Playing 'The Hunger Games'23 May, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey, Erik Gruenwedel
Teen box office blockbuster will be Lionsgate’s biggest ever home entertainment release
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Lenny Kravitz is a musician, not an actor. So when he got a call from Hunger Games director Gary Ross about a part in the film, he was more than a little dubious.
“I was living under a rock,” said Kravitz, speaking shortly before the film premiered in theaters. But then he got his hands on the Suzanne Collins novel, pulled an all-nighter reading it, and “called him the next day [to accept].”
“I’m not used to movie sets. This is new to me,” Kravitz said. “It was so much wonderful fun.”
Each actor in the blockbuster film has their own unique tale about how they signed on, and it seems every one of them knew it would be both a success, both critically and financially ($1 billion at the global box office, including $400 million domestically). Lionsgate brings the epic to DVD and Blu-ray Disc with midnight launches Aug. 18.
“It was so much fun. I knew [Ross] would treat the material with such respect,” said Elizabeth Banks, who plays the outlandishly dressed and oblivious Effie Trinket, whose costumes will probably be well represented come Halloween, Kravitz said.
Banks had read the books “long ago” and literally stalked the producers of the film to get the role. “I devoured these books,” she said, adding that with her character’s unique look, make-up was a treat, not a burden.
“It’s really fun to watch yourself disappear in the mirror every day,” she said. “My looks get a little bit more outrageous as the movie goes on.”
Banks singled out the performance of actor Donald Sutherland, who plays the evil Coriolanus Snow, president of the country Panem, but it was the lead, Jennifer Lawrence, and her portrayal of young Katniss Everdeen, that caught the attention of actor Wes Bentley.
“She carries the movie on subtlety,” said Bentley, who plays the doomed Hunger Games game master Seneca Crane. Kravitz, whose daughter is friends with Lawrence, simply called her “a ridiculously good actress.”
The two-disc DVD (plus digital copy), two-disc Blu-Ray (plus digital copy), VOD and digital download include three hours of previously unavailable bonus materials.
The discs include a comprehensive eight-part documentary, “The World is Watching: Making of The Hunger Games.” Other special features include a sit-down conversation with director Gary Ross, as well as numerous featurettes that examine the global success of the books, the creation of the control room in the film and the filmmakers' motivation behind creating new scenes that were not in the book.
The Blu-ray Disc set contains an additional exclusive feature, “Preparing for the Games: A Director's Process,” which looks at the progression of taking three key scenes from the book to the screen.