District 4 Tribute Tara Macken on the Hunger Games Trailer: ‘It Gave Me Chills’

You might know Tara Macken from her stunt work in projects like Nikita and In Time, but in The Hunger Games, Tara is working double duty. She plays the District Four tribute, so not only did she get to show off her stunting abilities, she was able to make the character her own. CinemaBlend spoke to Tara about shooting the movie, and what fans can expect from it:

What came first, the script or the book?
I didn’t know anything about the book until I had to audition for it and then I read it after the audition.

When you read it, did you just read it to read it or were you focusing on your character?
I just read it with an open mind because I didn’t want it to be like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna get this work,’ or, ‘I want to be this character;’ I just really wanted to enjoy it. I’m a big fan of Harry Potter, I love reading, so it was really good to find another book that I could be obsessive about for the weekend.

How about your character? We don’t know much about the girl from District 4 from the book, so did you develop your own backstory for her?
Yeah, absolutely. I tried to make the character as similar to my situation as possible, to make it real. I’m originally from the Philippines and I grew up on the beaches, so I thought it was perfect casting when I found out that I was going to be representing District 4, which is the fishing district. And then also, in the book, my character’s supposed to be one of the bigger, stronger tributes and I think it goes hand in hand and they really thought deeply when it came to casting each of the tributes. It’s good that you have a big background in stunts and action; I thought it was extremely fitting for me to be a stronger tribute and definitely a tribute that’s living in the fishing district. I think that really played to my advantage. And, in addition, my tribute partner, in the book he’s supposed to be a really small tribute, like the youngest of all of them besides Amandla [Stenberg], so it was really good as a contrast to have me there. I’m not the biggest of people. I’m only 5’4” so to have a tribute partner who is 4’10”, I think aesthetically it helped develop my character. 

Back to The Hunger Games, having read it and now shot it yourself, is there anything you think is going to really blow fans away?
To be honest, I got really excited watching the trailer. Not because I was just in it, but, you know, when you’re on set and you’re working 14 or 16 hour days, filmmaking can get mundane or very repetitive because you’re doing scene after scene, so you forget how exciting the project is once it’s all together. Sometimes you do think it’s just a job. You’re like, ‘Okay, I guess I could do this scene again,’ and it’s ten takes. But then when I watched the trailer, you don’t have in your head the music they had envisioned or how they were gonna edit it. You just know the book and the characters and you know the situation that you’re currently in and so I guess when I was able to see it all put together in Gary Ross’ imagination in the form of a trailer, it gave me chills. I was just like, ‘Wow, that’s some powerful stuff.’ I think everyone’s gonna be pretty blown away and excited by how Gary puts everything together and makes this book come to life.

Be sure to check out the rest of Tara’s interview (it’s great!) at CinemaBlend.

Source: The Hob


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