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'Hunger Games' stars Josh Hutcherson, Isabelle Fuhrman and Jacqueline Emerson say camaraderie took pressure off intense filming

Shooting “The Hunger Games” movie in a wooded area in North Carolina gave the set a summer-camp feel, stars Josh Hutcherson, Isabelle Fuhrman and Jacqueline Emerson said in a recent interview in Dallas.
by Lillie-Beth Brinkman Published: March 23, 2012

— Gathered in a Dallas hotel room for a series of media interviews, three stars of “The Hunger Games” didn't seem too affected by all the hype surrounding the blockbuster movie or the screaming fans who awaited them at appearances across the country.

Instead, Josh Hutcherson, Isabelle Fuhrman and Jacqueline Emerson, in their interview with The Oklahoman, laughed together and chatted like old friends, referring to their time last summer in North Carolina spent filming key forest scenes as “Camp Hunger Games.”

“It was a very weird summer camp. I think that's the best way to describe it,” said Isabelle Fuhrman, 14, who plays Clove, one of the “tributes,” or forced fighters, aligned with the more affluent districts known for coming out ahead in the violent Games.

During filming, depending on their character, the actors threw knives (Fuhrman's newly learned skill), shot arrows, scaled trees and acted out the deathly scenes described in Suzanne Collins' novel that spawned the movie.

In between takes, they joked around and enjoyed the camaraderie that developed between them.

“Everybody on set was really close, you know, from the whole cast to all the crew members,” Hutcherson said. “When you have a movie that does have more intense, kind of serious tonal qualities, it's nice to step away from that on set and have more of a fun environment.”

Grim premise

Set in the future, the movie opening today centers on a group of 24 children who are sent from 12 conquered districts and forced by the Capitol government to fight to the death in an arena-like setting on live TV.

The entire nation watches these events unfold, but only the shallow Capitol residents enjoy them for entertainment. The stars are dressed up, paraded, interviewed and fawned over before being sent into the arena. Each year, the lone surviving “tribute” is declared the victor.

The story is told from the point of view of Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence. Hutcherson plays her fellow District 12 tribute, Peeta Mellark, the baker's son, and the two share many scenes.

Hutcherson, 19, said he and Lawrence, both from Kentucky, hit it off right away. They connected with the novel's setting in coal-mining country near their real-life home state and with the movie's set in nearby North Carolina.

“It was weirdly serendipitous,” he said. “It all felt very, very, like, right.”

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by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
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