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Actor Jeffrey Wright hadn’t read The Hunger Games until director Francis Lawrence offered him the role of Beetee. When he did, he was amazed by what Suzanne Collins was able to pull off.

Wright was most impressed by Collins’ ability to write to audiences with different political views simultaneously. “It’s welcoming of the entire political spectrum,” he said during a one-on-one interview with Hypable. “Some people look at these stories and take a 1% versus the 99% perspective, which can be read something as a left-leaning perspective. I think others look at this and they view it from a more right-leaning perspective as a condemnation of government. Others may look at is as a validation of a need for strong allegiance to the second amendment. So it’s nondiscriminatory, it’s nonpartisan. The core, essential values that Katniss responds to are these universal, mythic ideas around family.”

The actor is best known for his roles in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and the James Bond series. Despite having his hand in two of pop culture’s biggest dramatic entities, he was shocked and had a “woah!” moment when his agent told him Hunger Games is “bigger than Bond.”

In the book and film series, the character of Beetee is a District 3 tribute who is reaped for the 75th annual Hunger Games. He is a very intelligent victor who’s great with electronics, and his abilities are used to break down the Quarter Quell arena.

Wright’s casting as Beetee stemmed from a missed opportunity to work with Lawrence previously. “I was asked [to play Beetee] because Francis had wanted to work with me before on a movie and we didn’t get the opportunity to do that,” he said. “He called and asked if I’d consider it. I read the script and saw the first movie. It didn’t take long for me to accept that invitation.”

The popularity of The Hunger Games was an attractive part to taking the offer (which he didn’t have to audition for) because, as he learned later, the series is deserving of its warm reception. “There’s an intelligence that runs through and a relevance that runs through it that’s extremely attractive, and that it’s grounded in interesting literature for young minds. So many kids are being further encouraged to read, and we need more of that.”

The fandom

jeffrey-wright-catching-fire-philadelphiaTo promote Catching Fire, Wright headed out on a “Victory Tour” across several cities in the United States. It was at those events that he really dipped his feet into the passionate fandom and learned why readers love the trilogy as much as they do.

The actor – who chooses his words very carefully when being interviewed – describes the experience as “enlightening.”

“I’ve had the opportunity to talk to some of the more ardent, more proactive fans who’ve set up websites and blogs and tweet about the stories,” he told us. “I’ve had the opportunity to ask them why they’re so passionate about this stuff, and there hasn’t been one consistent answer. But the consistent aspect is that it’s very personal. And not lightly considered. It’s not simply because it’s a passing fad or because there’s this massive media attention on the stories. Or that Jennifer, Josh, and Liam are cute. It’s because they can place themselves within a journey that one of these characters is on. They somehow identity and sympathize with. And some people bring their politics to it.”

Gary Ross’ departure

We asked Wright about the departure of The Hunger Games director Gary Ross who was all but set to direct Catching Fire until he left the franchise because he thought he needed more time to shoot. We were curious if he noticed a quicker production pace to accommodate the tight schedule Ross was afraid of.

“There was never a sense that we were being rushed – at all. The sense was we were taking our time, taking as much time as needed to craft as fine a movie as we were able. I think a lot of the calmness – aside from Jennifer and Josh’s hi-jinx which keeps everything buoyant and fun – but that sense of calm was a direct result of Francis’ attitude toward the work.”

Francis Lawrence, Francis Lawrence, Francis Lawrence

Pivoting from the question about Ross, Wright asked himself how he would applaud Catching Fire in six words and repeated the director’s name to us three times. He credits the helmer’s vision for its forthcoming success because of how large of a project this is to envision while in production.

“I know what I’m doing. I know what I’m being asked to do and what my responsibilities are. But it was only upon seeing the movie that I understood the scale and the specificity of his vision and realized his vision. And really wrangle all these top flight filmmakers from actors to cinematography to designers to crew – wrangle them all together and have them work together on their very best material that is among the very best for films like this, and do it with a sense of ease and a sense of clarity is not an easy task. It is not to be underestimated. He really is extraordinary.”

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The nauseating Cornucopia

For Wright, one of the only action sequences he had to take part in was the scene where Beetee and other tributes are hanging onto the Cornucopia for dear life as it spins. “They had this whole rig. They had this carnival type rig that we were on. They cranked up the engine, and we just had to hold on for dear life. And at the end of the day, try to avoid the vomit bags. It was pretty crazy,” he told us with a laugh.

