that came out during casting. And it doesn’t hurt that he is really, really, ridiculously good-looking. Jena Malone is able to capture Johanna’s anger with such ease and honesty that you know it’s her true spirit, not just an act. Jeffrey Wright gives a master class in acting as he transforms so perfectly into unusual techie extraordinaire Beetee, but Amanda Plummer gets the scene-stealer award for her zany portrayal of Wiress. And Mags? Forgetaboutit! We all want to adopt Lynn Cohen as our new grandma!

With a more appropriate level of violence this time around, the Career pack actually felt menacing. Bruno Gunn’s guns and his expert snarl were intimidating. Meta Golding has the Enobaria growl down to a science. And despite being living barbies, Cashmere and Gloss were surprisingly badass. However, this group did feel a bit under-utilized given that they were meant to pose an immediate threat to Katniss’ life.

New-Official-stills-catching-fire-35696751-500-310

We feel you, Johanna!

The ending is heart-breaking and devastating and everything we ever wanted it to be after reading the books! We’re not saying the movie was perfect down to the very last detail. There’s a lot to consider and we’re sure everyone will find a little something to gripe about (Don’t we always?), but this movie is an extremely faithful adaptation and for us, the clear winner of the franchise so far. Though we loved Gary Ross’ work, Francis Lawrence provided us with a smart, pulse-pounding, emotional journey that had us thanking him by the end.

How Many Days Until Mockingjay Part 1?!
The Girl With The Pearl

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Part of The Experience: The Los Angeles Premiere of Catching Fire

Being separated from my iPhone is proving to be a specific kind of anxiety I’ve never experienced before in my life. Thus is the rule however: When you attend a studio sponsored premiere of a major motion picture that’s touted to be one of the biggest box office draws of the year, you’re required to check your phone at a security check point, or entrust it to the confines of the walls of a friends over priced hotel room. The JW Marriott in downtown Los Angeles, California is enormous with over 20 stories of height to its name, it’s also painfully modern, with an ample use of glass and steel in its inner and outer design scheme, and its shiny cream-colored floors, and sumptuous carpets lining its corridors scream, “luxury! Luxury! Luxury!”, and just because my butter yellow iPhone 5c was being housed there for over three hours, luxurious amenities included or not are not making my anxiety any less great.

This is how I spend most of the evening, in a near constant state of anxiety, fear, and of course tempered excitement. Movie premieres are an everyday occurrence in Los Angeles, but I do not live in Los Angeles, and therefore movie premieres are not an everyday thing, or nuisance according to locals, to me. Yes, because god forbid they have to walk around the block to get to the Staples Center, and not cut across the plaza directly outside The Nokia Theater. Walking seemingly to the average Los Angeleno, at least from what I’ve gleaned, is about as pleasant as getting a bikini wax. And considering the amount of swimming pools in the metro area, a lot of bikini waxes are experienced on a daily basis in greater Los Angeles.

LA Live is buzzing, the plaza that so many wish was open for

LA Live

LA Live

cutting across to the sporting arena, is laden with red carpeting, cameras, screaming fans, famous, and also famous-ish people, and lots and lots of industry professionals that only deal with the behind the scenes. Almost the entire expanse of the plaza is blocked off by barricades, except to one side where sleek black town cars drop off a staggering stream of actors, actresses, and sometimes singers. The air is charged, and the never smiling guards all in black, holding their ever-present walkie-talkies, surround the area and act as an odd blanket to the atmosphere. I am allowed nowhere near the inside of this activity heavy place, I am not special enough, I am an out-of-towner who writes for a fan blog.

Eating and drinking is just something that’s not going to happen apparently, I came to this conclusion twice today: Once when the makeup artist I had paint my face earlier that day didn’t secure my stark red lipstick with the layering methodology I knew would ensure its not being mussed by anything short of a nuclear attack, and now. I’m sitting in Wolfgang Puck’s with nine other people, and I can’t seem to get the waiter’s attention to give me a much-needed straw so I can attempt to sip at the likely room temperature tap water he plunked down in front of each of us, once he realized that the lot of us were not ordering dinner, but finger food, or nothing at all– like me, because food smears unsecured lipstick. I totally get why he could care less about treating me like I exist, because I’m not obligated to tip him– straw or not. I want to get out of this restaurant, it’s loud, actually all the restaurants I’ve been to over the last three days have been loud, either the music is blasting right on the unfortunate edge of the need to shout almost everything you say to the person next to you, across from you, or standing behind you as they take your over priced order of humus and pita bread, or everyone has decided that that’s the night to have the loudest conversations they’ve ever had ever. Nope, it’s the music’s fault.

