Gary Ross: Tracker Jacker Scene in 'Hunger Games' Is 'Not for the Faint of Heart'
Gary Ross has recently shared about the difficulty of filming the tracker jacker scene in "The Hunger Games". Admitting that he faced a tough challenge when shooting the intense sequence where Katniss Everdeen must survive from the murderous wasp mutant, the director said that it is not for "the faint of heart."
"That's a vertical sequence, literally staged over 100 vertical feet," explained the filmmaker to MTV News. "You have the careers on the ground. You have Katniss on one level in a tree, and you have Rue in another tree up there. You have the tracker jacker nest up here, and the crew is going up and down this tree the entire time, and you have all these axis to cut together into one taut, suspenseful sequence. And you have CG insects. This is not for the faint of heart."
He added, "I think my shot list was like 110 set-ups or something like that. We're building scaffolding. This was shot practically in trees, none of this was shot on the computer. That was a daunting and challenging sequence that required a lot of attention."
Aside from discussing the tracker jacker scene, Ross opened up about how Katniss' point of view will play a very important role in the highly anticipated movie. "I'm not using voice-over for her. This thing is all from Katniss' perspective. It is a first-person point of view," he said. "How do we put the viewer immediately and urgently in that experience they had when they read the book and they're in Katniss Everdeen's shoes? A lot of this is done cinematically."
He added, "I spent a lot of time wondering and thinking about at the beginning of this process, 'What does it really mean to be in the character's point of view cinematically?' I looked at a lot of really interesting references for that, but it comes down to: 'You don't know more than the character knows'."
Ross elaborated the lead heroine's role furthermore as explaining, "You wonder about what she's wondering about, you worry about what she's worrying about. You don't know things she doesn't know, and as such, you wander and experience things through her eyes, so that's the first job: 'How do we make people feel they're walking in Katniss' shoes and encoutering the same obstacles and challenges she is?' A lot is done cinematically and a lot is having someone as good as Jen Lawrence."
When asked to reveal details on other specific scenes, Ross decided to stay mum but he promised that the film will be as realistic as it is described in the Suzanne Collins book. "I don't want to start giving specific scenes away, I know you understand that," he said. "I will say movies can do a lot in imagery where you can assimilate at lot of the world there pretty quickly."
"The trick there is to make the world as real and as specific as it was when you read the book," he continued on. "Be very precise about the production design and what this world looks like, and I think we've created a pretty vivid world."
"The Hunger Games" follows Katniss who replaces her sister Prim in a fight-to-the-death annual event sponsored by the Panem government. Pitted against highly-trained competitors who have prepared for these games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy to survive in the game.
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz and Wes Bentley, the much awaited novel-adapted movie will open wide in the U.S. on March 23.
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