The actor didn’t have to take part in many stunts because the character is used more for his book smarts. “Beetee is more thinker than fighter. More lover than fighter. The other actors were more engaged in the physical aspects of it whereas I was allowed to be a bit more cerebral and relied upon for my capacity to think.”

Although they’re on hiatus right now to promote Catching Fire, Wright and the cast of Mockingjay started filming the two-part finale in October and will resume next month.

Catching Fire is in theaters this Friday.

Bonnie remains one of very few non-blood suckers on The Vampire Diaries, but she has still made her way through the supernatural catalog. We’re taking a look at her best, and worst, supernatural identities.

You may think that one of the Salvatore brothers has the most diverse life experiences amongst The Vampire Diaries characters, since they’re each older than the rest of the characters combined, but you’d be wrong! It’s actually the mortal Bonnie Bennett that is really getting the full look at what this life (and death) has to offer. From human, to witch, to anchor, to more than her fair share of deaths, she’s tried on almost every supernatural hat available.

No matter what supernatural box she’s checking on her driver’s license at any given time, Bonnie is an integral part of the Mystic Falls crew, and has saved the lives of our other heroes countless times! She is a great friend, and girlfriend, and can usually be counted on for a witty remark. That being said, she has definitely gone through her ups and downs, and some of her supernatural titles have fit her way better than others. We’ve ranked all of Bonnie’s supernatural identities, from the ones she could stick with, to the ones that she should never, ever go back to.

1. Witch — season 1 to early season 4, mid season 6 to late season 7

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Of course, Bonnie’s best role is the one she was born to play. Ever since she learned she was a witch, she has only grown stronger in her powers and better at wielding them. Salvatore and co. truly would be nowhere without her magic, which is evidenced by the number of times “Call Bonnie!” is yelled at the TV screen when the gang is in trouble on The Vampire Diaries (it can’t just be me).

Bonnie is at her strongest and happiest when she is a witch, but that’s not the only reason we’ve chosen this as her best supernatural identity. Bonnie Bennett’s witchiness has always been one of the coolest parts of The Vampire Diaries mythology, and has led to some of the most exciting and entertaining storylines on the show.

2. Human — her life before ‘The Vampire Diaries’

the vampire diaries, bonnie bennett

When we first met the young Bonnie Bennett, she was just beginning her deep dive into the magical realm. She had discovered that her ancestors were from Salem, and that the women in her family were supposedly witches, but she still thought she was just some sort of psychic.

Before she had even heard of a Bennett witch, she was just a normal, happy, high school student, whose only concern was figuring out who the new cute boy in school was! Her powers definitely helped her come into a strength that she hadn’t known before, and gave her endless opportunities to save the people that she loves, but they’ve also led her into a lot of darkness. Just because we imagine her as being much less burdened as a human, we’ve ranked this one pretty high!

3. The Anchor — mid to late season 5

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The anchor to the other side was perhaps Bonnie’s strangest supernatural title, and that’s really saying something. Bonnie had to endure a lot of pain during her time as the anchor, but after an extended period of being dead, she was just happy to talk to people that weren’t Jeremy again (we’d get sick of all that teen angst, too).

Her ability to interact with the dead supernatural beings allowed us some amazing glimpses of characters that we had loved and lost, and it was also interesting to explore Bonnie’s character without her magical abilities. Even though we’re still angry that she didn’t realize earlier that Katherine wasn’t dead, we’re putting this one among the best of Bonnie’s supernatural identities for its uniqueness.

4. The Huntress — late season 7 to undetermined

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This one goes in the middle because we’re still not quite sure what to expect from it, but we’re really excited for it! Rayna got a bad reputation because she was trying to kill everyone we cared about on The Vampire Diaries, but her mythology was interesting and it’ll be cool to see Bonnie try to figure it out.

Her relationships with literally everyone she knows will surely be tested when she attempts to kill them, but it’s nothing Miss Bennett can’t work through. On top of all the cool huntress stuff that we saw in Rayna, Bonnie will be bringing her magic to the table as well, which will make things even more entertaining.

