I recently got the chance to talk to Anthony Reynolds about his role in ‘The Hunger Games’. Here, Anthony talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set in hot temperatures and what is coming up for him in 2012…
Hey Anthony. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your role in new film, ‘The Hunger Games’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
Panem is the “New North America”, a nation divided into twelve geographic districts, each responsible for a specific product. The story centers on Katniss Everdeen, a girl from District 12. District 12 is known as the coal mining district and is the poorest of them all. Each year, the names of all the boys and girls between the ages of 12 -18 are put in to a lottery in each district. One name of each gender is chosen from each district to participate in the annual Hunger Games. It is a televised reality show that pits youth against youth in a death match set in an arena in the Capitol of Panem. Jennifer volunteers when her sister’s name is called and is then thrust into the spotlight of representing District 12 in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play one of the lead Peacekeepers in District 12. Peacekeepers are the law enforcement/military force throughout Panem. It’s like Marshall Law. They are feared and not to be crossed. We hope to be back for ‘Catching Fire’.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I was asked to read for the role by one of the casting directors, Jackie Burch. Then I met with Gary Ross and then it was on to District 12.
How would you say this film is different and unique? It’s a bit like ‘Battle Royale’ meets ‘Tron’, isn’t it?
I can see that comparison. It is the telling of a compelling story that unfolds over the course of what is to be four films. It is unique, in that, it tells the story of an adolescent navigating through this dystopian world and actively choosing to have a voice for change.
The film stars Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Jennifer Lawrence, Willow Shields, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks and Josh Hutcherson – with Gary Ross onboard as directors – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
The cast and crew were great to work with; Jennifer, Liam and Josh are already total pros in the business. Genuinely nice people and fun to collaborate with. It was very hot (97F) on the days we shot the REAPING sequence and we had 600 extras most of which were teenagers and younger kids and they were real troopers for tolerating the heat and looking so good doing it. Gary was amazing to work with, a very organized and passionate man who definitely crafted his vision of Suzanne Collins book with the precision of a brain surgeon. I must give tremendous credit to the Production Assistants and Hair and Make-Up team for helping to keep everyone hydrated and looking sweat free through those hot days shooting in Shelby, NC.
Let’s talk a bit about you Anthony. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I grew up on ‘Happy Days’ and ‘Laverne And Shirley’. I knew who the character actors were (much to my father’s surprise) in the Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood movies in the 70s. I always wanted to be an actor. My family initially called me a dreamer, but now 19 years in the business professionally, I am living that dream. I never cared to be famous; I just wanted to do the work, to be believable in my roles and to provide for my family. I like being anonymous. I like going to the market and living my life without being recognized, yet still being able to work in a career that I love.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Do it for the right reasons. Celebrity is fleeting. Care about the work… what’s right before you…here and now. If you love digging your heels in to find a character and find the odd pleasure of in living in that character’s shoes…if nothing else professionally gives you that kind of pleasure…if you don’t have a timeline of when you are “going to make it”…if you stay in the game, whether there is fame or not…and if you can’t find joy in doing anything else, then DO IT! It takes study, though and a lot of hard work. If it were easy everyone would do it.
You’ve been in a number of different films and TV projects – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with so far?
Edward Norton, Billy Bob Thornton, Susan Sarandon, Claire Danes, Pierce Brosnan, Woody Harrelson, Anthony Hopkins and Ralph Fiennes stand out as favourites that I have worked with.
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
Led Zepplin, Al Green, Beastie Boys, Beck, Audioslave, Ben Fold Five, Johnny Cash, The Black Crowes, Beta Radio, Black Eyed Peas, Bob Marley, Erykah Badu, Kings of Leon, Mumford and Son, My Morning Jacket, Pearl Jam, REM, The Raconteurs, Rage Against the Machine, Merle Haggard, The Black Keys, The Soggy Bottom Boys, Willie Nelson, Bruno Mars, Depeche Mode and the B-52s to name a few…
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things could you not live without?
Food, shelter and my Bible.
What is your favourite word?
“Daddy!” from the lips of my children.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I have a few film projects lining up, I have a couple more films being released, ‘The Bay’ directed by Barry Levinson, ‘Little Red Wagon’ directed by David Anspaugh, ‘The Converter’, a short film that I wrote and am producing. I also have an episode of ‘Drop Dead Diva’ appearing on the LIFETIME network here in the States which will air this sometime this summer.
Thanks for the interview!