Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Elizabeth Banks talks about skeptics and her understanding of Effie and the Hunger Games series

In a recent interview, Elizabeth Banks discusses skeptical Hunger Games fans, developing her character and the darkness of the series.

About Hunger Games ... is your work totally done, except for promotion?
Yeah, we’re done. We’re getting ready to put it out in the world.
Have you seen any of it yet?
I’ve seen enough to know that the movie is amazing, but I haven’t seen any finished cuts.
I saw that you responded to a Twitter skeptic who hoped you wouldn’t “ruin The Hunger Games.” Are you ready to take on criticism from fans who might second-guess your portrayal of Effie?
I absolutely am, because here’s my answer: I worked with amazing Academy Award–nominated people in figuring out who Effie is, and most importantly, [author] Suzanne Collins blessed everything we did. So as long as Suzanne Collins is happy … I would say if fans wanna fight about it, they can fight with her.
I loved your response to the tweet: “I know, right?”
Oh yeah, well I love those kinds of things.
Did you yourself feel some trepidation about playing a character in a book you adore so much?
I didn’t. I was just so excited. I’m really excited about my portrayal. I like the voice — I worked really hard on the voice. The hair and makeup didn’t happen immediately. It was a couple days of playing and tweaking, and she really kind of suddenly appeared to us. If I could remove myself from the situation, I would be really excited by my portrayal of Effie.
As a fan, did you make any specific contributions to her character?
All the makeup was very collaborative. It was like, “Hey, when I read the book, I always imagined she was like this.” Everybody was like, “Yeah, I always thought she was this,” or “I thought she was this,” or “This would look better.” It was really a bunch of fans sitting around discussing what our visions were for everything. And then of course there are practical things, like I imagined District 12 — and they pretty much nailed it — like it was in the south in an old mining town. And that’s what we shot. And the Games actually blew me away. What I was imagining was too small.
Did you go as far as designing undergarments for Effie?
Judianna Makovsky is an Academy Award–nominated costume designer and she thinks of everything. We talked a lot about restriction. Even though Effie is sort of a free person, she is still contained and restrained and controlled by her life, so all my clothes are very cinched waists. There’s no full corset in anything, but they’re pretty corseted. And there was a lot of talk about making the shape of her look as good as possible. And despite the fact that I’m asked repeatedly if I’m wearing a butt pad, that was all me underneath the behind. My director was like, "Wow, you guys padded the butt?" I was like, “No, that’s my butt. That is 100 percent my behind.”
How dark does the movie get? Is it darker than Harry Potter at its darkest?
I think it’s appropriately toned for a PG-13 movie. You have to remember this isn’t a G. It’s not Disney. The book had a lot of adult themes, but we were very cognizant of making sure that what you’re connected to are the characters, that you understand it’s life or death for this girl. She wants to go back to her family and she wants to take this boy with her. And it’s also the message that you matter, that the act of a single person can set off a revolution. I think we’re seeing that all over the world right now. It’s very timely, and I think it’s such a great message to give.


I kind of teared up at the end because I got that she really is a fan of the series and has a great understanding of it. I find myself becoming more and more of an Elizabeth Banks fan.