5. Dead — late season 4 to mid season 5

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You may think this one should be at the bottom of the list, but in our opinion, Bonnie has faced some things that were much darker than death. That’s especially true because Bonnie looked pretty damn good for a corpse, as evidenced by the above picture of her in this state. We still got to see Bonnie on The Vampire Diaries through Jeremy’s eyes, since he gained the power of seeing ghosts the first time Bonnie brought him back to life. You know what they say: the couple that resurrects together, stays together.

Strangely, Bonnie’s awkward dead phase wasn’t the most hopeless that we’ve seen her. She died for something that she believed in, and mostly remained optimistic that she would get to come back, somehow. Also, Bonnie’s death was kept from the bottom of the list because we got Bonnie’s funeral during this time, which is still one of the most beautiful scenes ever on The Vampire Diaries.

6. Expressionist — season 4

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This is the term we’re using for the time that Bonnie was under the influence of the magic known as “expression.” When creepy Professor Shane helped/forced her to tap into this magic after she had lost her powers, Bonnie made some of the worst decisions that she ever has on The Vampire Diaries.

If anybody is a moral compass on the show, it’s Bonnie. She is always trying to help her friends, and do the right thing, even if it leads to her death (and it seems like it usually does). She made many questionable choices and participated in some very dark events during her time using expression.

7. Citizen of 1994, population: 3 — early to mid season 6

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So yes, technically, she was dead in 1994, too, but it was such a different death experience that we thought it deserved a separate category. Sure, it was all fun and vampire pancakes when Damon was there, but things got pretty depressing for BonBon after he returned to the land of the living.

We thought things were bad for her when she was being used by the sadistic siphon, Kai, but things got much worse when the extreme loneliness and hopelessness set in. The days leading up to Bonnie’s eventual rescue were by far her darkest on the series, and it was extremely difficult to watch her go through that much pain.

What was Bonnie’s best supernatural identity on ‘The Vampire Diaries’?

The movie adaptation of Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood, under Twilight author Stephenie Meyer’s production company Fickle Fish Films, has found its lead stars.

The Anna Dressed in Blood movie has cast Cameron Monaghan (Showtime’s Shameless) as Cas Lowood, and Maddie Hasson (ABC Family’s Twisted) will play Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood will be directed by Step Up: All In and OK Go’s “Here it Goes Again” director Trish Sie.

“Finding the right actors has been top priority,” said Sie in a press release. “It’s critical we achieve just the right tone and identify the magical combination of people that brings crackling electricity to these characters and their story.”

Added Stephenie Meyer, “We literally searched the world for over a year to find the perfect actors to bring this genre-spanning story to life. Cameron and Maddie, both so talented individually, together have that rare and extraordinary chemistry that lights up the screen. Trish Sie has the perfect background to visually translate Kendare Blake’s compelling story in a way that speaks to the modern viewer.”

A synopsis for the film sets up the premise: Cas Lowood (Monaghan) has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly dagger, Cas travels America with his mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the angry dead, and keep pesky things like plans for the future and friends at bay. Searching for a ghost the locals call ‘Anna Dressed in Blood’, Cas finds a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. Since her death, Anna (Hasson) has killed each and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian house she used to call home, yet there is something about Cas that compels her to spare his life. For reasons neither can explain, the two begin to realize that in their opposite, they may have finally found the one person who can help them unravel their complicated pasts, and survive their complicated present.

Fickle Fish Films is also responsible for Austenland in 2013, and has optioned the rights to Down a Dark Hall and Not a Drop to Drink.

Your number is up. It’s time you started watching Person of Interest.

Person of Interest season 5, the show’s final season, premieres tonight at 10:00 p.m. on CBS. It’s hard to imagine why CBS, a network with a flare for running procedurals well into double digit seasons, is not paying attention to Person of Interest. First, the episode order was cut, then months of radio silence on when the show would fit into CBS’s calendar. Finally, word emerged that the show’s final season would air two episodes per week and disappear from CBS’s lineup as quickly as possible. The behind the scenes network drama should not deter from Person of Interest’s growth from standard case-of-the-week procedural to serialized ASI war drama that, at its core, asks a particularly pertinent question, “How okay are we with being watched?”

