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Production Notes
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Rating: PG-13 

Run time: 142 minutes

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Peterson Jennifer Huppert

P: 310-255-5066 P: 310-255-3999

E: E:



Jennifer Lawrence

Katniss Everdeen

Josh Hutcherson

Peeta Mellark

Liam Hemsworth

Gale Hawthorne

Woody Harrelson

Haymitch Abernathy

Elizabeth Banks

Effie Trinket

Lenny Kravitz



Stanley Tucci

Caesar Flickerman


Donald Sutherland

President Snow

Wes Bentley

Seneca Crane

Toby Jones

Claudius Templesmith

Alexander Ludwig


Isabelle Fuhrman


Amandla Stenberg


The Filmmakers

Directed by

Gary Ross

Screenplay by

Gary Ross and

Suzanne Collins and

Billy Ray

Based on the novel by

Suzanne Collins

Produced by

Nina Jacobson

Jon Kilik

Executive Producers

Robin Bissell

Suzanne Collins

Louise Rosner-Meyer

Director of Photography

Tom Stern, AFC, ASC

Production Designer

Philip Messina

Edited by

Stephen Mirrione, A.C.E.

Juliette Welfling

Costume Designer

Judianna Makovsky

Executive Music Producer

T Bone Burnett

Music by

James Newton Howard

Co-Executive Producer

Chantal Feghali


Aldric La’auli Porter

Martin Cohen

Louis Phillips


Bryan Unkeless

Diana Alvarez

Sound Design & Supervision

Lon Bender

Visual Effects Supervisor

Sheena Duggal

Casting by

Debra Zane, C.S.A.


War. Terrible war. Widows… Orphans… A motherless child… This was the uprising that rocked our land.


13 Districts rebelled against the country that fed them... loved them... protected them...


Brother turned on brother until nothing remained.


And then came the peace… Hard fought… Sorely won. A people rose up from the ashes. And a new era was born.


But freedom has a cost... When the traitors were defeated, we swore as a nation we would never know this treason again...


And so it was decreed that each year, the various districts of Panem would offer up in tribute one young man and woman, to fight to the death in a pageant of honor, courage, and sacrifice.


The lone victor, bathed in riches, would serve as a reminder of our generosity and our forgiveness.


This is how we remember our past.

This is how we safeguard our future.

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games.  A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains.
Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in her younger sister’s place to enter the games, and is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy when she’s pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives.  If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
THE HUNGER GAMES is directed by Gary Ross, with a screenplay by Gary Ross and Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray, and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel, the first in a trilogy published by Scholastic that has over 36.5 million copies in print in the United States alone, has developed a massive global following. It has spent more than 180 consecutive weeks/more than three consecutive years to date on The New York Times bestseller list since its publication in September 2008, and has also appeared consistently on USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. *
* Book sales figures taken from Scholastic Media Room

( and last updated April 9, 2012


The only thing stronger than fear is hope.”

-- President Coriolanus Snow, THE HUNGER GAMES

In the ruins of the land formerly known as North America, the annual Hunger Games are about to get under way – and 16-year-old contender Katniss Everdeen has only the remotest chance of beating the fearsome odds. Like most of the nation of Panem, Katniss lives in one of twelve enslaved districts, ruled over by a mystery-shrouded Capitol, which after decades of chaos and war, now suppresses the people under the thumb of a harsh yet decadent dictatorship. Every year, on Reaping Day, each of the districts must choose, by lottery or volunteer, one boy and one girl to represent them in the Capitol’s twisted idea of grand entertainment that proves its total control, while also giving the famished populace the faintest ray of hope to hang onto. These are the Hunger Games -- an intense gladiatorial competition between 24 adolescent warriors known as Tributes, broadcast live on TV until only one survivor remains . . . and once Katniss is entered there is no turning back.