Walking in six-inch heels is not as easy as it sounds. Wait, it doesn’t sound easy, does it? ‘Cause if it does the world is likely ending, or worse. Rephrase, walking in six-inch heels with ankle straps that are too tight, and rubbing your skin raw— is difficult. The majority of the group I am with have walked the length and breadth of most of LA Live three times in the last two hours, and no, we have not been seated inside the theater yet, that’s next on the agenda. The night has taught me many things and most of them are things I never wanted to learn, like that stairs are evil when you’re traversing them in six-inch heels, because this is just something you never have to think about when you spend majority of your time in nothing that resembles six-inch heels. Stairs are even more evil when studio executives are probably walking behind you, and talent from the film are meandering in from the Red Carpet after grabbing a complimentary Dasani from one of the many concession stands inside the lobby of the theater. My anxiety only increases after I’ve found my seat in row H in the orchestra section though, especially when I see Alan Ritchson walking up the aisle, greeting people he knows with his impossibly white smile, and helping his heavily pregnant wife into a seat three rows or so behind mine. I try not to look around me like a Meerkat, because people watching at a Hollywood movie premiere is like shooting fish in a barrel, and my eyes keep wanting to fall on people like Matt Damon, who I heard is in the vicinity, and Donald Sutherland– who I know is. I refrain from craning my neck around, and restrict myself to only looking to my left, my right, and to the front of me. My friends have no qualms about looking around like hungry children standing in front of a sweet shop window though, and when one of them declares that Bruno Gunn is seating himself a few rows behind us, I break my promise to myself and glimpse him for a brief moment, I quickly turn back and force myself to focus on the Yahoo! Livestream showing on the massive screen 8 rows in front of me, because it feels like I’m spying. There is nothing normal about this entire experience, and odder still is that a year and a half before I was in the same building one level up, my eyes taking in the blur of colors that was the talent, the executives, and the family and friends of those involved or half involved with the film, below me. A year and a half before we were seated in the Screaming Section, this year we’re 20 feet from the actress cast as Annie Cresta, and the fictional president of Panem. When the head of Lionsgate finally takes the stage, I’m ready to burst.

 

That’s all for now folks! Hope you liked my experimental style with this one. I am actually a fiction writer at heart, and this is what’s lovingly referred to as– Creative Non-fiction.

Them There Eyes

Catching Fire Premiere: “The Village Is Livin’ in the Hood”

We won’t talk about the movie! We won’t talk about the movie! Won’t talk about it! Won’t! But OH MY GOODNESS, WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE. Some of you are seeing it right now (!!!!!!!!) and others are on their way to the theater soon, so we’ll keep our mouths zipped until then!

So let’s talk about something awesome, but also less spoiler-y. We attended the freaking Catching Fire premiere!

The title quote came from a teenage boy we encountered while walking from our hotel to Nokia LA Live, where Catching Fire Fan Camp was held, in our Victor’s Village t-shirts. We were less than a mile away, but apparently if you’re less than a few blocks away, you’re in an interesting section of town! Who knew? However, it may have been worth it for that quote!

Without getting into too much detail (because other VV writers will later), Fan Camp was a blast! I met both Them There Eyes and Twiffidy, along with several other fansite friends, for the very first time and all of them were incredibly fun! It feels so good to geek out with others who understand what it’s all about.

And then… PREMIERE DAY!

Prep team hard at work!

Prep team hard at work!

Let’s preface this by reminding everyone that I am from Boston. The city may get referred to as “Hollywood East” thanks to all the recent filming in the area, but what happened on November 18 felt just about as far from my hometown state-of-mind as I could get.

For starters, we had our own prep team! We headed to Capella Salon in Studio City, where Tate, Brendan, and Tina, the very talented friends of Amie and Sheila from HG Girl on Fire, made us premiere ready. It was all very Capitol, which I chose to embrace it for the day and just allow myself to get girly! Mostly because it’s kind of nice to have someone mold your unruly hair into perfection and then declare it “so Hunger Games.” I HAVE MY WEAKNESSES.

This was quickly followed by that dress I begged my fashionable friend to help me shop for before leaving and my killer red heels– No seriously, when I woke up to catch my flight home on Wednesday, I was pretty certain I would being losing my right foot in the name of the Catching Fire premiere.

