Sash is a YA book blogger and reading fanatic who lives in the Washington, D.C. area. She blogs at Sash & Em, mostly about contemporary, but has been a crazy Hunger Games fanatic since well before we met in June. She got the chance to be an extra in The Hunger Games movies this summer and has graciously agreed to share her story with us! (No spoilers, don't worry!)
First of all, how did you hear about The Hunger Games books?
My friend Allie (shoutout!) was the one who introduced me to the books. I forget how we even got started on the topic of The Hunger Games but the next day at work, she left her copy on my desk. I read it in one day, and then immediately went out and bought my own set. She was going to lend me her copy of Catching Fire but it was on loan to someone else and I couldn’t wait that long!
How did you hear about the movie filming, and how did you apply?
Again, my friend Allie! (I owe her so much!) Not only was she the one who introduced me to the books but she’s also the one who sent me the link to the open casting call for extras on set (which were in North Carolina, my home state). Sadly, they were during the work week so I couldn’t make it. BUT WAIT! Allie spotted an “Email in your photos with Resume/Info” link at the bottom. I didn’t have a resume, since I’ve never worked on a movie or TV show in my entire life, and I didn’t have any headshots of myself. So we went outside to a park in downtown D.C. and she snapped my photo. I emailed in the photos with some basic info about myself and then crossed my fingers.
Exactly how long did you do a happy dance when you found out you'd be able to go on The Hunger Games set??
I think I’m STILL doing a happy dance. Especially because it was so unexpected. I sent my photos off in the middle of April and then they started shooting in May. I was bummed because I didn’t think that I had been chosen (what were my chances anyway, ya know?) but then I got a random call at the beginning of July, asking if I was still available and interested in being an extra. UM, YES OF COURSE I AM!!
What was filming like?
When actors and actresses say that the film industry can be brutal, they really mean it! Filming was unlike anything I have ever done in my entire life. Some days we worked 17 hours on set and some of those 17 hour days were night filming so we would get in around 3 p.m., go to hair and make up for about four hours (if you were lucky!) and then start shooting around 8 p.m.; we stopped filming when the sun came up (sometimes longer than sunrise if we were indoors). But it was so worth every energy drink I had to stay awake!
The sets were absolutely mind blowing – every small detail was perfected. It was everything I imagined The Hunger Games to be. I got to SIT IN A HOVERCRAFT during a scene break which was SO AWESOME. This was me: “I’m just sitting in a hovercraft. NO BIG DEAL.”
The costumes were amazing as well. When I went in for my initial fitting, I only saw Capitol clothing so I wasn’t sure how much they contrasted with the District. When I got to see the District clothes, WOW was it a difference. Judianna Makovsky, the head of Costume Design, is seriously a genius. Each person, after they were “done” with hair and make up, would have to get approved by Judianna. She was definitely a woman who knew what she wanted. If it didn’t match her vision, you were getting sent back! But we’ll all be thanking her when we see the movie. The hair and makeup people are top-notch! Very very good at what they do (and very sweet as well).
JLAW AND JHUTCH. Squee. These two were some of the most charismatic people ever. They were funny and they were down to earth (they addressed the audience each day after they finished with their scenes to personally say “Thank You,” tell us how great we were, and how much they appreciated us). And they were also SO CUTE on set! They would play these little games with each other, like tapping feet and trying to match the other person, or playing slaps with each other. I MEAN, COME ON!
And I have to say, Stanley Tucci was unbelievable to watch. In the interviews, he was just going with it. It was the most incredible improv I have ever seen. At one point, someone in the crew dropped something and it was a loud BANG, and Stanley didn’t even break character, he just said “OH MY GOD, I THINK SOMEONE JUST DROPPED DEAD!”
What was your favorite outfit for the Capitol?
My favorite outfit was the one that I only got to wear once! It was a black skirt with a (VERY TIGHT) black belt and this fancy lace black sheer top with a teal shrug with big shoulders – it was very Effie-esque. I had short black gloves on, with a black hat (think Kate Middleton/British) and HUGE blue polka dotted eyelashes with silver bottom lashes. I would say that was probably my favorite scene to shoot because it was so intimate – there were only 10-12 of us with Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and I said Hi to Josh that day!
|Can you spot Sash?|
How did you feel about how Lionsgate was interpreting the book?
From what I saw in the Capitol, they’re sticking pretty close to the books, which I really like. I was nervous for Katniss’ red fire dress but once I saw it, I knew that things were going to be perfect. I’m very excited to see the flames on her dress when she does her twirl on stage during the interviews! (The Capitol folk were told to be “WOWed” and coo over it when she twirls. Also, I’m very much looking forward to the Cave Scene! Romance, ftw!
What kinds of restraints did Lionsgate put on you for secrecy?
Lionsgate had us sign non-disclosure agreements saying that we wouldn’t say anything about the film before it came out. Never in my life has keeping a secret been so hard, especially since I’m a part of the YA book blogging community where I knew that this information wouldn’t go unappreciated! All I could say was “Don’t worry – I’ve been on set and things will be awesome” when people said they were worried about how the movie would turn out.
What was your favorite thing/moment/day in filming?
Definitely waving at Jennifer Lawrence. (She is absolutely breathtaking. The most beautiful person I think I have ever seen in real life.) It was the same day where only 10-12 of us were on set and it was dinner time – I waved at her and she waved back. I thought I was going to squeal out loud. All of my on-set friends knew how huge of a fan I was so they kept pushing me to say Hi but I was too scared!
What was your least favorite thing about filming?
Definitely staying up all night! I haven’t pulled an all-nighter since college! It was TOUGH but people would hype eachother up and try to bring the energy level up so no one would realize that it was four in the morning.
How is seeing the movie going to be different for you?
It’s definitely going to change how I watch the movie. I’ll be looking for what shots and scenes the editing team decided to put in and which ones they cut, and scanning the background to see if I know anyone. Speaking of which: a very good friend that I made on set, Antony Bernard, was featured on thehob.org! (photo below)
He’s in the top left-hand corner. I’m sitting next to him in many of the shots we did for the Parade of Tributes. Also, my friend Jeremy was featured on the far left of a recent still shot, as well!
You always hear that actors and actresses become close friends on movie sets. I never really understood that until I worked on THG. I spent 17 hours a day with people, and met some who I now consider to be very close friends. Sure, there were 400+ people in the Capitol at any given time, but it seemed like my friends found me. (Isn’t that how it always is?) Working on the set of THG was probably the coolest thing I have ever done in my life, but it was the awesome crew and the wonderful friends I made that made it so special.
What's the word on filming for the second movie? Are you going to try and get back into the Capitol?
No word on the second movie! But I would most definitely be ready and willing to go back to the Capitol!
YAY! Thank you so much Sash! In case you've been living under a rock, The Hunger Games is out this weekend. If you think you spot Sash and want to tell her how fabulous she is, you can find her blogging about YA here, and on Twitter.