The pressure is on. The time has come and now the world really is watching. Does The Hunger Games live up to the hype that’s preceded its release? Most certainly.
The nation of Panem consists of 12 districts and the Capitol. As punishment for a rebellion, each district must pay penance to the nation by sending one boy and one girl, between the ages of 12 and 18, to the Capitol to compete in the annual Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death.
When Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) younger sister Prim’s (Willow Shield) name is randomly selected during the District 12 reaping, Katniss does something no District 12 citizen has ever done before; she volunteers to take Prim’s place in the Hunger Games. And so it is done; Katniss is forced to say her goodbyes and board a train to the Capitol alongside her fellow tribute, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), to fight for her life.
The concept in itself is enough to get just about anyone hooked. No, the idea of children killing each other in order to preserve their own life isn’t appealing, but it is intriguing. However, what’s even more captivating than that is the world that’s built around it – the people in it, the districts that keep it running and the values that make the nation of Panem what it is when we enter The Hunger Games.
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Whoa. We’re really getting close! With only two Hunger GamesCountdowns to go before the big release (and hopefully many more to come thereafter), we’re putting the spotlight on those coveted midnight screenings. But before we get to the meat of this weekend Countdown, how about a brief run-through of all the recent Hunger Games news?
With the big opening fast approaching, the cast and director Gary Ross are out and about promoting. We’ve got Isabelle Fuhrman (Clove) on the cover of Girls’ Life Magazine, Wes Bentley (Seneca Crane) and Leven Rambin (Glimmer) in a photo shoot together for Genlux Magazine, Liam Hemsworth on the cover of GQ Australia and more. Sure these magazines are great and it’s something tangible you can keep, but talk show appearances are far more exciting. Why? Because talk show appearances generally require clips. We just got that oneof Katniss firing an arrow at the Gamemaker’s pig and, now, thanks to Lenny Kravitz’s appearance on Ellen, we’ve got clip #2, Cinna’s pre-opening ceremony advice for Katniss. And, of course, the Hunger Games mall tour is also currently underway. The gang already hit LA and Atlanta, are due to visit Phoenix and Chicago today, and will make it to Miami, Dallas, Minneapolis and Seattle by Saturday.
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A Little Mockingjay Told Me: Welcome!
Apparently I’m not the only one who can’t get enough of this series, so in honor of the craze that is The Hunger Games book-to-film adaptation, we’re dedicating an entire column to the event, brought to you by yours truly. Welcome to The Hunger Games Countdown!
Every other week (till we get closer to release) we’ll deliver the latest in Hunger Games news, an introspective look at how particular scenes could potentially come to life on the big screen, a taste of what’s happening throughout the realm of Hunger Games fan websites and much more. To kick-start the series, we’re going to take a look back at the history of the big-screen adaptation from the very first announcement proclaiming that The Hunger Games movie was on the way.
But first, for those of you who have yet to read the book (and I maintain there’s no excuse for that), here are The Hunger Games basics …
Read more: ‘The Hunger Games’ Countdown: Bringing You Up To Capitol Consciousness | Featured Article | Movies.com
Actor Wes Bentley had a lot working against him when it came to shooting Roland Joffé’s latest, There Be Dragons. Not only was he struggling with personal issues, but the role itself posed a number of difficulties, specifically having to play both a young and older version of his character and simply the necessity of studying up on the historical background of the piece.
Bentley stars as Manolo, the childhood friend of Josemaría Escrivá (Charlie Cox), the saint and founder of Opus Dei. As kids they were the best of friends until family difference tore them apart. They reunited in a seminary, but once again are driven away from one another, Josemaría to follow his desire to fulfill his training and become a priest and Manolo’s to fight in the Spanish Civil War. While Josemaría’s life brims with honesty and faith, Manolo opts to fight dubiously; he embeds himself in a rebel group and spies for the government. Further complicating his situation, Manolo falls for a Hungarian radical who doesn’t have eyes for him, rather their esteemed leader, Oriol (Rodrigo Santoro). A good portion of this tale is told by Manolo himself, who, in the early 80s, on the brink of death, is reluctantly compelled to recall these memories for his own son who’s writing a book about Josemaría.
See? Not only does There Be Dragons span an expansive length of time, but also requires Bentley to show Manolo’s many sides and experiences in a matter of two hours. Well, Bentley, his co-cast and the film’s crew pulled it off and today, May 6th, There Be Dragons hits theaters in the US. In honor of the occasion, Bentley sat down to tell us all about his research for the role, channeling his personal troubles into the part and how fantastic and life changing this experience turned out to be. Check it all out for yourself in the video interview below.
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Who can say no to a film starring Rodrigo Santoro? Not only is he a fine actor, but not half bad to look at for two hours either. In his latest production, There Be Dragons, Santoro combines his experience playing the dashing love interest in like Love Actually with his understanding of working with factual material in Che as well as his know-how in action-packed realms like 300.
Santoro plays Oriol, a leader of the revolution during the Spanish Civil War. While at a rally, Oriol catches sight of a Hungarian radical, Ildiko (Olga Kurylenko). However, Oriol isn’t the only one to fall for this gun-toting fighter; so does another member of his group, Manolo (Wes Bentley). What Oriol doesn’t know is that not only does Manolo pose a threat to his relationship with Ildiko, but to his entire operation, too, as Manolo is functioning as a spy for the opposition.
In honor of There Be Dragons’ March 6th release, Santoro sat down to talk about the details. He touches upon everything from his extensive research to his experience balancing physical demands like riding a horse and brandishing a rifle. Before wrapping up, Santoro runs through his list of upcoming productions, which includes his first go at producing, another piece that’ll let him put his knowledge of the Spanish Civil War to use and hopefully, one day, Chris Sparlings’ Falling Slowly. Hear it all straight from Santoro himself in the video interview below.
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First and foremost, you should know there are no dragons in There Be Dragons. Of course we can’t take every title literally, but when you’ve got one that pronounces a particular beast will exist, you either must deliver or provide a valid explanation for the name. Again, There Be Dragons features no dragons, merely a weak reasoning of the title and just about everything else that happens in the film for that matter.
Inspired by true events, There Be Dragons focuses on childhood friends Josemaría Escrivá (Charlie Cox) and Manolo Torres (Wes Bentley). While both boys wind up attending the same seminary, from there, they go on entirely divergent paths, Manolo working as a spy in the Spanish Civil War and Josemaría becoming a priest and fighting to keep the faith in even the most violent times. When Josemaría is left with no choice but to abandon Madrid and flee to safety so he may see his vision of Opus Dei to fruition, Torres remains on the battlefield where he develops a dangerous obsession with a Hungarian radical named Ildiko (Olga Kurylenko).
Their tale is told through the research of Manolo’s very own son, Robert (Dougary Scott). Robert’s writing a book about Josemaría and naturally, his primary source is his father. Initially the now old and ailing Manolo refuses to unearth the haunting memories, but once Robert opens the floodgates, his father has no choice but to confront the past so he may finally be forgiven.
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