I recently got the chance to talk to Katie Kneeland about her role in ‘The Hunger Games’. Here, Katie talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and what is coming up for her in 2012…
Hey Katie. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘The Hunger Games’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
It’s a post-apocalyptic story about “districts” being forced to sacrifice one boy and one girl from their area in a televised gladiatorial match to the death for the amusement of the ruling Capitol called PanEm. Only one contestant can survive but prior to being thrown in a death match, the individuals are elevated to star status and the winner will bring fame, money and more food back to the district they represent.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play the Hovercraft Tech. I am in the Hovercraft that takes Katniss (played by Jennifer Lawrence) to the Hunger Games. I inject her and other tributes to the games with their trackers so that the Gamekeepers can know where they are at all times and manipulate the game accordingly.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I was first put on tape and then called back for the film about three weeks later. After my initial audition and researching the project, I went and devoured the trilogy of books in four days. I was seen for the role as the Hovercraft Tech and one of the Gameskeeper roles. I was cast as the Hovercraft Tech.
How would you say this film is different and unique? It’s a bit like ‘Battle Royale’ meets ‘Tron’, isn’t it?
I’ve also heard it being compared to ‘Total Recall’. I think it’s very unique for a couple of reasons. First, it has such broad appeal. It’s not just action packed. It has a an emotional core to it and the stakes are so high, a world where you are forced to sacrifice your own children and watch as others are entertained by it. Secondly, I think it has a fascinating female champion with such heart and strength which we don’t see often in this genre.
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?
I am so excited to have been a part of this film. I truly wish I had gotten to spend more time on it. I worked with Jennifer, Levin and a few other tributes only. I thought they were all great and she is perfect for the role. I enjoyed being told I was so cold with my expression and voice by the other actors. As for working with Gary Ross, it was a privilege and all too short. I have loved so many of his films but especially ‘Seabiscuit’ and ‘Pleasantville’. He was the kindest, most supportive and encouraging director I’ve worked with so far. And that started at the call backs with him.
Let’s talk a bit about you Katie. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I have wanted to be an actress and singer as far back as I can remember. I can remember dressing up, making up stories, having my brother or cousins participate in my “plays” and imagining being in films, especially movie musicals.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
I would say start as early as you can just because logistically I think it can be a little easier. I would definitely encourage studying voice and acting but also the business of being an actor because it absolutely is a business. I would also say that there are many levels of success and you have to determine what that is for you individually as an artist but mostly I would say if you love it, do it! For me it’s like breathing and I truly can’t imagine not doing 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?
I have really gotten to work with some very cool and amazing people. I loved working with and think she is a very gifted actress, Brigid Brannaugh who played Pamela on ‘Army Wives’. I also learned a lot and really enjoyed working with Cameron Diaz and Rhada Mitchell. My favourite directors besides Gary Ross were Kirk Jones (and boy do I hope to get to work with more British directors in the future – please put me in a corset!) McG and DJ Caruso. They had a great balance of fun and reverence to the story on set.
What is currently on your I-Pod?
I have a mix of a lot of stuff on my I-Pod but what I’m playing the most is a mix of Adele, Pink, Journey and The Book of Mormon. Bet you didn’t think you’d see all those together!
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things could you not live without?
I would have to have my husband and dogs. I just enjoy them so much! When my husband gets tired of me talking to him, I just talk to my dogs. They love hearing what I have to say and usually agree with me. I would have to have sparkling water (hopefully this island already has the limes on it) and I would have to have a word jumble book. I like word puzzles.
What is your favourite word?
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I am very happy to say that I have a couple of films being release in 2012 - ‘What To Expect When You’re Expecting’ where I play one of Cameron Diaz’s doctors, ‘Goat Island’ where I play Officer Sara Gallagher and Jen in the upcoming A&E mini-series ‘Coma’.
Thanks for the interview!