Moviegoers have to wait until March 23 to get a full-blown look at the world of Panem in the big-screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins' best-selling "The Hunger Games," but a group of enviable sweepstakes winners recently got to walk in Katniss' footsteps during a behind-the-scenes visit to the North Carolina set. Keep reading for their exclusive scoop and impressions of the Training Center and Gamemakers' Headquarters!
Alexander Swenson (USA):
Upon arriving to "The Hunger Games" set, ideas about what part of the "Hunger Games" world I was going to see kept swirling through my head. Would I be part of the group sending Katniss off to her death? Or building up my strength in the Training Center with the other tributes? Would I be escorted into the confines of the Capitol for the first time like Katniss did after her departure from District 12? Or staring up at the Cornucopia, juggling my options of whether to run or fight for supplies, all while the countdown strikes down to zero. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I was excited.
To say that I was amazed would be an understatement; I was more than just amazed, I was stunned. We got a glimpse and a behind-the-scenes view of several set locations, which included the Gamemakers' Headquarters and the Districts, and a full tour of the Training Center. It was remarkable how something I read several months earlier on paper could be translated into reality. I remember talking with several of the actors and how they said the Training Center “was their playground” and on their first day, how they “spent a majority of the day just climbing around and checking it out." It was truly fascinating.
All the actors were very friendly. Even the director, Gary Ross, came over and gave us a huge welcome. A majority of the cast stayed around with us when they weren’t filming and made sure to point out all the cool stuff that they’ve become accustomed to. I feel like I know almost every nook and cranny of the Training Center thanks to them! They made us feel like an honorary member of the cast for the day.
When I saw the trailer for the first time, I was astonished. I probably watched it enough times to make my computer want to give out and never turn back on again. Right now and in the future, every time I watch the trailer, see the movie, and beyond, I can say that I met those actors, talked with them, and experienced their lives. I can tell people that I was at the Training Center and stood in the center, that I saw the set of the Districts and the Gamemakers’ Headquarters, and that I experienced, first hand, the "Hunger Games" world. I can shout out to everyone that the odds were definitely in my favor!
Sam Solomon (Canada):
The trip was an experience of a lifetime! It was inspiring to see the positive atmosphere Gary Ross created.
My favourite thing about the trip was that the young actors we met were all so welcoming and friendly; it was impossible not to get along with them.
Ever since I watched the trailer, I can hardly contain myself; it looks incredible! It reveals a perfect amount for fans of the book because it doesn't show the "how will they do that" parts like the flaming entrance dress, but they showed little, interesting things, like the hovercrafts and Rue's song.
I was worried that it would be tough to describe what the Games were, but the trailer does it perfectly for anyone who hasn't read the books!
I can't wait for March 23!
Philippa Davey (UK):
The trailer looks completely awesome—and it made my eyes well up. It has captured the spirit of the books to the letter and the casting is amazing.
We saw a tiny bit of the trailer being filmed—the portion where Katniss is running down the blocks—and it was just so exciting to see it in the trailer. It made the whole experience seem real somehow! I literally cannot wait until March to see the film; it comes across so movingly.
I would say it reflects what we saw—which was mainly the Training Arena on the day we were there, and the fabulous, enormous interior set built for that.
I was so thrilled to see the film developing into a very moving and exciting story without losing one iota of the drama and emotion of the books.
Natasha Raynor (Australia):
We saw the training sessions being filmed so it was amazing to see elements of these in the trailer. We also met Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson on set, so it was great to see them in character!
I was amazed by the secrecy and seclusion of the set. It was surreal and so much to take in. It was great to meet people from the other countries who were also big fans of the books too.
Amelie Murmann (Germany):
Before I visited the set of "The Hunger Games" movie, I was afraid that they'd maybe not get the message of the books. Or that the actors won't be able to really BE that role. But now, I'm sure, that the movie is going to be just perfect! I've met the actors of the tributes and they are all fitting perfectly! And they're also nice and open and...just the best! That day was fascinating and reassuring and... *sigh* perfect!
And now I've seen the trailer, which convinced me even more. Whoever made the decisions about the scenes in the trailer did an amazing job. I also LOVE the music, because this epic story would be nothing without the right music, right? And I like how they've shown the whole story of the first book without showing too much footage of the Arena. This movie's gonna be great and I'm definitely gonna go watch it more than once. Okay, okay, more than three times...probably around 10 times... Or more...
Are you even more excited about "The Hunger Games"? Sound off on the set visit tidbits in the comments section and on Twitter!