On this day, in District 12, the unthinkable happens – Katniss’ little sister, Primrose, whom Katniss has helped to feed and care for much of her life, is chosen for the Games. In a brave, self-sacrificing move that she knows might seal her fate, Katniss volunteers to take her sister’s place. Instantly, she and her new co-Tribute, the baker’s son Peeta Mellark, are taken into custody, whisked to the Capitol, thrown into glamorous makeovers and grueling training, readying themselves to be pitted against the ruthless “Career Tributes,” who hail from the wealthier districts and have prepared for these Games their entire lives. In the days to come, under the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy, Katniss will sharpen her instincts, hone her archery skills and focus her growing strength and will on what seems to be the task at hand: stay alive at all costs.
But as she enters the forested outdoor arena as a surprise leading contender in the Games, Katniss begins to see that far more than the promise of fame, fortune and existence itself are on the line. For if she is to win, she will have to make decisions both defiant and heart-rending, weighing survival against humanity, safety against trust and life against love.
THE HUNGER GAMES is directed by Gary Ross, with a screenplay by Ross and Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray, and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. The executive producers are Robin Bissell, Collins and Louise Rosner-Meyer. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Wes Bentley, Toby Jones, Alexander Ludwig, Isabelle Fuhrman, Amandla Sternberg, with Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland.
The behind-the-scenes team includes Oscar®-nominated director of photography Tom Stern (THE CHANGELING, MILLION DOLLAR BABY); editors Stephen Mirrione, an Oscar® winner for TRAFFIC; and Juliette Welfling, an Oscar® nominee for THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY; production designer Philip Messina (OCEAN’S TWELVE, OCEAN’S THIRTEEN); 3-time Oscar®-nominated costume designer Judianna Makovsky (SEABISCUIT, HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE, PLEASANTVILLE) and composers T Bone Burnett (Oscar® winner for CRAZY HEART) and eight-time Oscar® nominee James Newton Howard.

