Stars say "Hunger Games" movie violence justified

LONDON Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:07am EDT

1 of 5. Actors Josh Hutcherson, Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth (L-R) pose for photographers as they arrive for the European premiere of ''The Hunger Games'' at the O2 Arena in London March 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - The stars of the eagerly anticipated movie "The Hunger Games" said scenes of violence were justified, after British censors agreed to give the film a "12A" rating only after some footage was cut.

Based on the first of three novels by Suzanne Collins, the film is a post-apocalyptic story in which U.S. actress Jennifer Lawrence plays heroine Katniss Everdeen who volunteers to take her sister's place in a televised fight-to-the-death battle.

The hype surrounding its March 23 launch has been compared to the hugely successful "Twilight" vampire movie franchise, and industry experts predict an opening weekend box office tally of up to $100 million in North America alone.

In Britain, distributors agreed to cut seven seconds of footage featuring wounds and bloodied weapons in order to obtain a "12A" rating and draw in a bigger, younger audience.

When asked whether she believed the violence depicted on screen was acceptable, Lawrence said:

"I think so, yes, because it's the violence and the brutality (which) is the heart of the film, because it's what gets the people angry to start an uprising and to start a revolution.

"I do think the violence and brutality is justified, but I understand if everybody has a different standard for ratings," the actress told Reuters on the red carpet at the European premiere of The Hunger Games in London late on Wednesday.

In the United States, the film aimed largely at a teenaged audience received a PG-13 rating "for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images -- all involving teens".

Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta Mellark, said he believed director Gary Ross had struck the right balance between staying true to the book and not overdoing the violence.

"I think kids are more mature than they have been over the years and I think ... the whole idea was to make this movie and stay true to the book without alienating audiences.

"So Gary Ross did it in a way where he didn't glorify it (the violence) at all. It's not overly gruesome or brutal but it is part of the story in some way."

British actor Toby Jones, Claudius Templesmith in the film, praised the pacing of The Hunger Games.

"It feels like a sort of adult film in style, it's not that fast editing you see all the time in films that are supposedly for young people," he told Reuters.

"It's much more, it believes that the audience were interested in the characters so it takes its time."

(Additional reporting and writing by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)

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Comments (2)
sbul wrote:
“I think kids are more mature than they have been over the years,…” I’m not sure, but I do think that kids are more violent and willing to see violence as entertainment then ever before. I believe this statement not only to be irreverent to the depiction of violence in movies, but also part of the problem of teen violence – the media glorifies violence and we have more as many kids (especially) spend over 30 hours a week absorbing the violence portrayed in media outlets as “entertainment”. Now, we have kids stopping other kids from stopping violence so they can watch the fighting where kids are being killed.

Mar 15, 2012 11:07am EDT  --  Report as abuse
freeskier wrote:
@sbul you obviously missed the point of this story. Sure the voilence (even in the book) is horrible and gruesome. But that’s the damn point of the thing, to help us realize how perpetual voilence is in our culture. Why do you think Collins made the Games televised? Don’t you think this is a statement about how entertained we are by violence and how repulsive it really is. The book and the story reinforces all the points you just made, so why are you here?

Mar 15, 2012 12:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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