On the Red Carpet!

On the Red Carpet!

We were asked to take part in the Yahoo! Catching Fire livestream, which seemed really cool even though we didn’t quite know what it entailed. Turns out not having your phone on the red carpet for security purposes and not knowing exactly where to meet Lionsgate reps to go on air don’t mix well, but after half-running around a building in said killer heels, we made it into the red carpet! There’s I proceeded to do the “I don’t know what to do with my hands” dance in front of an international audience at about the 7 minute mark. The questions were mostly what I expected them to be, which is pretty simplistic as to not be spoiler-filled. It’s hard not to look like a vapid fangirl when answering those types of questions, but we pulled it off okay!

SKIPPING THE MOVIE. Because because because I have to. I’m doing this for your own good!

The after party. It was something out of this world. Them There Eyes always says “If you’re going to go Capitol, GO CAPITOL.” Well, they listened. The party took place in a giant tent with the Mockingjay symbol lit up on top. The entrance was a red carpet surrounded by timpani drummers like those used during the Tribute Parade scene. Lights shined down and danced around the room. White roses floated in massive glass columns and lined the walls in fancy bouquets. For a better visual, check out this video!

Francis Lawrence

Francis Lawrence

I spent most of the after party gawking alongside Arianna and Aldrin of Down With The Capitol. At one point, we realized we were a few feet away from Francis Lawrence. We wanted to thank him, but there’s this funny thing in Hollywood where almost everyone but us had no real problem interrupting his previous conversation to grab him and start a new one. We literally stood two feet from Francis for about 20 minutes before getting a chance to say something without completely interrupting a previous conversation, which could have been with studio reps, for all we know. We thanked him for the what he did with the movie (we think we will too, once you see it!) and he seemed so genuinely pleased to hear we liked it, which was brilliant.

Also stopping to have a brief chat with Francis was Alan Ritchson. To confirm all your suspicions: Yes. He is, in fact, a real life Ken doll. It’s like he’s right out of Life-Size, guys!

Bruno Gunn

Bruno Gunn

We caught Bruno Gunn by the bar, where he was drinking water and I was drinking liquid courage. He talked to us about loving the books and why he chooses to be so active among the fans. It comes down to this: This man really recognizes what a wonderful, unique experience this is and he wants to delve into every moment of it. He was so enthusiastic about the fan base that it kind of blew my mind. It’s not something you see everyday.

Then we saw the crowd. There were two couches forming a circle and in the middle of it all, Sam Claflin. But not just Sam! He was accompanied by Stef Dawson, who will play Annie in the Mockingjay films! For the record, Stef is so small and adorable. She looks so young that I maaaaaay have mistaken her for some rich execs’ little daughter at first. Shhhhhh! But she was just about the sweetest thing ever and now we’re even more excited to see her in Mockingjay!

Sam Claflin and Stef Dawson

Sam Claflin and Stef Dawson

It took a lot of patience, but eventually we were able to snap a photo with them and talk. Poor Sam was obviously exhausted, but he handled the social aspects like a champ: Talking about the movie, giving love to the fanbase on behalf of the whole cast and telling us how bummed he was that we couldn’t meet the other leads (who were whisked away to promotional gigs on the other side of the country almost immediately after finishing with the red carpet). He joked about not being hot enough, to which Amie calmly replied “I’m going to give you a minute to take that back.” I admitted to him that some parts of the movie had me physically shaking (a bit embarrassing, in hindsight) and he cheered “Then we did our job!”

We know that celebrities are just people, but they’re people who don’t normally talk to me. So it was really freaking cool and also surprisingly intimidating, even though they’re all really nice.

We didn’t find out until after the fact that Suzanne Collins was also in attendance. From wherever you are reading this right now, you can probably hear our hearts breaking into a thousand tiny pieces. She’s the one person we REALLY need to thank, since she inspired all this from the very beginning. We think she already knows, though.

We get jaded about the fandom sometimes, we’ll admit it! It’s not perfect, for sure, but we are so damn lucky to be a part of it. Not just because of “perks” like these, but because the fansites were able to share it all together. This fandom has so many amazing people in it. Some of them are (semi) untouchable actors, sure. But some of them are you and I.

Thanks For Always Making This Worth It,
The Girl With The Pearl

P.S. There’s a couple more after party photos under the cut!

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Catching Fire Character Chaos

This week, The Hunger Games fandom was blessed with TWENTY new stills from Catching Fire via The Hunger Games Explorer!