Welcome to the intense reality of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who must try to survive – by sheer wits and will alone – a future world that is at once high-tech and apocalyptic, glitzy and primal, unsettlingly dangerous and a telltale mirror to our own. Unfolding entirely through Katniss’ intimately personal POV, THE HUNGER GAMES reveals how this miner’s daughter from a dark future transforms from a mere pawn in a lethal televised contest to a soulful, sacrificing heroine who comes to realize that she has even more to protect and fight for than her own family.
Few who have encountered Katniss have been able to resist the visceral excitement of watching her find her strength, resolve and heart while under the most extreme pressure a teenager could imagine. This was certainly true for the production executives at Lionsgate Entertainment. For them, Katniss’ journey jumped off the pages of Suzanne Collins’ literary sensation THE HUNGER GAMES with such beauty and force, they felt instantly it deserved to be captured on screen.
When producer Nina Jacobson had bought the rights to the novel in 2009, THE HUNGER GAMES was just beginning to find a devoted audience. Jacobson brought it to Lionsgate’s film executives Joe Drake and Alli Shearmur, among other studio executives, and they instantly became obsessed with Katniss and her journey.  It was only as development began that the popularity of the books swelled in tandem with anticipation of the movie.  Millions began to wonder how a filmmaker might bring to life Collins’ fresh twist on a sinister future and – most of all – bring to life the complicated but gutsy heroine who made the book’s adventure feel so harrowingly true. 
Ultimately, Lionsgate and Jacobson put together a team, headed by visually bold director Gary Ross, that was equally compelled by Katniss’ arc and how her evolution as a human being touched millions of readers. The idea behind the screen adaptation was to visually get inside Katniss’ head, and ultimately her heart, the same way that Collins had done in words. In that way, the film would not only capture Katniss’ battles with her fellow Tributes in the Games, but would also mine the rich themes Collins had explored through Katniss’ life-changing experience: personal sacrifice, star-crossed love and the question of where our current society might be headed.
Katniss’ world was initially inspired, Collins says, by her fascination with the ancient Greek myth of Theseus – who every nine years sent a phalanx of young boys and girls into a deadly labyrinth to fight the monstrous Minotaur. It was equally influenced by her experiences channel-surfing through an unsettling blur of reality TV and war coverage, wondering what this mix of entertainment and true-life terror boded for the future of society. Together, these two ideas added up to the birth of Katniss Everdeen – who enters a violent and mythic future from a perspective unlike any other. Her adventure in the Capitol of Panem, once she takes her sister’s place in the Games, might have the breathless pace of a sci-fi thriller, but it is at heart about a girl coming to grips with the moral dilemmas of power, injustice and self-preservation at the same time in life as she is also discovering love, independence and her own identity.
A former children’s TV writer and a mother of two, Collins found a way to make Katniss’ world feel so deeply personal that readers couldn’t help but imagine how they would feel in her place – as she is first driven to save her sister, her family and herself, but then begins to see the glimmer of a chance to make a difference for others across the shadowy landscape of Panem.
Collins was not afraid to take Katniss into risky terrain, because she knew teens were already grappling with these questions in the world around them. In her book proposal for the series, Collins wrote: “Although set in the future, THE HUNGER GAMES explores disturbing issues of modern warfare such as who fights our wars, how they are orchestrated, and the ever-increasing opportunities to observe them being played out.” Yet she also balanced that with Katniss’ growth and evolution into someone as courageous and principled as she is stubbornly tenacious. She noted that Katniss, though initially “distrustful,” takes from this adventure “a deep capacity to love and sacrifice for those few people she cares for.”
The success of THE HUNGER GAMES hinged on readers identifying with Katniss -- and that is exactly what happened. The book was soon being passed from hand-to-hand, reader-to-reader, developing a devoted following that flowed into the culture at large. Author Stephen King dubbed Katniss a “bow-and-arrow Annie Oakley,” The Atlantic Monthly called her “the most important female character in recent pop cultural history” and The New York Times praised Collins’ “convincingly detailed world-building and her memorably complex and fascinating heroine.” Stephanie Myer, author of the TWILIGHT series, blogged: “The story kept me up for several nights in a row, because even after I was finished, I just lay in bed wide awake thinking about it.”
