Spoiler alert! Gary Ross reveals the biggest challenges he faced making the book-to-film adaptation.
By Kara Warner, with reporting by Josh Horowitz
When it comes to “Hunger Games” news, we’ve had an embarrassment of riches lately, with lengthy interviews with stars Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson and director Gary Ross.
Now that we’ve had time to digest Ross’ revelation that there will be no Katniss voice-over in the upcoming film based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling dystopian novel, it’s time to head into full-on spoiler territory with a discussion of the most complicated scenes in the film. (Please heed this very emphatic SPOILER ALERT for those who haven’t read the books.)
“The tracker jacker sequence was one, that’s a vertical sequence literally staged over 100 vertical feet,” Ross said when asked which scenes that required the most care and consideration. “You have the Careers on the ground, you have Katniss up in one level of a tree, you have Rue up in another tree over here, you have the tracker jacker nest up here, and the crew is going up and down the tree the entire time,” he explained of a particularly intense scene set during the actual Games. “You have all these different axes to cut together into one suspenseful sequence, and you have CG insects, so this is not for the faint of heart. I think my shot list for that was 110 setups. We’re building scaffolding in the forest this was shot practically in trees. None of this was shot on a computer, so that was a daunting sequence that required a lot of attention.”
In addition to the challenges involved in the action-oriented sequences like the Tribute Parade and Katniss’ big “Girl on Fire” moment, Ross admitted that several of the “intimate acting moments” required the most attention.
“There’s a huge responsibility in shooting the death of Rue and what that means and the way Katniss honors that death by creating a memorial and the act of defiance that’s inherent in that and how that becomes a pivotal moment,” he said. “The moment when she’s about to eat the berries with Peeta at the end, these are moments when you get up on that day and you go, ‘OK, it’s berry day,’ ” he added with a laugh. “Stanley Kubrick had this great line; he said, ‘The toughest part of directing is getting out of the car in the morning.’ I’m so happy with [Rue’s death scene] and the Reaping.”
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