Besides being really choice photos of the actors, we think these photos reveal a lot about the characters and what THEY have to say! So we took a shot at translating some character thoughts presented in these images. Enjoy!

Katniss Everdeen Jennifer Lawrence Catching Fire

“I’m trying to stay cool, but I’m pretty sure this full body suit just split down the middle…”

Josh Hutcherson Peeta Mellark Catching Fire

“And suddenly that ‘lean muscle’ workout seems like a really bad idea.”

Alan Ritchson Gloss The Hunger Games Catching Fire
“You should try years of steroid use and scowling instead. Does me wonders.”

Sam Claflin Finnick Odair The Hunger Games Catching Fire
“I’ve seen almost everyone in this room naked… and let’s just say those steroids aren’t doing much for Gloss where it counts.”

MORE MADNESS BELOW THE CUT!
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The Days Before Trailer Day

88dfada702bd9c8078bd8ad092857d36The last week has been a whirlwind of activity, actually the last two days have been– but who’s counting! Yesterday three fourths of the Careers showed up on the Comic-Con floor to sign large scraps of paper (posters), books, perhaps body parts, for a clamoring audience of thousands. I’m speaking of course about Meta Golding, Stephanie Leigh Schlund, and Bruno Gunn– Alan Ritchson is I’m assuming still shooting the Ninja Turtle movie, therefore he couldn’t make it. That’s right, our Cashmere, our Brutus, and our Enobaria braved the throngs, and finally got their first in person taste of just how crazy Hunger Games fans can be. Yep, because only a few hours before they hit the floor, but were in the city proper, the San Diego Fire Marshall shut down the Lionsgate booth, because the fervor for Catching Fire Mockingjay pins was so thick, that they deemed the area unsafe. How’s that for an introduction to our special breed of crazy, yeah– and all for a few measly scraps of metal? They seemed to have taken it in stride though, and eventually the craze seemed to die down to a more manageable level. At least that’s what I’m hoping. That was only day one of Comic-Con though, and while day two didn’t have as much of a Catching Fire presence, those who are still in attendance at the Con are possibly just eking by on the anticipation for the main event happening tomorrow. That or they’re still high off of the Veronica Mars panel, The Games of Thrones panel, The Walking Dead panel, the Orphan Black panel, and of course The City of Bones panel. Damn, that’s a lot of panels, hope they’re all well hydrated.

Trailer Day 4.0 is nearly upon us, and I’m calling it 4.0 because this would be the 4th

Bruno Gunn, Stephanie Leigh Schlund, Courtney Custodio, Tiffany (Twiffidy) Gustanski, and Meta Golding. Photo courtesy of Welcome to District 12.

Bruno Gunn, Stephanie Leigh Schlund, Courtney Custodio, Tiffany (Twiffidy) Gustanski, and Meta Golding. Photo courtesy of Welcome to District 12.

Trailer Day on record for this fandom. I think we’re a little excited for it, and I’m pretty sure those who are camping out in the line for Hall H right now as I type, would be counted in the crowd as “excited”. Some of our dear friends are in that line braving sleeping in shifts on the ground, urban camping you might say, and holding their pee in for hours most likely. All I got to say about that is, I hope none of them come out of this experience with a bladder infection, have things like laptops, iPads, DSLR Cameras, or Smartphones stolen– because sidewalk sleeping even at Comic-Con isn’t the safest place in the world. Yes, even if Joss Whedon of Dear-God-Where-Have-You-Been-I-Shouldn’t-Have-To-Tell-You-Who-He-Is, is known to stop by at 3 am, and give campers cupcakes– true story.

Our Twiffidy is in that throng of sidewalk sleepers, so to that I say– you’re a braver woman than me, good-night, and good luck, I wish you dreams of Finnick Odair in only a strategically placed fishing net.

Them There Eyes

What Else They’re Doing

nextI don’t know if you’re aware of this or not, but the people who make up the cast of The Hunger Games franchise are pretty damn busy lately, and I don’t just mean Jennifer Lawrence. Although Jen probably wins for most busy though. Why? ‘Cause they wrapped on re-shoots for Catching Fire only a smattering of weeks ago, and now she’s jetted off to Boston to film another film with David O. Russell at the helm, Bradley Cooper will also co-star (third time’s the charm?), Jeremy Renner, and none other than Christian Bale is playing her husband. After that project wraps, I’ll make the educated guess that she’ll be off to Vancouver, B.C. to film her second X-Men film. Busy Bee, we should just call her that now, and she wouldn’t even be able to call foul, ’cause it’s so true, she’d probably cheer us on, and then ask for a Bud. Jen’s not the only cast member though, obviously– so who else is racking up the projects? Well, pretty much all of them!