Person of Interest premiered pre-Snowden. Why is that important? For those unfamiliar with the show, the opening title sequence begins with, “You are being watched. The government has a secret system, a machine that spies on you every hour of everyday.” Coming into the show today a new viewer would think, “Uh, duh!” But at the time of Person of Interest’s premiere the idea that the government was making use of the nation’s surveillance systems and listening in on calls to prevent terrorist acts was a cloudy idea. Something that might be happening, but probably would not affect our lives. Enter Person of Interest to unpack the “what if” scenario with the tale of ASI, or artificial super intelligence, and what that technology could be capable of placed in the right hands.

Person of Interest season 5 finch numbers

The ASI, or as its creator Harold Finch (Lost‘s Michael Emerson) prefers to refer to it, The Machine, is a super system that learns patterns in people’s behaviors. Its objective is to seek out potential danger and identify the perpetrators to the authorities. Finch, way back in 2006, sold the machine to the government to do just that. But when he learned that the government would assess and deploy prevention tactics only to stop major crimes and acts of terror, Finch created a back door and took the cases considered “irrelevant” into his own hands. Enter John Reese, a former CIA operative. Finch works with the brains of the operations, Reese provides the muscle.

Say hello to the perfect procedural ingredients. Each week The Machine would provide a new number (the social security number of a person who was either in danger or about to cause harm to someone else), Reese and Finch work to identify the person through surveillance and electronic records, the NYPD contacts provide assistance in acquiring case histories and diverting police vehicles, and bing, bang, boom by episode’s end the photo pinned on the wall would be taken down. That is, however, until season 3. Lurking in the background of seasons 1 and 2 were the big mob bosses of the five boroughs. They provided assistance or disruption time and again with Carl Elias heading up the organized crime unit steering the ship and contributed to the long form stories Person of Interest wove into the mix.

Person of Interest season 5 root finch

But by season 3, when a rival ASI began to take on a life of its own, so did the long form story. Numbers, belonging to victims and perpetrators still trickled out here and there, but a larger war began pushing them out of the limelight. And honestly, the show became better for it. Other procedurals across the networks tend to operate in the same way season 1 and 2 unfolded. Elementary reserves their B storyline for planting seeds across a season in order to open up three episodes at the end to a serialized story. NCIS and all its spinoffs, also tell narratives across episodes, typically focusing on one or two characters. Person of Interest decidedly turned the show on its head, even changing the opening credits to reflect a greater power taking over their world. Another being inside the show was here to shake things up and the only way to tell its story was to let Samaritan win for a while.

Samaritan, the rival AI built from the scraps of work Harold Finch previously discarded, brought with it a new method of storytelling. In season 3 Person of Interest slowly shifted to a more serialized show, ending a season-long battle against an organization known as Vigilance. Fighting for the right to electronic privacy, Vigilance’s visual leader, played brilliantly by pre-Hamilton superstar Leslie Odom Jr., took the show from Number of the Week into uncharted territory, a serialized drama sci-fi that tackles a war between the underdog ASI – The Machine – against the Super Intelligence and big bad – Samaritan. And that is where season 4 subsequently continued. Once Samaritan went live, there was no kill switch.

Person of Interest season 5 gang

So, why should you watch Person of Interest now? Even though CBS sees Person of Interest as an Irrelevant, I see it as being one of the most “Relevant” shows on television. Across the seasons there are episodes that I feel comfortable enough calling some of the best I’ve seen on TV. Not only is the topic eerily relevant to the current technological climate, but the show has some of the strongest actors and performances week in and week out. “The Devil’s Share,” is one of the best explorations of grief and revenge. Watch the cold open to the episode below, but be warned that it does reveal a major character’s death. The slow burn of the more personal stories and skeletons lurking in Reese, Finch, Shaw, and Root’s closet makes for some of the most compelling narratives on TV.

Seeing as the premiere picks up moments after the conclusion of the season 4 finale, I highly recommended that you load up “YHWY” on Netflix before heading into “B.S.O.D.” Person of Interest is certainly worth adding to your TV lexicon, but if you do not have time for every single case, there is an incredible guide that will catch you up without watching all 90 episodes.

The first few episodes of this season (I have seen four) maintain the feel of the previous seasons while also kicking off the final chapter in Person of Interest‘s story.

Watch Person of Interest season 5, episode 1, “B.S.O.D.” tonight at 10:00 p.m. ET on CBS.