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March 13, 2012

‘Hunger Games’: Fan appetite for story, stars still growing

Posted in: Fans,Movies

"The Hunger Games" stars Josh Hutcherson, Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth at the movie's world premiere. The black carpet event was at Nokia Theatre on March 12. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Liam Hemsworth said he drew from the trilogy's second and third books "a little bit" to craft his performance of Gale. "It’s nice to know what the character’s full arc is gonna be," he told Hero Complex, "but as we’re shooting the film, we’re kind of sticking to the one script." (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Meeting a fandom devoted to a beloved book is nothing new for Toby Jones, who voiced Dobby in the "Harry Potter" films. He noted that compared to those loyal to the boy wizard, "Hunger Games" fans are "slightly older I think, to begin with – maybe. Just as intense. At the moment, very American." In "The Hunger Games," Jones plays games announcer Claudius Templesmith. (Matt Sayles/AP)

Amandla Stenberg, who plays District 11 tribute Rue, said of taking on the role of a fan-favorite character, "I think there was a pressure to make sure I stayed as true to the book as possible, and I hope fans really like it." The 13-year-old can probably rest assured that she's gained some fans, as she said of the premiere, "I wasn’t expecting it to be this crazy. To think that people are screaming because of me is, like, an ‘Oh my God’ moment." (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Isabelle Fuhrman, who plays District 2 tribute Clove, has read "The Hunger Games" 13 times. "I am a true fan. If I was not here [walking the carpet], I’d be either across the street or in that pit with everyone else," she said. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Dayo Okeniyi, who plays District 11 tribute Thresh, said, "I’m still getting used to that whole experience" of fans screaming his name. "I had to make up an autograph, like, a couple months ago." (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Actor Jack Quaid finished reading the book about a month before the film’s production began. “It was this crazy, cool imaginary world on paper, and then about a month later, there it was. I could touch it. It was exactly how I’d imagined it,” said the actor who plays District 1 tribute Marvel. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The female-dominated crowd at the premiere was full of Effie Trinket fans who repeatedly yelled "We love Effie!" Some made a poster that read, "Tri-Delta loves Effie." The actress playing the character, the escort for District 12 tributes, wore a bright orange dress to the premiere. "I really wanted an Effie-esque look tonight. I’m very inspired by her love of color," Elizabeth Banks said. (Mark Davis/Getty Images)

Alexander Ludwig, who plays District 2 tribute Cato, poses with fans at "The Hunger Games" premiere. (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Liam Hemsworth, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson smile for a sea of photographers. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

You can find our team coverage of “The Hunger Games’” world premiere over at 24 Frames  but, in short, the scene was something that could have been staged in the Capitol, the sleek, over-the-top city of sensory overload from the books. “A little bit like this,” producer Nina Jacobson said as she took in the scene.

The crowd was dotted with fans taking fashion tips from the “Hunger Games” world —  some wore flamboyant Easter-egg colors with long black gloves and hairpieces of purple feather or bright blue tulle; others went for the heroine’s battle-ready ensemble of French braid, orange-lined black jacket and archer’s bow.

The most popular symbol? Mockingjay pins (or necklaces or T-shirt logos or hair accessories) , of course, which were worn by fans, staffers and even some members of the press. The stars themselves didn’t seem to get the memo, however, with the exception of Dayo Okeniyi, who plays District 11 tribute Thresh. “I thought we would all be wearing them today,” Okeniyi said. “And I came out and no one’s wearing them, and I’m like, ‘Guys, it’s a no-brainer.’”

Director Gary Ross knows he has a hit on his hands at this point but on Monday he said he never pinned his hopes on a blockbuster success. His goal was always to find the authentic voice and vision of author Suzanne Collins.

“This is something I felt strongly about doing because I really love the books. I see no reason to adapt something that you want to depart from,” Ross said. “You have to honor it, you have to be faithful to it, but that comes from wanting to do it and loving the material, and I loved it from the outset.”

Jacobson, who also produced the book adaptations “One Day” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” shared advice about how to bring a beloved novel to the big screen: “A movie doesn’t have to be just like the book, but you want it to feel like the book,” she said. “You want to see the characters that you love, and you want to see that people respect what you love and that they don’t take it casually.”

“The Hunger Games” opens March 23 and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson. Read more of what the stars told Hero Complex at the premiere in the gallery above and learn what they had to say about Jennifer Lawrence on fellow Times blog Ministry of Gossip.

– Emily Rome

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