Let’s start with the most random! Ashton Moio AKA, District 6 Tribute Boy was on HBO’s The Newsroom last season, and his character even had a name, which was Lester, he even had lines, and he didn’t die– it was awesome. Ashton deserves a slow clap for that, or maybe for being the guy with the audacity to hit on Sloan Sabbith (Olivia Munn) in the middle of working out a story, all whilst stuck on the tarmac at JFK International Airport. I am slow clapping my ass off right now, ’cause he was hilarious. Really– everyone go catch up on The Newsroom before the second season premieres later this year (probably August).

Next we have fan-favorite Dayo Okeniyi, and yes– I still have to look up how to spell his last name every single time I have to type it out. I’m sorry, Dayo, but that’s a lot of vowels. Anyway, aside from Dayo’s unique last name with all the letters that trip me up, he has been really really busy since the summer before last, otherwise known as The Summer of The Hunger Games. Actually it’s not known as that, I just made that up, but it sounds better than the summer of 2011. Back to Dayo! After Hunger Games wrapped Dayo went and made a whopping four films! I say whopping because four films in two years, means– well, a lot of time being four different people. He’s an actor, that’s what he does– pretends to be other people. A little fandom-crossing may be in the mix as well with the projects Dayo let justin-timberlake-team-up-with-ben-affleck-in-runner-runnerbarrow his talent, The Spectacular Now, which premiered at Sundance this past January, well– it stars Sheilene Woodly, also known as Triss from Divergent. And if you consider John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars to have a fandom, or just Nerdfighteria, Sheilene was just cast in the lead for the adaptation of that masterful novel. Other works in the works for Dayo are a horror film called Slew Hampshire, which I’ll probably never see– ’cause I don’t like horror. No, not because it scares me, because I find it entirely predictable, and laughable. What’s next? Ah yes, a guy-centric film appropriately titled Cavemen, that one’s starring Skylar Astin, AKA Jesse from Pitch Perfect. It looks like it could be an examination on the hopelessness of being a young man living in the 2010’s, also Chad Michael Murray is co-starring, which that freaks me out a little bit. The most interesting project on Dayo’s short but notable dossier, is his most recent project, Runner Runner, what makes it interesting is the starring roles are filled with names like Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlack, and Gemma Arterton. I’ll tell ya’, I’m intrigued just by seeing those names, synopsis of the project is this though, “a businessman who owns an offshore gambling operation finds his relationship with his protégé reaching a boiling point.” I’ll see it, hell– I’ll probably see it opening weekend.

What’s next!? Okay, this might kick Ashton Moio off the most random pedestal, because if you didn’t know it already, Alan Ritchson, our dear, shiny, strong jawed, Gloss, as well as our funny man (he’s really funny, check out his Twitter), has been cast as the voice of Raphael in the new Ninja Turtles re-boot. Also, before he did Catching Fire, he made a film with John Goodman called Spring Break ’83. I may have to see this film just because it takes place the year, and probably the week I was born.

I’ll be honest this one gets me really excited, guys! Jeffrey Wright, our Beetee, has taken a recurring role on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire! I love this series, it’s executive produced by Martin Scorsese, and Mark Wahlberg– which if you haven’t been paying attention for the last 30 + years, produce very good films, and television shows. Any who, about Boardwalk, it’s a period piece set in prohibition era Atlantic City, New Jersey, it’s amazing, and it also stars Steve Buscemi. Wright’s going to be Boardwalk-Empire-boardwalk-empire-16631480-1600-1200portraying a shady sort, as pretty much everyone on the series is, but even better he’ll be a “philanthropist who controls Harlem.” Shivers just ran down my spine, because not only were the 1920s ripe with the on-set, and/or invention of organized crime, but they were also the birth of so many American cultural markers, like The Harlem Renaissance, the popularizing of jazz, and the beginning of the rise of some of the great American novelists we still consider great today. So, Wright’s going to be fictionally rubbing elbows with likely cultural icons like Langston Hughes, or even Louis Armstrong, which means a wider audience might be exposed, or re-exposed to this age of rich cultural goodness. Color me happy!

That’s all folks!

