Q: Had all of you read the book before the film?
Alexander Ludwig: There’s a book?! (laughs) Definitely. Absolutely. We were all huge, huge fans of the book.
Q: Did you have favorite characters?
Isabelle Fuhrman: Yes, definitely. My favorites were Katniss and Rue. They’re just so relatable and lovable.
Q: How then, was it, wanting to kill them?
Fuhrman: (Laughs) Well, I always say that you have to love your characters. That meant re-reading the book and learning to love a character that’s really a bad character. From there, it was discovering who she was and what made her so terrible and so mentally disturbed. From there, it was just doing a lot of character work.
Q: Alexander, this is a very different role for you compared to “Race to Witch Mountain”. You’re the bad guy instead of the good guy. What kind of training did you have to go through for the action side of things?
Ludwig: You’re right, absolutely. When I got offered the role of Cato, I jumped on the opportunity. I’ve never really had a chance to play a bad guy and that’s always been something that I’ve really, really wanted to do. It’s about experiencing that dark side of a person. Cato is a really, really twisted individual. We worked really hard, just physically. I wanted Cato to have as big a presence physically as a mental one in the movie. There was a lot of fight training that I had to go through. I worked with a Navy SEAL to bulk up. Tons of hand-to-hand combat.
Fuhrman: We worked a lot together as far as training goes. He was sword and I was knife, so when we were doing knife training and sword training, it was kind of the same except for the different sizes.
Ludwig: Then we’d practice on Amandla. (laughs)
Q: Amandla, you have some of the most beautiful and poignant emotional scenes in the movie.
Amandla Stenberg: Yeah, and it was kind of a solemn day on set that particular day. Jennifer [Lawrence] is extremely funny. Every time we’d finish a take she’d go, “That was cheery! I loved that!” Then everyone would start laughing. She kind of kept it light.
Q: Were there pranks on set?
Stenberg: There were indeed pranks.
Ludwig: You have no idea.
Fuhrman: (motions to Stenberg) This one? Watch out.
Ludwig: She is a prankster. I remember one day I was doing a fight scene on-set and was practicing with some of the guys. In North Carolina, during the time we were filming it was just so, so hot. It was disgusting. It was like you just walked out of a shower of sweat. It was gross. I had my shirt off when we were doing the fight training and had no clothes. I had to run back to my trailer to go get my clothes and, as I did, all my clothes were gone. I couldn’t find them anywhere, but I do find this little note with a gang symbol for Amandla and Jacqy [Emerson], who plays Foxface. I was just like, “Oh my god!” I have no clothes and I’m in my boxers now just trying to find all my clothes. I find some of them in the fridge and some of them in the microwave. It’s one of the many, many things that Amandla did to ruin my life on-set.
Fuhrman: He had me text him directions. He wasn’t working for a three-day weekend when they were just doing scenes with Jenn and Josh. He called me and said, “My phone’s about to die! I need directions to get from Nashville to Scottsdale, Arizona. I’m like, “Okay,” and I type them out. My thumbs are killing me and then he goes, “Alright, but I still need directions from Scottsdale, Arizona to Little Rock, Arkansas and then to Boulder, Colorado.” I go, “You’re not going to make it back in time!” and he’s like, “We’re gonna fly back.” I think, alright, seems implausible, but whatever, I’ll just send it to him.