Let the Hunger Games Filming Begin!

by Elizabeth on February 2, 2011

Word is out that the folks working on the film of The Hunger Games are looking for unknown talent as preparations begin for the filming for a 2012 theatrical release. Check this link to see the guidelines put out by the folks doing the casting.  The character descriptions are interesting but a little confusing, since both President Snow and Finnick Odair are listed in the lineup, though Snow’s role is minimal in The Hunger Games, and Finnick is not even introduced until Catching Fire. Notable by their absence are Cinna, the prep team, and Caesar Flickerman. I’m not sure why there is a listing for Haymitch, as, no matter how much it costs, they really ought to have Hugh Laurie in that role. More interesting to me, however, is the fact that filming will take place in North Carolina and Georgia. Join me after the jump for some speculations on locations.

As we’ve discussed before, District 12 is Appalachia, and of course, the Appalachian Mountains run from New England right through northwestern North Carolina (where I live) down into Georgia. However, the coal mining parts of Appalachia are primarily in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. Since none of The Hunger Games takes place in an actual coal mine, I’m speculating that District 12, if filmed on location, will be filmed in an abandoned company town, just not a coal town. Towns like this abound in North Carolina and Georgia, once home to railroad workers, textile workers, or miners (of products other than coal, like iron or minerals).

North Carolina and Georgia also present numerous potential locations for the arena. The rolling, wooded hills and streams of the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games could easily be found on the Appalachian Trail, in the Linville Gorge area, in the Nantahala National Forest, or even just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. In fact, after my first read of The Hunger Games, every time I was out walking here in the Appalachian Mountains, I found myself scouting trees to see which ones I could climb if I had to!  Enjoy the images here, some of my husband’s lovely photographs of the area, and see if you can’t visualize Katniss perched on one of those tree branches!

Though the casting office is in Wilmington, NC, the filming will not be in that coastal community, but it’s been popular for other films, including my personal favorite, Muppets from Space. Western North  Carolina also has a fine film pedigree, with The Last of the Mohicans being filmed around Chimney Rock, and scenes from Forrest Gump and  The Green Mile being done on Grandfather Mountain and at the Cone Manor House on the Parkway, respectively.  Filming will likely be around the Cherokee area, in close proximity to Georgia, though I would be delighted if it were close enough for me to sneak a peek, and my students would make wonderful Reaping crowd extras (I can hand out some grades just before shooting to get them looking gloomy)! Perhaps the odds will be in our favor. If so, you can count on hearing about it here! So what are your picks for location shooting for The Hunger Games?

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

John February 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I’m guessing the Capitol scenes will all be shot in LA (and I don’t mean ‘Lower Alabama’) or NYC. There’s no way they can get Asheville, Charlotte, or, ho ho, Boone to fit that Blade Runner metropolis look.

mickey February 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm

that website is not reliable. there will be no open casting calls.

Down With the Capitol February 2, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Hi! Just wanted to inform you that our site (Down With the Capitol) and The Hob, have contacted the casting agencies named on the Acting Auditions site and both have confimed there are no open auditions planned for The Hunger Games film at this time. Debra Zane’s office also said any information on casting calls would come as an official annoucement from their office.

Also The Hob has contacted agencies in the states mentioned and at last report there were no plans on file for the movie to film there. Not saying that they won’t film there, but as of this time there is nothing on record showing that they have plans too.

Therefore, please take the information on the Acting Auditions site with a grain of salt. Thanks for you time! ~T~

Down With the Capitol February 2, 2011 at 2:24 pm

OH my, I can’t believe I forgot to mention, that we love all of your insights into the areas for filming. The picture are beautiful and we could easily see this as the perfect location for filming many of the scenes. Hopefully they will eventually choose to film there. *fingers crossed for you*.

Elizabeth February 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Thanks for the caveat, though I don’t think any of our folks here are mailing off any hopeful headshots! :) (and that was a joke about having my students work as extras!)
Since we’re a literary, rather than a cinematic, blog, our interest in the story is primarily so we can speculate about real places that fit the ones in our heads (and Suzanne Collins’s ). I imagine the Capitol stuff will mostly be done CGI and soundstage (think Coruscant in the Star Wars movies!)
Glad you liked the pictures! Alas, now it looks much like the middle section of Catching Fire, but that’s just too depressing to post.

Arabella Figg February 2, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I hope they cast unknowns who are the right age, instead of several years older as is too often the case. If they cast comparable age actors, it will give a real feel for the children on children/Lord of the Flies Games.