Them There Eyes

Capitol Portraits: The Minor Issue

If you’re reading this, you probably spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about The Hunger Games… or you’re looking for photos of Jennifer Lawrence naked or fictional character porn (those are still among some of our most popular search terms, so now we can’t stop making fun of people for it, which leads more people looking for these things here. It’s a vicious cycle!) We’ve read the books. And re-read. And re-read probably several other times. We remember all the tiny details. We analyze it all. WE REGRET NOTHING.

Naturally, we want the Hunger Games movies, as well as the advertising campaigns behind them, to be as thorough as possible. We want all the things. Sadly, fans need to realize something really, really important if we want to keep our sanity: We won’t get everything we want!

We get it! We like looking at pretty people too!

We get it! We like looking at pretty people too!

When the Capitol Portraits were released this past week, There was a bit of an outrage when President Snow turned out to be the last one. What about Enobaria? What about Blight? Where are the morphlings?

We can’t wait to see these characters in the movie too, but let’s all calm our ovaries here. These aren’t the tribute headshots released for the first film, which were probably from hair, makeup, and costume test shots. The Capitol portraits are elaborate, filled with drama, fashion, nuance, and high caliber chairs! We’re also guessing they ain’t cheap!

Most importantly, the Capitol Portraits tell a story about each character. In one snap we see who they are, where they came from, and why they’re important to the books. Every character is important in their own way (which is kind of like when your elementary school teacher explains that everyone is special), but some are not as important as we want them to be.

Hilarious, but not quite the same!

Hilarious, but not quite the same!

Bruno Gunn, for example, is our homeslice. He already reads our posts and tweets us pretty regularly. We do a happy dance every time while outwardly pretending it’s no big deal (HI BRUNO!) Naturally, we’d love to see him get a Capitol Portrait, but the thing is that it’s not HIS portrait, it’s his character’s. Brutus is a big ol’ Capitol lackey from District 2. He’s a not-so-centralized part of the pre-Games events, then he causes some chaos in the arena, then PEETA KILLS HIM. That’s about all we got. It’s not much to go on. What would his outfit be and what would it say about him? What would his chair allude to? How would his alliances be depicted?

As much as we wonder about Wiress and Cashmere and Gloss’ studly shoulders, there’s something to be noted about these characters. They are MINOR characters, ones that don’t even make it to Mockingjay. You can love them (we do!) but Lionsgate isn’t going to concern themselves with getting new fans to fall in love with them.

When Catching Fire comes around, those minor characters you’ve been waiting to see will still be there. By November, we bet you’ll even be glad that all of their details weren’t given out in the very first advertisements (disappointingly early release of the wedding dress, anyone?!)

Take It Down A Notch! They’ll Still Be In The Movie!

The Girl With The Pearl

Not So Hidden Talents

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but the cast of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire are pretty damn talented. Now, I don’t mean just simply at their chosen professions, i.e. acting, I mean some of them are good at things outside of the speaking words written by someone else, and acting out the situation and/or emotions of those words in front of a camera, and also probably a whole bunch of people. I mean that several members of the cast on top of being able to do the whole talking and emoting in front of a whole bunch of people– also a camera, can do other things. But just who are these illustrious cast members, and what is it that they do so well outside of acting?! Well, just for your eyes and ears only, and perhaps a few thousand, maybe a million people (I don’t keep track of numbers, numbers are evil– there are never enough in my bank account), I give you Alan Ritchson singing his heart out!

The video above was recorded in 2010, but Alan’s been working on a singing career for years, he even made it onto American Idol a few years back. I’ve never seen American Idol personally, singing competition shows aren’t really my thing I can safely say, unless you count the news. I mean damn, that Richard Engel, he’s just the cats pajamas, right? Anyway, Alan’s got a nice set of pipes, and apparently this outside interest keeps him occupied between scenes.

alan

Speaking of staying occupied between scenes, that’s a nice segue to our next talented cast member, the affable Miss Jena Malone! Or, well– I assume she’s affable, she certainly seems it in interviews, and on le Twitter. To get on with it, Jena’s a photographer, which I have to say intrigues me, because I am one as well, only Jena’s style is extremely different from my own. Jena loves to use layers in her work, and filters, and just take what’s probably a very simple shot, and turn it into something complicated, and visually rich, and stimulating, and also sometimes a little confusing. Jena makes art, and I have to applaud her for not only doing that in her acting career, but with her photography. And now I will say if you live in the Los Angeles area, or are going to be in the Los Angeles area, and you’re not one of the types who goes totally crazy when they see an actor they admire in person– Jena’s trying to put together a gallery showing of her work in January. So, if you’re a photography fan, or just an art fan– I say go see her stuff in person, there’s nothing like seeing work you may have only ever seen on a 13 inch lap top, blown up and on a wall. adcc19acf60911e1b7ea22000a1d0321_7

Other cast members have talents, but personally– I think the most notable one is Jennifer Lawrence’s uncanny ability to memorize dialog from movies like Dumb and Dumber, as well as Anchorman.

