Gary Ross reflects on the impact of his film ten years later. “Sadly, I think his themes resonate more today than when we did.”
TMC reschedules tonight The Hunger Gameswhich celebrates its ten years of success in the cinema. Its screenwriter and director, Gary Rosswho was previously known for Pleasantville and Seabiscuitlooks back on its manufacture, its huge box office (nearly 700 million dollars in revenue worldwide) and its influences on the HollywoodReporter. He explains, for example, that he wanted to adapt Suzanne Collins’ novel when he saw that his children devoured it and talked about it all the time. He also remembers being amazed by the talent of Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role of Katniss Everdeen, or confirms that Woody Harrelson initially turned down the role of Haymitch before he manages to convince him to integrate this film thought of as the first part of a saga.
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Above all, Ross returns to the political and violent aspect of the books, once again justifying the fact of having showed little blood on screen to avoid being censored and to be able to offer The Hunger Games to a wider audience. This story of “Hunger Games” with teenagers, organized on television in a post-apocalyptic world of unevenly distributed wealth, has become an example of franchise “Young Adults” successful. Its imagery has also been reused during real social conflicts, its symbol of rebellion being taken up by thousands of anonymous people during peace protests held in Thailand. Ten years later, the director considers that it is this aspect that works best in his film, all political reflections having, according to him, even more resonance today than at the time.
“I think one of the reasons this franchise has been so successful is that the new generation feels they have to fight for their survival all the time, when that consideration seemed distant to some people, he explains when he is questioned on what in his opinion has made the success of Hunger Games. It has to fight against climate change, authoritarianism… this generation really feels these threats, this danger. Suzanne’s books talked about that, and it resonated with them. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to make this film. (…) Sadly, I think the themes of this film resonate more today than when we made it. When Donald (Sutherland, who plays President Snow, dictator of Panem in The Hunger Gameseditor’s note) talking about manipulating the masses through the use of false hope, it makes us shudder more. The whole carnival/reality TV aspect, which shows a certain version of the truth, then goes beyond its creators, it was the harbinger of our news. (…) On this film, I learned that the scale of a project does not prevent giving it an emotional value, that a certain truth can fill its narration. I also learned that the power of Jennifer’s performance was more important than any visual effect, and that shooting such a blockbuster is great, provided you ask yourself what is inside. That’s the lesson I learned from all of this. I am very proud to have diverted some obligations and finally managed to make a very intimate film out of it.”
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