Only one month until the DVD/Blu-ray release of Mockingjay - Part 1!
Keep your eyes peeled throughout the week for more trivia on the series! I will link the following parts at the bottom of this article. Enjoy!
All facts were pulled from The Hunger Games IMDB page, unless stated or sourced otherwise.
Seneca Crane never appears in the books, but he is not totally made up for the films either. He is first mentioned not in The Hunger Games, but in the second chapter of Catching Fire, in which President Snow explains to Katniss that he had Crane killed for failing to get the single winner traditionally required by the games.
"If the Head Gamemaker, Seneca Crane, had had any brains, he'd have blown you to dust right then. But he had an unfortunate sentimental streak. So here you are. Can you guess where he is?"
Also, there was a roman philosopher named Lucius Annaeus Seneca, and he was forced to commit suicide. If I had paid attention in History, perhaps I'd have known that long before this article. Whoops!
The fictional nation in the film is called Panem. This is derived from "Panem et Circenses," or "Bread and Circuses," which comes from the latter days of the Roman Empire, in which the government would keep the masses satisfied not by performing their public services well, but by providing violent and deadly entertainments for the people to watch, which is rather fitting for the subject matter of the film. Panem's location is in a post-apocalyptic North America whose land mass has been reduced by rising sea levels. It is generally agreed that the Capitol is in the Rocky Mountains, possibly Colorado, and that the District 12 town where Katniss grew up is somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains, possibly Kentucky or West Virginia. Panem Propaganda, a Hunger Games fan site, has three different maps of Panem. You can view them here.
The first name of the main character, Katniss Everdeen, is derived from the name of a group of edible plant species, genus "Sagittaria", commonly known as "arrowhead". This is a reference to the character's archery skills. Her surname is a reference to Bathsheba Everdene who is the lead female character in Thomas Hardy's novel "Far from the Madding Crowd". Suzanne Collins, who wrote the novel that The Hunger Games is based on, said "The two are very different, but both struggle with knowing their hearts".
The "three finger salute" is something often seen, but was never explained in the movies. In the second chapter of The Hunger Games, we are told:
It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. It means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love.
Since Jennifer Lawrence is friends with Lenny Kravitz's daughter, Zoë Kravitz, she couldn't get herself to use his first name. Instead, she called him 'Mr Kravitz' from the first day on. Kravitz quickly found out that the rest of the cast and crew also started to call him 'Mr Kravitz'.
Before the reaping, we hear a conversation between Gale and Katniss right before the reaping. Katniss asks how many times Gale put his name in, and he said forty-two times. Those who have only seen the movies won't understand why he put his name in that many times. In the first chapter from The Hunger Games, we are told:
You can opt to add your name more times in exchange for tesserae. Each tessera is worth a meager year's supply of grain and oil for one person. You may do this for each of your family members as well. So, at the age of twelve, I had my name entered four times. Once, because I had to, and three times for tesserae for grain and oil for myself, Prim, and my mother. In fact, every year I have needed to do this. And the entries are cumulative. So now, at the age of sixteen, my name will be in the reaping twenty times. Gale, who is eighteen and has been either helping or single-handedly feeding a family of five for seven years, will have his name in forty-two times.
During a New York Magazine interview, Wes Bentley said that the extremely unusual beard he wore as Seneca was styled from his own real beard, not created from applied pieces or extra hair. Bentley said that while he was in North Carolina filming the movie, he would often go to the local Target (a national department store chain) to buy things like baby formula while still sporting the "Seneca beard."
Because of how the pedestals were arranged and spaced apart in the field, there are only 20 of them at the cornucopia instead of 24.
Although tracker jackers and their venom is explained, the history of a mockingjay never is. Taken from The Hunger Games wikia:
A hybrid of mockingbirds and jabberjays, the birds were created by mistake. The jabberjays - all male - were initially created to eavesdrop on the rebels in the Dark Days, memorizing entire conversations and repeating them back at the Capitol. Once they were discovered, the rebels fed endless lies to the birds, and sent them back loaded with false information. After the lies were discovered, the Capitol closed the laboratories and the jabberjays were released into the wild, in the hope that they would die off. They did, eventually, but not before they passed on their genetic code to female mockingbirds. This was unforeseen, because no one expected them to be able to reproduce with other bird species. The offspring were called mockingjays, and, while they had lost the ability to memorize words, they could mimic any sounds from a child's high-pitched warble to a man's deep tones, and even songs with multiple verses, if you had the patience to sing to them. Katniss' father was one of those people, and Peeta claims that when he first heard Katniss sing, all of the birds, including mockingjays, fell silent, the sign that they liked the song or notes that were sung. The mockingjay is so important to Katniss because her father had a special bond with them, and so did Rue.
The four-note melody that Katniss uses as her signal with Rue (and that plays at the end of most trailers) is G-Bb-A-D. It is the same as the opening four notes of "A Time For Us" from Romeo and Juliet (1968).
In the early scenes depicting life in District 12, an homage to Dorothea Lange's iconic Depression-era photo is seen in the shot of the lady looking out the window with her fingers on one cheek. Later in the film, the Reaping scene features images of the same grand neo-classical architecture, '40s style microphones, and red birds of prey banners that were all part of the Third Reich.
Donald Sutherland saw the script by accident and, when he read it, lobbied for the role of President Snow because the script reminded him of Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory (1957). He succeeded in getting the role after he wrote a letter of plea to Gary Ross explaining why he should be cast.