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[Movies] Donald Sutherland Discusses The Hunger Games
Posted by George H. Sirois on 03.14.2012

During a recent interview, Donald Sutherland discussed his role of President Snow in the upcoming blockbuster adaptation The Hunger Games. Here are some highlights:

His initial thoughts on The Hunger Games: This script came and it seemed to me that it was a game changer. That it had the possibility, if it were properly done, to catalyze, motivate, mobilize a generation of young people who were, in my opinion, by and large dormant in the political process. You have Occupy Wall Street and all that, but it has a limited base or it seems to have a limited base. And I hoped and I felt that this could maybe spread out across the country. I don't care what they do, just so long as they stand up and do something so that they identify the political situation that we're in. I was thrilled at that possibility.

On the excitement around him about the film: I had no idea about The Hunger Games, anything about the books, the fascination, nothing, nothing. I only discovered that in the dermatologists office. At my age you get barnacles taken off your head and stuff. I mean, they're not really barnacles, but my wretched dermatologist calls them that. And she said, "What are you doing?" And I said, "I just finished shooting 'Hunger Games'." I got maybe the "m" of Hunger Games out and the office was suddenly filled with people jumping up and down in hysteria. And these are adults! So I figured it out.

About Jennifer Lawrence: Neither Gary [Ross] nor I knew Jennifer Lawrence. I hadn't seen Winter's Bone. But she is, evidenced by that picture and this picture, I would say one of the very best actors working around today. I talked to Gary about George Bernard Shaw and "Saint Joan." And I'm not a big fan of the play, but the premise is extraordinary and Shaw talks about Joan and all those guys being genius. In their particular moment of their political ascendancy, they were genius. And she, Katniss Everdeen, is a genius. You know, she doesn't know it when she goes into the arena and she's in the middle of this coliseum, but it develops. Everything she does is correct. When she reaches down and picks up those berries and puts them in her pocket, I know that she needs them for a scene later on. I've read the script. But the character doesn't know it and just the genius of how that character knows that that might be a weapon that she can use. But most actors who play that will give you something. Just a little hint of an indicator that they actually know that they need it later. This girl! I said to her, I said, "You should change your name to Jennifer Lawrence Olivier!"

What he feels President Snow sees in Katniss: I don't think you see fear in him. I think you see challenge. At my age the only thing you're really afraid of is Depends [laughs]. I think he sees challenge and I think he sees it in this Katniss Everdeen. I think he sees in her the challenge that he's been waiting for. You know, sitting there, somebody someday is going to come up sometime. And this particular one, given how it's all gone, you can't just kill her. You have to find some other way of controlling her, containing her.


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