Them There Eyes

The Newly Crowned Clown

Sometimes there are unexpected gems unearthed in the slowly being erected foundations of this wonderful thing called The Cast of Catching Fire, and those gems are not only the über class some of these people bring to the table, acting talent wise that is. However, after careful examination there are a few real diamonds in the rough, and some of those diamonds are members of the cast who’ve deemed the wonderful place known as Twitter, as a playground for their aimless, sometimes enthusiastic, sometimes ridiculous thoughts. Last summer when the cast of The Hunger Games was established, and then almost all the Tributes’ Twitter handles were revealed– most of us went along and followed them. I always felt a bit strange following a bevy of teenagers personally, but I sucked it up and followed the boys and the girls from District 1 to District 11 (Josh Hutcherson didn’t start using Twitter again until 2012.), thankfully the boy from District 11 was, and is very legal– so, I didn’t feel completely weird about following him at 23-24 years of age. Others though, I just don’t think I can ever feel truly comfortable following someone who’s not old enough to get a drivers license. Although, I’ve made the exception for Willow Shields, and Amandla Stenberg.

For me, and maybe for some of you out there, one of the more appealing things about the cast of Catching Fire, is the fact that everyone who’s been cast so far is an adult, and we no longer have to avert our eyes when they do or say something questionable– wait, I personally still have to do that, ’cause I still follow some of last years Tributes. This time though, or this summer– no one in the new cast has done, or said anything too off kilter, and like I said above– some of them have turned out to be gems. Not that it’s a contest or anything, but some of these people are better at using Twitter than others, and in that sense– I guess there sort of is a contest going on, but maybe we shouldn’t tell them. So, without further ado, I bring you a comprehensive list of who’s best/better at using Twitter in the cast of Catching Fire!

She Sings, she acts– she’d rather use Facebook!

 Coming in last place is unfortunately Ms. Maria Howell, aka @MariaSingsActs. Maria’s Twitter timeline for the most part is tweets asking people to go like her Facebook page– which defeats the purpose of having a Twitter, doesn’t it? Does for me, but I don’t matter– do I, do I? Perhaps the limitation of 140 characters to express her self has proven too daunting, I know I didn’t get a hang of it for a while. Time will tell if Maria’s tweeting skills advance over the span of the next year, ’cause being part of this project is likely to change her life, and possibly her Twitter habits.

Next up is another lady, Stephanie Leigh Schlund, aka

Gym shoes!

@1StephanieLeigh! I’m sure she’s a sweetheart, and she’s very thankful for the complimentary tweets she’s received from fans after being cast, and judging by her tweets of the last day or so, she really loves her sister. However, and this is going to sound awful, all she’s tweeted lately are glamorous Instagram’s of herself. Survey says, I need more substance than tweeting about finding her gym shoes, her appreciation for the congratulations on being cast in what’s sure to be one of the biggest money making films November after next. I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt, especially since it looks like she took a break from the Twitter-sphere somewhat recently, and just got back into it.

Brutus Brutally Loves Hash-tags

I’m happy to announce that Bruno Gunn aka @BrunoGunn is a laugh, and I’m not pulling anyone’s invisible tail when I say that. He’s probably the most enthusiastic Tribute to be added to the roster, and man does he love a hash-tag! Bruno’s a fan of not only hash-tags, he’s also a fan of replying to fans, and also– the man likes puns.

Running ahead of Mr. Gunn is of course our

He knows how to waste time on Le Twitter like the best of ’em!

dear, and newly crowned Finnick Odair– Sam Claflin aka @samclaflin. Sam’s Twitter avatar pretty much says it all, he’s jocular, and yep– he knows how to carry on an almost hour-long Twitter-wide conversation about combining different words into drunkenly hysterical matings. Also, he’s apparently not afraid to start singing to himself in public when he’s bored, alone, and did I mention bored… whilst at the airport. Sam gets a very shiny, completely non-existent silver medal for knowing how to use 140 characters, and use them well.