Once word began to get out about the books and the impending movie, their popularity began to spread like wildfire. When the film went into production, there were about 8 million copies of the novels in circulation; by the time production wrapped there were 12 million and now the number has exploded to over 36.5 million. The first novel has since spent more than 180 consecutive weeks and more than three consecutive years to date on The New York Times bestseller list (stats as of February, 2012). Collins went on to write two more best-selling books in the series, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, which established Panem as a realm that has taken up permanent residence in the popular imagination.
Early on, Collins made the decision to entrust Katniss and the re-creation of her life in Panem to Lionsgate because she liked their hands-on approach, accessibility and commitment to the spirit of the story across the entire top tier of Lionsgate’s film group. “Everyone we needed to get the movie going was right there on the phone,” she recalls. “The studio was small enough for that to be possible and I felt it would be our best chance of seeing the story become a film.”
Lionsgate made it their mission to show Collins that they would be faithful to her vision for how to bring the book to the screen. “Suzanne thought we were the House of SAW,” recalls Joe Drake of his first phone call with the author, “but we convinced her that we could sensitively and accurately handle the material, citing our work on such films as the Academy Award®-nominated PRECIOUS and Best Picture winner CRASH.”
Nina Jacobson was equally impressed with Lionsgate’s passion for the project. “I felt so connected to it and I was certain that there was a great movie to be made -- but one that had to be treated with care,” she explains. “I made a very passionate case to Suzanne that her vision needed to safe-guarded and Lionsgate gave us their full support for a faithful adaptation that would not be about blood and gore, but thematically driven.”
Collins was likewise gratified by Jacobson’s contributions. “Of all the producers we met, I felt Nina had the greatest connection to the work,” says the author. “I believed her when she said she would do everything she could to protect its integrity.”
From the beginning, Drake, along with Lionsgate’s President of Production Alli Shearmur and marketing head Tim Palen, had lovingly referred to Suzanne as ‘Mother Hunger Games.’ Their most important aim was to stay true to their word to her about how the book would be treated, and their choice of director was the first – and maybe the most important – decision they’d make on the path to honoring that commitment to Suzanne and her book.
The process of safeguarding the story and the character of Katniss began with choosing a director that would bring the story to life technically, but more importantly, emotionally. Their choice was sealed when Gary Ross showed up for the first meeting with Lionsgate prepared with extensive storyboards, and a video presentation of real kids talking candidly and passionately about why they love the book so much.
Explains Shearmur, “After this show of tremendous understanding and sensitivity, we all agreed that Ross was the man for the job. He’s known both for the fantastical vision of PLEASANTVILLE and the visceral emotions of SEABISCUIT, and it was that balance that was so essential to this film.”
For Jacobson, Ross had the perfect blend of epic and intimate storytelling skills to immerse the audience directly into Katniss’ most subjective experiences. “Gary is not just a director but a writer/director and that was an important distinction for this movie,” she says. “Getting the book right was such a big responsibility, and Gary’s understanding of how Katniss’ POV had to be the heart and soul of the story was spot on. He really connected with Suzanne, and they ended up writing the script together. Most importantly, while Gary has amazing visual ideas, he always knew this story had to come from a character place. So he approached it in such a way that characters drive the suspense at every turn and the audience has the chance to experience this world completely through their eyes.”
Ross then brought on board producer Jon Kilik, with whom he had collaborated on PLEASANTVILLE. He, too, was won over by the book. “It has elements of classic movies that I’ve always loved, from REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE to THE BREAKFAST CLUB, blended with a dystopian vision of where our society could be headed. I found that to be an amazing mix and as soon as I read it, I told Gary I was in,” Kilik recalls. “I’ve known Gary since 1997 and I knew he was the right choice for THE HUNGER GAMES because he has children who love the book, and because he has this very rare and unique ability to evoke both teen angst and alternate worlds. Even though this story takes place in the future, I think Gary perceived that it’s more reflective of today than you might think – and that’s why people, not just kids but adults too, really connect to Katniss and Panem. Katniss is trying to survive a tough world of game playing and manipulation, just as we all are.”


