The Hunger Games was a box office phenomenon when it was released in March of this year, and the DVD/Blu-Ray release looks to be just as successful. Hundreds of fans lined up at a local Wal-Mart in Phoenix on Friday night for the midnight release of the movie, and to have their copy signed by Willow Shields, who plays Prim in the series. Willow, who resides in New Mexico, is a newcomer to the acting business, but as she shared with pingroof.com in an interview before the release party, she is officially signed on for the whole series.
“I’ll be in all four of the movies,” she said, explaining that the last book of the popular trilogy will be split into two movies, a la Harry Potter and the Twilight franchises. “We start filming [Catching Fire] this Fall.”
While the first movie was shot in North Carolina, it appears the second film (and maybe more) will have a change of location. “We’re shooting in Atlanta,” said Shields, who is quite possibly the sweetest, most adorable 12 year old in the acting business. A home-schooled fraternal twin (“We look nothing alike except we both have blonde hair,” she laughs), Shields was recognized quite a bit when the movie came out in the Spring, but says it has died down quite a bit.
“I actually sent in a taped audition,” said Shields, with a shy smile. “I went out to LA for the callback, and had to do the scene where I give Katniss the Mockingjay pin three times. Right when I was done, [the director, Gary Ross] said I got the part.”
When I reported on her casting last year, I was thrilled to see how much she looked like her character’s description. While the movie strayed from the book in minor ways through plot and story development, the casting truly was superb. Said Sheilds of her co-stars, “I really love them. We call ourselves the HG family. I can’t wait to get back to shooting to see them again.”
SPOILER ALERT: Do not continue reading if you have not read the books.
When asked about Prim’s grisly end in the books (she is blown up by an errant bomb, presumably created by Katniss’s friend Gale), Shields admits she’s not sure how she feels about it just yet. “People keep asking me that, but I don’t know. I don’t think they’re changing it, so I guess I’ll know after we shoot it.”
While she may not be sure how she feels about it, audiences are certain to struggle with it. As horrifying as it is in the books, seeing such a sweet girl meet such an untimely end on screen is sure to be awful (hello? Rue all over again!). Perhaps the writers (including the author of the books, who is said to be working with the screenwriters to keep the scripts as close to the book as possible) will have a change of heart and spare sweet Willow Shields? Let’s hope the odds are in her favor.