Don’t be fooled by the jawline, he’ll make you laugh your face off.

Which brings us to the winner of this non-contest! But here it is, or he is– Mr. Alan Ritchson aka @alanritchson. Alan is kind of a master at tweeting, perhaps it’s his song-writing skills being put to use, or the training he received whilst being part of a comedy television show– but damn-it-he’s-just-fuckin’-funny! Personally, I was not expecting him to be the winner of this non-contest, but he so is, because he goes and says things like, “all the training I’ve been doing has rendered the lower 98% of my body useless. I’m thirsty, I’ll drag myself to the sink by my face now.” Or this glittering jewel of hilarity he tweeted just today, I warn you now to read the caption first. Okay, and not only is he hilarious, but he’s also an expectant father who tweets about putting up animal decals in his unborn child’s room, which of course makes anyone with a soul let out an “awwwwwe”. So, there you have it– Ritchson wins the shiny, shiny gold! I cannot wait ’til he makes me despise his character like Xander Ludwig did last March, thus making me admire him for not only being funny, but being a talented actor — Alan I mean. Okay, Xander as well, can’t forget good ol’ Xander!

Th-th-th-that’s all folks!

Them There Eyes aka @Rebekahdg

Justifiable Casting

This week’s been an odd one in the magical land of Catching Fire Casting News! I think the majority of us got quite comfortable with getting one casting announcement per week, but not only did we get one casting announcement this week, nope– we got four. Are we satisfied with our Chaff, our Enobaria, our Brutus, and our Gloss, though? I am, but one particular casting is making me sort of nervous, and also making me question the yet to be confirmed, and announced casting of the most anticipated character yet to be revealed to us– Finnick Odair. And the particular casting that’s making me all twisty in my stomach in both good and bad ways, is the casting of Alan Ritchson, as the District One male tribute for the 75th Hunger Games, Gloss.

Just look at that man! That’s a man right there, the kind of man that gets sculpted into 10 foot tall marble statues, and envied, and drooled over by every man, woman, and child on the planet with one or two working eyeballs. And I have to say, Googling pictures of him for the last two plus days has both been a joy, and a mounting source of depression. I’ll just say it! How the hell are they going to top casting someone like Alan Ritchson as Gloss, and then go and cast someone potentially like Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair? I don’t like making any of this about looks, but it’s justifiable to cast a man with a body and a face like Ritchson’s as Gloss, because Gloss is for the most part a body and a face, but when Finnick Odair is supposed to be the most desired man in all of the country, and he’s standing in close proximity to a near perfect human specimen, like Mr. Ritchson as Gloss– the believability in Finnick’s mass appeal will go down astronomically I predict. So, yeah– I’m nervous, because all rumblings, twitterings, spewings of rumored castings that have been as heated as Mr. Claflin’s, usually turn out to be true. Just think back to the rumors about Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Jena Malone– those rumors were loud, and they weren’t just saying “they auditioned!” Nope, the words being printed were “offered the role.” and “In talks.”

A week ago I was all for Claflin, I like the guy, he’s a talented actor, and I know that he can handle the emotional performance aspects of Finnick, he can also handle the charm, the humor, and the intelligence. But, yes– when you stand him next to Mr. Ritchson, at 6 foot 2 inches tall, and reportedly almost 250 lbs– you’re not going to be staring at Claflin, who’s only about 5’11, and whose weight is unknown, but I’m going to guess he’s probably about 160 to 172 lbs. I’m baffled, I’m staring at Mr. Ritchson with his perfect teeth and abs, and then looking at Claflin and going– “I’m sorry, I don’t want to see you in a golden net tied at your hip, unless you go on a fish, chicken, and broccoli diet, start flipping a 600 lbs tire down a deserted beach, and basically become best friends with a retired Navy Seal who likes to yell at you, or y’know– in a pinch, Ryan Lochte, and Michael Phelps.” Which is not happening, because I follow the guy on Twitter, and he’s having beer and Olympic viewing nights with friends. Which brings me to the confusing information that Claflin is in South Africa right now filming a made for TV movie, and Catching Fire’s production schedule is starting this month as well. Color me totally and completely confused.

Consolation prize in all of this is seven tiny words, John C. Reilly, and Taylor Kitsch. And the non-consolation prize, why isn’t all 6 foot 5 inches, and 220 lbs of talented, intelligent, and charming Armie Hammer available?

Them There Eyes