Exclusive

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.”

catching-fire-beetee-quarter-quell

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.

A new Fifty Shades Darker trailer was released on Wednesday and ups the sexy for the sequel.

Ana and Christian are getting back together in the Fifty Shades of Grey sequel, but the former has a couple of new rules: No secrets, way less BDSM. Christian agrees, but new problems come to light: Is someone from the millionaire’s past haunting him?

Read full article

A new Fifty Shades Darker trailer was released on Wednesday and ups the sexy for the sequel.

Ana and Christian are getting back together in the Fifty Shades of Grey sequel, but the former has a couple of new rules: No secrets, way less BDSM. Christian agrees, but new problems come to light: Is someone from the millionaire’s past haunting him?

Dakota Johnson continues to bring a fun vibe to Ana Steele, playing the awkward lines with self awareness better than Kristen Stewart ever did as Bella in Twilight. “Have dinner with me,” Christian begs. “Okay fine, I will have dinner with you, because I’m… hungry,” Ana replies. The line could come off corny if executed poorly, but Dakota has a strong hold on playing this character for fun.

Tickets for Fifty Shades Darker are now on sale. Check out a new poster for the movie below:

fifty-shades-darker-poster-2

The Fifty Shades Darker synopsis reads, “When a wounded Christian Grey tries to entice a cautious Ana Steele back into his life, she demands a new arrangement before she will give him another chance. As the two begin to build trust and find stability, shadowy figures from Christian’s past start to circle the couple, determined to destroy their hopes for a future together.”

The movie hits theaters this Valentine’s Day. It stars Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Jennifer Ehle, Victor Rasuk, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora, Eloise Mumford, Max Martini, Bella Heathcote, Kim Basinger and Marcia Gay Harden, and is directed by James Foley.

It’s looking like Nick Robinson will go from battling dinosaurs to battling the process of coming out.

‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ actor revealed

According to The Hollywood Reporter, 21-year-old Nick Robinson is in talks to play Simon in the book to film adaptation of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda written by Becky Albertalli. The movie will be directed by CW/DC Universe mastermind Greg Berlanti.

Nick Robinson is best known for his supporting role in Jurassic World, in which he played big brother Zach Mitchell. He also co-starred as Ben in the book to film adaptation of the dystopian novel The 5th Wave starring Chloe Moretz.

Read full article

It’s looking like Nick Robinson will go from battling dinosaurs to battling the process of coming out.

‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ actor revealed

According to The Hollywood Reporter, 21-year-old Nick Robinson is in talks to play Simon in the book to film adaptation of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda written by Becky Albertalli. The movie will be directed by CW/DC Universe mastermind Greg Berlanti.

Nick Robinson is best known for his supporting role in Jurassic World, in which he played big brother Zach Mitchell. He also co-starred as Ben in the book to film adaptation of the dystopian novel The 5th Wave starring Chloe Moretz.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is an excellent coming of age/coming out LGBT YA novel which we’ve raved about here on Hypable before. Nick Robinson is definitely an actor we can picture in the role, so we can’t wait to see him play the adorable character.

The film is being produced by Wyck Godfrey’s Temple Hill Entertainment, who’s responsible for The Maze Runner series, The Twilight Saga, and the upcoming Power Rangers.

What do think of Nick Robinson as Simon?

If you haven’t read it yet, we highly recommend that you do. The book was first published last year:

After you read it, be sure to check out our exclusive interview with Becky Albertalli. Simon was her first novel!

Netflix has unveiled a new Series of Unfortunate Events trailer, showing off Neil Patrick Harris’ excellent portrayal of the evil, wacky, will-stop-at-nothing-to-get-that-money Count Olaf.

Neil Patrick Harris’ ability to convincingly become any person — whether male or female, young or old, ugly or beautiful — becomes abundantly clear in the latest ASOUE trailer. While some of us may’ve been a little skeptical of his casting initially, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role after seeing previews like this.

The trailer begins with narrator Lemony Snicket (played by Patrick Warburton) warning that the new Netflix show is no delightful watch. Then the focus turns to Olaf and his mission to steal the children’s fortune, left to them by their parents after their untimely deaths:

Read full article

Netflix has unveiled a new Series of Unfortunate Events trailer, showing off Neil Patrick Harris’ excellent portrayal of the evil, wacky, will-stop-at-nothing-to-get-that-money Count Olaf.

Neil Patrick Harris’ ability to convincingly become any person — whether male or female, young or old, ugly or beautiful — becomes abundantly clear in the latest ASOUE trailer. While some of us may’ve been a little skeptical of his casting initially, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role after seeing previews like this.

The trailer begins with narrator Lemony Snicket (played by Patrick Warburton) warning that the new Netflix show is no delightful watch. Then the focus turns to Olaf and his mission to steal the children’s fortune, left to them by their parents after their untimely deaths:

The Unfortunate Events trailer also presents new looks at colorful characters including Uncle Monty (Aasif Mandvi, below), Aunt Josephine (Alfre Woodard, below), and Justice Strauss (Joan Cusack).

unfortunate-events-netflix-2

unfortunate-events-netflix

A Series of Unfortunate Events premieres all eight episodes of its first season on January 13, 2017.

“Based on the internationally best-selling series of books by Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) and starring Emmy and Tony Award winner Neil Patrick Harris, A Series of Unfortunate Events recounts the tragic tale of the Baudelaire orphans — Violet, Klaus, and Sunny – whose evil guardian Count Olaf will stop at nothing to get his hands on their inheritance. The siblings must outsmart Olaf at every turn, foiling his many devious plans and disguises, in order to discover clues to their parents’ mysterious death.”

Another trailer was released two weeks ago — you can watch it here.

Is ‘Unfortunate Events’ looking as good as you hoped?

Harris previously confirmed that each book will be adapted into two episodes of the show. The first season of ASOUE covers the first four books, so presumably season 2 will roughly cover another four books. There are a total of 13 books in Lemony Snicket’s series.