The juggernaut film The Hunger Games opens today, to great anticipation and excitement. The film itself will only feature two pop songs, Taylor Swift and the Civil Wars’ “Safe & Sound” and the Arcade Fire’s “Abraham’s Daughter.” But the soundtrack, Songs From District 12 and Beyond, is loaded with songs inspired by the book from artists like Maroon 5, Kid Cudi, Glen Hansard (of Once), Miranda Lambert, and several less well-known acts.
So how did these bands earn a spot the soundtrack for one of the most anticipated films of 2012?
The Hunger Games music supervisor, T. Bone Burnett (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Cold Mountain, Crazy Heart) oversaw the selection of artists and worked with them to create original songs for the soundtrack album. All the artists were all charged with writing an original track that was inspired by the book…and sounded like Appalachian music 300 years in the future.
The Secret Sisters, whose track “Tomorrow Will Be Kinder” is the second song on the soundtrack, were personally asked by Burnett if they would contribute. Lydia and Laura Rogers worked with Burnett previously, when he executive produced their self-titled debut album.
Lydia told CBS Local, “…we got a phone call and it was T-Bone asking if we could supply a song for the soundtrack. He told us to read the books and so we did and got sucked into whatever The Hunger Games does to people. Really addictive set of books.”
Their track was actually inspired by the aftermath of a string of tornados that devastated Alabama in April of 2011. The storms killed at least 337 people across 7 states, making it the second deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S. history. Lydia expanded, saying, “It was nuts once we did read the book. The song suddenly fit into all these places. In the Games, the fighting after first day, and that horrible mind-blowing situations [in the book] that people now-a-days couldn’t even wrap their heads around. Similarly we were inspired by natural disasters, in those moments where people can’t understand what it means to have your home taken away by something out of control.”
Most of the movie was shot in North Carolina, especially in and around Asheville and in and around Charlotte.
Have no fear about recasting! All three main characters are contracted for the entire film trilogy!
Josh experienced his own injury on set. But not from the movie… from Jennifer! “We were hanging out and she was like, ‘I can kick over your head’ and I was like, ‘No way.’ She said, ‘Watch!’ But then she kicked me right in the temple. She felt so bad. She was crying.”
Liam’s brother told him he had to lose weight for the movie. After all, they’re supposed to be starving!
How long did it take Josh to read the trilogy? “I read all three books in five days… I’ve never read a character I’ve connected with more. I am Peeta.”
She is featured in the music video for the song “The Mess I Made”, from the album Losing Sleep by Parachute
It took Jennifer three days to agree to play Katniss. “And I was so in love with the books and the script, and suddenly it was right in my face — and the size of the decision was terrifying.”
Jennifer made $500,000 from the first “Hunger Games” movie with possible bonuses depending on the film’s success.
Jennifer and Liam had to dye their hair brown (since they’re natural blondes) and Josh had to dye his hair blond (since he’s a natural brunette!)
The pressure of putting a book to film isn’t phasing Josh Hutcherson! Does he think fans will enjoy the film portrayal? “I just saw it last week and I loved it. I think it was the best way to tell the story, visually, acting wise, the story, all of it came together so nicely. I cannot wait for everyone to see it.”
Josh used to have a blanket called “Yellow Blankie” that he carried everywhere.
How did Josh react to learning he grabbed the role of Peeta? “I think I made some weird noises.”
There were more than 35 make-up artists, working full-time while filming The Hunger Games.
Liam and his brother Chris both auditioned for the lead in ‘Thor’ but unfortunately, Chris took it!
Lucas Till and Hunter Parrish were considered for the role of Peeta.
Liam was a problem child! ”I was the naughtiest brat as a child; my grandpa gave my brother the kind of knife you can throw at a tree and it will stick but I threw it at Chris’s head one day and luckily only the handle hit him in the forehead!”
Liam used to competitively surf: I surfed competitively and made it to the state rounds where I was competing with the top surfers in Victoria. We travelled everywhere. All my friends were surfers. All we wanted to be was Kelly Slater.”
Though the film is being highly publicized, Lionsgate says the chances of the trilogy playing out depends on how well the first film does.
Jennifer earned an Oscar nomination for “Winter’s Bone” in 2011.
Her first TV acting gig was as Lauren Pearson in the comedy The Bill Engvall Show in 2007.
Liam dates teen singing sensation Miley Cyrus.
Jennifer hit a wall. Literally. While filming the last day of her 6-week training phase, she ran full force at a wall but her foot gave out and she hit it full on. “I had to get a CAT scan and go into a tube where they put this fiery liquid in your body.”
Suzanne Collins wrote the script herself!
Liam was born in Australia to an acting family. Both of his older brothers are actors.
Liam first made waves in the US when he appeared opposite Miley Cyrus in the film “The Last Song”
While in New York City for the first time, she stunned the talent agency with her skill while having no prior training or experience. She relies on instinct.
Liam got his start on the Australian soap opera ‘Neighbours’ where he played Josh Taylor, an athletic paraplegic.
Jennifer began acting at age 14, having pushed herself to graduate 2 years early so she could pursue acting full time.
“The Hunger Games” smashed the box office record for most advanced tickets sold for opening day, which was originally held by Twilight’s “Eclipse”
For Josh’s 13 birthday, Kristen Stewart gave him a pet turtle.
Taylor Swift talked of being inspired by the Katniss character while writing “Safe & Sound” and “Eyes Wide Open,” but the real challenge for most artists was writing songs that would fit well 300 years into the future. For the Secret Sisters, the jump was easy. They drew inspiration from timeless classics. Lydia said, “…what really clicked in my head was, obviously we’re Southern church going ladies and I instantly thought of church gems. For example, “Amazing Grace,” which has been around for decades but will still be meaningful years from now. The feeling is timeless and we wanted that in the song we offered for the soundtrack. [Songs that] could be applicable in 1800 or 2200, whenever.”
The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 and Beyond, was released on Tuesday, March 20. The Hunger Games movie opens today, with pre-sale tickets already surpassing one million sold and 2,000 sold-out screenings.
-Courtney E. Smith, CBS Local