“Welcome to the Los Angeles Hunger Games!” The 10-year-old that stood to the left of us moved like Foxface, but said something we all were thinking. As the sun rose, and shined light on the 200 plus tributes already in line at 6 a.m., for their opportunity to get their spot in the games.
Westfield Century City is no arena, but it was going to be today. Fans lined up on the bridge that went over ‘Avenue of the Stars,’ waiting for their opportunity to possibly meet Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth. We were approximately 240 in line. The first person had lined up at 1 a.m.
When we were let in we took up space to the left of the stage. A perfect view of the stage. We settled in for our nine-hour wait until the cast arrived.
It wasn’t long, before they started handing out new posters. Posters that are for the tour and had not been seen before. People ran to them like tributes to the cornucopia. I was waiting for Cato to come and knock people down, but all you could see was the same 10-year-old from line weaving through like Foxface.
It was about noon before festivities started. The crew of Westfield threw a dance contest. Three rounds for meet and greet tickets. KIIS FM was due to show up at 3:00 p.m. The dance contest winners received wristbands to go in and meet the cast.
At 3 p.m., KIIS showed up and took over the festivities. It was a nonstop dance party for three hours. Tributes singing and dancing, screaming, all in hopes of getting the coveted Orange bracelet that would lead you into a meet and greet with Jennifer, Liam, and Josh. It was an amazing thing to watch. The energy was unbelievable. Everyone was genuinely excited to be there. KISS gave away about 40 wristbands to go in and meet the cast. The people with signs made from home, had their dreams come true, as many won wristbands.
The best part of seeing all of this, was the fans walking out crying. They were happy. They were smiling. KISS asked a girl why she was crying, and through her tears she managed to say, “I just met Josh.”
Then it happened. A tall distinguished pepper haired man came out the doors. Gary Ross greeted the crowd and signed autographs.
It all meant that it was about to happen. Jennifer, Josh, and Liam walked out, and waved as they walked behind the gates. We all looked anxiously at our phones, we have less than 30 minutes left until we got to hear them speak.
Liam was introduced first. Then Josh. Then Jennifer.
I would love to describe their facial expressions, but I stared at my phone, as I tweeted the event for fans that couldn’t be there. But, I can tell you, Jennifer’s laugh is infectious. I have a whole new respect for her. You could tell she loved the fans.
Here is what we learned:
- As a token in the arena, Jen would bring her Leo necklace, Josh would bring a fried chicken bone (his Grandma makes great fried chicken), and Liam would bring his bracelet.
- Jen loves to shoot a bow and arrow. She’s “really good but can’t shoot birds.”
- Josh and Jennifer met a couple of times before filming, but he doesn’t remember it. She does.
- Liam was speechless when he got the part of Gale. He had told his managers if he didn’t get it he would burn their house down.
- Jennifer got the call for Katniss when she was in London. They called her in the middle of the night. She was sleeping, and said that is great, I will call you in the morning.
- Josh had to put on 15 pounds to play Peeta. It wasn’t the good kind of putting on weight. Instead of eating fried chicken, he was eating grilled.
- Liam and Jennifer both had to lose weight for their roles.
- Josh brought up the concussion. Jennifer responded with the fact he put a mutilated dummy on her toilet. He responded with what came first, the chicken or the egg.
- Josh says Jennifer became a badass. She agreed, that she had three hours of badass training a day.
- Josh and Liam would both want to be Haymitch if they weren’t Peeta and Gale. Jennifer would want to be Seneca Cranes beard.
- Jennifer loves Katnisses Strength, Bravery, and Loyalty. She said Katniss is like a modern-day Joan of Arc.
- Jennifer says Josh’s favorite costume was the black latex one. He said it was kind of awesome. Jennifer’s favorite was the flame dress. Liams was the fact that he got to look dirty, which was fine with him.
- Jen says Gary Ross is “the most brilliant person I’ve ever met. He’s funny and sweet and creates a warm atmosphere.”
- During Jennifer’s audition she improved with Gary Ross. He played President Snow.
- Jennifer knows Zoe Kravitz, and always called Lenny Mr. Kravitz. She had to stop cause the whole crew started calling him that. She calls him Lenny now.
- Josh’s favorite movie to shoot besides this was Journey 2, because it was shot in Hawaii.
- While teaching Liam how to catch crawdads, Josh got a leech stuck on his hand.
And then our time in the arena was done. Until next week, as we journey into ‘The Hob’ to meet the fans there.
Erin has a passion for all things literature and co-owns the networks of fan sites for book to movie adaptations, The Silver Screened Novels Network.