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“The Hunger Games” recruits Steven Soderbergh as second-unit director

“The Hunger Games” recruits Steven Soderbergh as second-unit director (photo)

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Unless you’re a fan of the trilogy of novels on which they’re based, or happen to have a weird thing for any of the seemingly dozens of young thespians cast in the film, you might not have been paying too much attention to news about next spring’s “The Hunger Games.” But that may very well change when you hear who’s directing the film’s second unit: Steven Soderbergh.

The news first broke over Twitter, and was pieced together yesterday by The Playlist. A couple different people involved with the film, including production designer Eddie Mills and electrician Chrys Blackstone spoke out about the director’s involvement, saying “Soderbergh in the house this weekend!!! Very exciting!” and “Holy sh*t! Just found out that Steven Soderbergh is coming to the #hungergames to direct 2nd Unit. I am so excited this is getting good!” Both tweets, however, have since been deleted.

While Soderbergh’s involvement might seem odd at first, he actually has a long-standing friendship with the film’s director, Gary Ross. Not only was Soderbergh a producer on Ross’ “Pleasantville,” but Ross has reportedly looked over Soderbergh’s scripts in the past. Additionally, “The Hunger Games'” production designer, Phil Messina, has also worked on a number of Soderbergh movies including “Erin Brockovich,” “Traffic” and others.

If you’re a member of the uninitiated, “The Hunger Games” are basically a televised competition in which young adults fight to the death – similar to Japanese cult film “Battle Royale.” The film takes place in the dystopian nation of Panem, in the area once occupied by the United States. As penance for the outlying districts rising up against the capital, the folks in charge force each district to send one girl and one boy to the fight-to-the-dead Hunger Games. While technically young adult, the books are incredibly dark and mature, and have attracted a wide audience of older readers.

Soderbergh is widely renowned for his speed and ability to film and edit footage quickly, a skill that will no doubt be put to the test on “The Hunger Games,” as the production team is currently rushing to meet a March 23, 2012 release date. The film features a massive ensemble cast, including Jenneifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Paula Malcolmson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz and many more.

What do you think about Soderbergh signing on for “The Hunger Games?” Does it peak your interest in the adaptation of the best-selling novels? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Carol Cate Blanchett

Spirit Guide

Check Out the Spirit Awards Nominees for Best Male and Female Leads

Catch the 2016 Spirit Awards live Feb. 27th at 5P ET/2P PT on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Wilson Webb/©Weinstein Company/Courtesy Everett Collection

From Jason Segel’s somber character study of author David Foster Wallace, to Brie Larson’s devastating portrayal of a mother in captivity, the 2016 Spirit Awards nominees for Best Male and Female Leads represent the finest in the year of film acting. Take a look at the Best Male and Female Leads in action, presented by Jaguar.

Best Male Lead 

Christopher Abbott, James White
Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation
Ben Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind
Jason Segel, The End of the Tour
Koudous Seihon, Mediterranea

Watch more Male Lead nominee videos here.

Best Female Lead 

Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Rooney Mara, Carol
Bel Powley, The Diary of A Teenage Girl
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Tangerine

Watch more Female Lead nominee videos here.

New “Hunger Games” photos show us Katniss and her two leading men

New “Hunger Games” photos show us Katniss and her two leading men (photo)

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I’m nearly through with the third book in Suzanne Collins’ dark dystopia series “The Hunger Games,” and I haven’t been able to put it down. The story is a wonderfully written, emotional take on a teenage girl forced into the most horrific of circumstances, and her journey through a damaged world teetering on the brink of revolution. The novels have been runaway bestsellers and now with a movie on the way, we have our first real look at the three main characters in action courtesy of EW.

The books follow Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl living in the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem in the former USA. As penance for the outlying districts rising up against the capitol decades ago, each of the twelve regions is forced to send one boy and one girl to the annual Hunger Games, an arena-based fight to the death.

“Winter’s Boss” star Jennifer Lawrence has been cast in the main role, with Liam Hemsworth as her best friend and hunting partner Gale Hawthorne and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, the baker’s boy who is picked along with Katniss to serve as the tributes at that year’s games. While technically a young adult series, “Hunger Games” is incredibly mature in its themes and doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the state-sanctioned murders in the trap-ridden arena. It should make for one hell of a film, and we’re anxiously looking forward to seeing Hollywood’s vision.

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Josh Hutcherson in “The Hunger Games”

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Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson in “The Hunger Games”

What are you looking forward to seeing most from “The Hunger Games” movie? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

“The Hunger Games” motion poster, now with more fire!

“The Hunger Games” motion poster, now with more fire! (photo)

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It’s no secret that “The Hunger Games” is positioned to be the next big book adaptation to capture movie audiences attention now that the “Harry Potter” franchise has concluded and the “Twilight” saga is on its way out the door.

The expectations are well-deserved, too. The film based on Suzanne Collins’ bestselling trilogy has all the makings of a blockbuster, with a young cast of characters and up-and-coming actors playing them. Fortunately, it also has an exciting story that should find just as much support among the male demographic as female fans.

Today, Lionsgate debuted a “motion poster” for the film at Yahoo Movies featuring a symbol familiar to fans of the books: a mockingjay engulfed in flames.

In the world of “The Hunger Games,” the mockingjay is a symbol of rebellion against the oppressive government of Panem, a post-apocalyptic nation carved out of what was once North America. In the series, the government chooses two children from each of the 12 districts surrounding the Capitol to fight to the death in a televised tournament and serve as a reminder of the absolute power it holds over its citizens.

Oscar-nominated “Winter’s Bone” star Jennifer Lawrence plays main character Katniss Everdeen, a girl from a poor District who’s forced to fight in the games. Lawrence is joined in the film’s cast by notable actors Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, and Lenny Kravitz, among others.

“The Hunger Games” is scheduled to hit theaters March 23, 2012.

What do you think of “The Hunger Games” motion poster? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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