Liam Hemsworth, Leven Rambin, Dayo Okeniyi, Amandla Stenberg and Jack Quaid of ”The Hunger Games” cast visited Atlanta on Tuesday to promote the movie, which comes out March 23.
More than 1,000 shrieking fans packed a tent outside Lenox Square for a question and answer session. Where Hemsworth was concerned this was more like a scream and question and scream and answer and more screams session.
“You guys are the nicest people I’ve ever met,” Hemsworth, who plays Gale, deadpanned as the tent fairly rocked with high-octave tweens and teens (and some parents).
“Take me to the prom!” one girl yelled as he pondered a question about the movie.
He waited a beat and said, “OK.”
“I love you!” someone else yelled.
“I love you,” Hemsworth replied. “I love you all. I love you.”
We wondered if Macy’s glass windows would start to shatter at that point.
“The Hunger Games,” based on author Suzanne Collins‘ series, takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where young people are forced by an iron-fisted government to fight to the finish.
“The great thing about this movie is it’s a true human story,” Okeniyi told us during the red-carpet interview phase of the evening. “You go on this journey. It’s a great story.”
We asked if the fervent fan base of young readers who have practically memorized the books created pressure when it came time to portray his character, Thresh.
“I was a bit psychotic,” Okeniyi joked. “I read everything – I read the fan blogs. This is a character who meant so much to so many people. To screw that up would suck.”
We asked Amandla what she had in common with her character, Rue.
“I’m very small like her,” she quipped. “I’m very quick-witted.”
Quaid, who portrays Marvel, talked to us about the broader message of “The Hunger Games.”
“It really teaches kids to not take anything for granted,” he said. “You respect everything you have.”
After about 20 minutes of red-carpet interviews, the fans had had enough. “GET ON STAGE! GET ON STAGE!” They chanted. The actors got on stage.
Then it was time for the official Q&A, moderated by Q100’s Jenn Hobby. One question concerned the challenges of making the movie.
“We had to have the ‘ready’ face all the time,” Quaid said. “My face just hurt!”
Another question was for Amandla, about how she prepared for her audition.
“For my audition, I was dressed up like Rue,” she said. “There was mud all over my clothes. There were twigs in my hair. I was like, ‘I’m going to get this.’”
She later said she has read “The Hunger Games” five times.
“It’s incredible,” she said of the experience of playing Rue. “It hasn’t hit me yet.”
In response to a question for all the cast members asking what they’d do if they weren’t actors, Amandla said she’d like to be an artist. Okeniyi said he went to school for graphic design, so that would be his Plan B. Quaid, who’s quite funny, said he might try his hand at stand-up comedy. Hemsworth said, “I’m a big fan of clowns and magic. So maybe I’d be a magic clown.”
“Take off your shirt!” came a scream from the audience.
Someone asked Rambin, who plays Glimmer, about her proficiency with weapons.
“I really enjoyed shooting the bow and arrow,” she said. “I actually got kind of good at it.”
The actress has appeared in numerous small-screen projects including “All My Children,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “One Tree Hill” and “CSI: Miami.”
Her role in “The Hunger Games” is something altogether different.
“I’ve never seen myself on the big screen,” she said. “To be part of ‘The Hunger Games,’ which is my favorite book, is a dream come true.”
All too soon the actors had to pile into a caravan of SUVs to head to the airport, where another fan visit in another city – and no doubt more screams – awaited.
- Jennifer Brett/The Buzzfirstname.lastname@example.org