Gary Ross first witnessed the impact of THE HUNGER GAMES and Katniss Everdeen on his own children. “I’d heard people raving about THE HUNGER GAMES and when I asked my kids about it, they kind of exploded and started going on and on until I had to stop them from telling me the whole story,” he recalls. “Their enthusiasm was so infectious, I went upstairs, started reading, and by 1:30 a.m., I said ‘I have to make this movie.’ It was that impulsive.”

Right away, Ross had an unwavering vision of what lay at the heart of THE HUNGER GAMES’ appeal. “My mind was clear from the beginning,” he says. “I saw there was something really beautiful happening underneath the story. It’s obviously a viscerally exciting tale of survival within a lurid spectacle of the future. But I think what really compels people to pass the book from one person to the next is that it is at bottom about one girl, Katniss Everdeen, finding her own humanity. She begins as someone who only wants to fight for herself, for her personal survival – yet what she finds in the course of the Games is something more important than even staying alive. Her heart opens and she becomes someone who’s willing to sacrifice for something bigger. “
He continues: “The essential thing is that you are in Katniss’ shoes. In SEABISCUIT, I wanted to viscerally put the audience on the racetrack. In THE HUNGER GAMES, the audience has to be in Katniss’ head. You know what she knows. You don’t know more. You’re in this experience 100% with her. To that end, the film required a very subjective style. It had to be urgent, immediate and tightly in with Katniss the whole time.”
His desire to bring Katniss’ quest for survival and something more to life might have been instantaneous but Ross has a long history of bringing imaginatively detailed and never-before-seen worlds to life on screen. It began with his Academy Award®-nominated screenplay for BIG about a child transformed into a man; evolved with his directorial debut PLEASANTVILLE, which he also wrote, about two teens transported into a 1950s sitcom; and continued with SEABISCUIT, which he wrote, produced and directed, taking audiences into the fabric of the Great Depression through the unlikely story of an underdog racehorse.
Ross was now ready to tackle creating Panem – entirely as it would be viewed by Katniss as she travels from her remote, hardscrabble District to the eye-popping Capitol, and into the unforgiving forest where the Games begin, her perspective broadening at every step. He began by going directly to the source, inviting Suzanne Collins to collaborate on the adaptation, and to bring all her deep insight into the Games and Katniss’ vital inner life with her. “It wasn’t just that Suzanne was involved. We became a writing team,” states Ross. “It was a fantastic, electric partnership. To know that you are writing a film not only supported by the author but with her input is a real gift.”
Recalls Collins: “Gary wrote a draft which incorporated his incredible directorial vision of the film and then he very generously invited me to work with him on it. We had an immediate and exhilarating creative connection that brought the script to the first day of shooting.”
Collins understood that the film would necessarily be its own experience, no matter how faithful to the book’s essence. “When you’re adapting a novel into a two-hour movie you can’t bring everything with you,” she notes. “Not all the characters are going to make it to the screen. For example, we gave up Madge, cut the Avox girl’s backstory, and reduced the Career pack. It was hard to let them go but I don’t think that the choices damaged the emotional arc of the story. Then there was the question of how best to take a book told in the first person and transform it into a satisfying dramatic experience. In the novel, you never leave Katniss for a second and are privy to all of her thoughts. We needed to find ways to dramatize her inner world.”
As Ross and Collins worked through these challenges – as well as the question of how to present the violence that is so much a part of what Katniss faces in an appropriate yet impactful way for a PG-13 audience – they came to admire each other’s creativity. “Gary was a complete pleasure to work with,” sums up Collins. “Amazingly talented, collaborative and always respectful of the book.”
Everyone involved was excited to see their collaboration blossom. “Suzanne left it to Gary to interpret the mix of casting, photography and production design, but she also supported him artistically,” explains Jon Kilik. “While Gary made sure all the futuristic ideas and clever designs from the book are there, the screenplay he and Suzanne wrote is really about relationships, family, survival and the story of a girl trying to find her way home.”
For Ross, the screen adaptation had to start with the world that has made Katniss who she is: Panem, a dystopian future realm which owes a debt to classic sci-fi influences from George Orwell to Margaret Atwood, yet that Collins made specific to both a 16-year-old’s view-point and our current moment in American culture. “The back story of Panem that has to be alluded to is that a variety of forces -- global warming, scarcity of resources, lengthy wars, all these things – ripped away at what used to be American culture and culminated in a very oppressive state. When the districts rebelled, the Capitol instituted the Hunger Games as a means of control, to keep the people in line,” explains Ross.
Both Ross and Collins wanted to highlight the way the Games amplify today’s obsession with reality television into something that puts Katniss and her fellow Tributes in mortal danger. As sinister and despised as the Games are, people across Panem nevertheless get caught up in them because they yearn to see someone they relate to triumph and have his or her life transformed.
“The Games are like a Roman spectacle but they’re also a lot like the reality TV we see right now,” comments Ross. “People are riveted by the Games because we all have this need to root for someone to make it. When President Snow says ‘the only thing stronger than fear is hope’ it’s because he knows hope is what gets people so involved in the contest. It’s one of the brilliant things that Suzanne does in the book – she shows how the best way to control people is not to subjugate them but to get them to participate. That’s how the Capitol uses the Games to control the districts.”
Ross also began to envision the physical architecture of the Capitol, which he knew had to radiate authority to Katniss but also reveal the cynical decadence of those who would prosper while she and others struggle. He and Collins agreed the city should be rooted in history, not fantasy, even as it nearly overwhelms Katniss in the beginning. “We wanted the Capitol to give off a sense of its past,” he explains. “If you look at any seat of power -- from the Brandenburg Gate to Red Square -- it’s open space punctuated by buildings of tremendous mass. That was our idea behind it. To Katniss, it all evokes a sense of might and power.”


In District 12:
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