In the future, there is Gore-Tex. And also trees. That’s what we learned from the scant 45 seconds of “The Hunger Games” footage Lionsgate revealed during MTV’s Video Music Awards Sunday.
In the teaser, Jennifer Lawrence gallops through a dense forest as 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, one of 24 kids forced to fight to the death in an outdoor arena game. Lawrence, who has already demonstrated action heroine potential by gutting a squirrel in “Winter’s Bone” and pumping iron in “X-Men: First Class,” delivers on Katniss’ scrappy athleticism--she dodges fireballs, leaps over a fallen tree and releases an arrow with a fierce glint in her eye. Over the action, the voice of Katniss’ hometown pal, Gale (Liam Hemsworth), hints at one of the relationships that drives her character. “You’re stronger than they are,” Gale says. “You are. They just want a good show, that’s all they want. You know how to hunt. Show ’em how good you are.”
“The Hunger Games,” directed by Gary Ross, is the first in a planned series based on a trilogy of dystopian young adult novels by Suzanne Collins. The teaser footage, which Lawrence introduced from the movie’s North Carolina set, reveals little of the visual ambition of the books' science-fiction setting. There is no sign of District 12—the bleak, coal mining region from which Katniss hails—nor the sleek Capitol District, where the stylish and powerful reside. Also absent are the series's fantastical fashions, such as Katniss’ “girl on fire” dress, and mutant creatures, like the arena’s deadly “tracker jacker wasps.” The movie’s hairdressers have delivered Katniss’ distinctive side braid—this may replace Princess Leia’s buns as a new generation’s Comic-Con coiffure of choice—but her wardrobe suggests the future looks a lot like a Lands’ End catalog.
Though minimal, the footage contained a hint to find more visual detail about the movie. A Twitter hashtag in the teaser, #whatsmydistrict, points users towards a viral website, with a blurred, black image, some discordant electronic beeps and a note in the corner prompting "citizens” to identify themselves via Twitter. After a few hours of people tweeting the site's address, the image appeared to begin forming into the seal of the Capitol District. (Here Lionsgate is taking a page from the viral campaign for “Dark Knight Rises”—as more people Tweeted the phrase “The Fire Rises” in May, a blurry image clarified into a mosaic photo of Tom Hardy as the "Batman" villain Bane.)
"The Hunger Games" also stars Josh Hutcherson as Katniss' arena partner, Peeta Mellark; Woody Harrelson as her booze-addled mentor, Haymitch Abernathy; Elizabeth Banks as her airhead escort to the Capitol, Effie Trinket; and Lenny Kravitz as her faithful stylist, Cinna.
"The Hunger Games" opens March 2012.