And here’s hoping for West Virginia!

averagewriterLOL February 2, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Oh I hope so much they choose NC!Maybe we’ll get lucky and they will!
Though , as someone pointed out earlier, it be hard to do the capitol here.
But if they had to stay in the GA-NC area (or just NC) I’d say downtown Highpoint or downtown greensboro may be good… mark that. no, theyd have to do a lot, i mean a lot, to make it look like the capitol LOL. Im not saying its not… well Im just saying that its a little rustic to be the capitol.
Still, I HOPE THEY FILM IN NC!

James February 3, 2011 at 3:36 am

FWIW, Twilight saved some money filming (part of) Breaking Dawn 1 and 2 in Baton Rouge, and then moving everyone to Vancouver for exteriors. Who knew?

Isn’t the Capitol supposed to be in the Denver area(??)? Maybe Utah would work. :D They’re filming a Doctor Who episode a few miles from here in a few weeks.

And Elizabeth, even if Hunger Games doesn’t stick around, there’s always a chance that Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortenson will show up there for “Snow White and the Huntsman” sometime soon.

Rochelle February 3, 2011 at 2:51 pm

@James, Not to mention the breaks from the story in the first Twilight movie. Most of the filming was done in and around Portland, Oregon, which, while closer to Forks than Baton Rouge, they are still more than 4 hours apart. And having been to Port Angeles (before I even read the books!), and the Olympic mountains, it was very strange to see Portland’s famous waterfall, Multnomah Falls, in an establishing shot before the baseball game. But when I’m not comparing what’s going on in the movie to what I know to be true of Pacific Northwest geography, it works and looks like what I imagined Forks and the surrounding areas to look like.

Especially within the forgiving genre of futuristic fiction, I am sure Hunger Games will do justice to the scenery. At least, they better. But since I haven’t been to Appalachia since I was 3, I probably wouldn’t be the wiser for any missteps in geography, just as I’m sure it was only fellow Portlanders and Washingtonians (I think that’s what they call themselves) who were thrown by an establishing shot being so far away from Olympia.

At any rate, I can’t wait to see the story that captivated me last summer come to life.

Erin February 5, 2011 at 7:01 am

I hope you suggested Hugh Laurie to the casting people- brilliant perfect, now I can’t imagine anyone else! It makes sense to film in one of the abandoned company towns, but I wonder if the area would be less expensive on a studio stage- I suppose they could do the running through the woods scenes on location and add murders and tracker-jackers via cgi later.

City shots- don’t they usually use Toronto to cover for big cities? And Boston has a lot of the “city square” visuals that exist in Hunger Games.

That aside, I still have my misgivings about Hunger Games being made into a film. I know it will be pg-13, and maybe they will leave the violence to the imagination, but because of that I fear the intensity will be lost.

rumor February 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Glad to see my stomping ground and home in the films. Wstern North Carolina is some of the most beautiful country in our land, this is why I watch Last of the Mohicans over and over… :)

Karen March 9, 2011 at 5:59 pm

A close friend works for the local film industry in Wilmington NC and the entire reason I found out about the books was because he mentioned that he was trying to get on the set crew for this movie. So yes, it will do at least part of it’s filming at the screen gem studios. As for why they’d choose here, 1) There are tax break incentives, 2) There is a strong local community of experienced crew to hire, and 3) Screen Gem is noted for having one of the largest stages with special effects capabilities.

Elizabeth March 9, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Thanks for the update, Karen! Do let us know if you hear more. Wilmington is a great town in many respects, but also a great place for folks who want to work in film. Many of my students with such ambitions head that way. Hope your friend gets his spot (does that make him one of the “insects” in the camera suits?)

HG fan March 9, 2011 at 9:52 pm

omg, this makes me so excited, my grandma lives in that area and they should be filming durring the summer while i am their, it makes me uber excited because i love thehunger games, and i have never really went to a real movie shoothing ( despite the fact i live in SOCAL ) i am just really happy that they are shooting the film in the area, i almost had a heart attack

Karen March 10, 2011 at 10:24 am

Elizabeth,

I’ll happily update whenever I get new details. And if he does get hired, I’ll have an exciting inside look at production! All I know now is that local production is supposed to begin in late may. As for his role, he builds sets, though I did get a smile out of picturing him in the insect getup!

Thomas April 17, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I live in Boone and would LOOVVE if they were around this area. I feel like they could use Charlotte and just use some digital enhancements and make it work

Kathryn April 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I’ve been on an exchange program in North Carolina since August and I think it’s completely perfect for The Hunger Games. I went to the Screen Gem Studios in Wilmington last week for a tour and someone asked about upcoming productions but they didn’t say anything about The Hunger Games.
I leave mid-May to go home to the UK so I won’t get to see any filming unfortunately.

area citizen May 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Filming in Burke County.

Elizabeth May 5, 2011 at 5:38 pm

That’s the word on the ground, area citizen! I hope to have news from my students and friends who went out for roles as extras. If any of them get to participate, I’ll report what I know!

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