Alexander Ludwig Talks About Cato and How He Prepared for the Movie and His New Song

EW has sat down and talked to Alexander Ludwig, the one who plays Career Tribute Cato in the Hunger Games movie.
Alexander Ludwig as Cato

Prior to 2011, Alexander Ludwig was best known as the somewhat skinny kid with supernatural abilities at the center of both the 2009 Dwayne Johnson family flick Race to Witch Mountain and the 2007 fantasy film The Seeker: The Dark is Rising.

But to take on the role of the ruthless Cato — the deadliest tribute and rival to Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in The Hunger Games — Ludwig says he put on roughly to 30 to 40 pounds, filling out the now 19-year-old Canadian actor into quite the imposing presence. In person, though, he still exudes a youthful squirminess, an inability to sit still for more than a few seconds, that renders his outsize bulk more sweet than scary. Check out our interview below:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you first know that there was an opportunity to be a part of this movie?

ALEXANDER LUDWIG: I heard about the film a lot earlier than most. I had a meeting with one of the studio execs. I had a dinner with them at the Beverly Hills Hotel, I think, maybe a year before they were going to make it. And she told me about the books and that they were thinking about doing a movie. I read the book and immediately fell in love with it. I just dedicated my summer to just physically and mentally getting into the role.

Did you know you’d be playing Cato right away?
Originally, it was between me, Josh, and another guy for Peeta. And then when Gary called me and asked me would I like to play the role of Cato, I just jumped on the opportunity. Because I’ve never really played a bad guy, and I just thought it would be really, really fun, to just dive into the whole twisted psychotic-ness of it.

How much training time did you have between when you officially got the role and then started shooting?

About two weeks. But I had been training a lot before.

Just on your own?


What did you do?

Definitely I wanted Cato to have as much of a physical presence as he did a mental one on the screen. So I had to put on something around 30 to 40 pounds for the role. I’m still working really hard to get back to normal. It’s so much easier just to eat and workout than not eat and workout like crazy. It’s definitely tough, but it’s at least what I thought the character demanded, so I thought it was important.

Did you have a sense of how big this film was going to be?

Definitely not when I first heard about it. I think when it really hit me was when I came back to Vancouver for Thanksgiving, and there was press and fans outside the airport. That was the first thing. You expect that in L.A., but not really at home. That kind of smacked me in the face, like, God, this thing’s real. Which I’m excited about!

NEXT: Ludwig on tough workouts and what’s next for him

Cato is part of a foursome of “Career” Tributes that are especially chummy. How did all the tributes get to know each other and build that camaraderie?

I’m really happy you picked up on that, because that’s something we really wanted to come across. We thought that added to the sick and twisted-ness of it all, that they’re actually enjoying this. “This is fun!” And the reason that it is sick and twisted but at the same time you can understand, is that, that’s all they know. The careers were brought up to do this. Whereas everyone else is just kind of thrown into this so they know what they’re coming up against.

The camaraderie was something that just came naturally. You’re thrown into the middle of North Carolina, and you’re kind of in this bubble. And you’re spending almost every day with everybody.

It’s almost like camp.

Yeah, exactly! It’s like camp, but in nicer hotels. We did a lot of group workouts to build up that kind of camaraderie as well.

What kind of workouts?

Army workouts. We’d go to this warehouse where the studio was. We’d come in our gym clothes and have to flip tires and climb ropes and do these crazy workouts together and have races. Everyone knew each other pretty well.

You’d just turned 19 before shooting began, so you’re pretty close to Cato’s actual age. What do you make of all this, of taking the idea of a reality TV show and pushing it to this extreme of kids killing kids?

It’s definitely not something you see every day, and that’s definitely shocking. But it is not by any means this bloodbath. It really is about connection between characters and a really touching story. Of course there’s violence in it; there has to be. But I think the way it was translated was very much less about the violent parts, and more about the humanity [of the characters] and the indecency of this totalitarian government.

So what’s next for you?

I’m releasing a single. It’s called “Live it Up.” It was based on my Euro trip. I only write my own music. I don’t let other people write it at all. So I’ve been working on that a lot. There’s three singles coming out. The producer of The Fray who did their double-platinum album How to Save a Life, I’m working with him, he’s producing me. Then I want to go back to work and start acting again.

Alexander Ludwig Live it Up (Teenage Wasteland)

Alexander Ludwig Liv it Up (Teenage Wasteland) Lyics

Available from 7th Mar 2012

Alexander’s first single “Liv It Up”

(Verse 1)
After 3 Days in a cabin
with our friends on the beach
decided to pack up my jeep
and head for the streets
Eyes a little hazy
Head was booming
A clear result of all
The Liquor we were consuming
After doubling back
To recover my phone
We finally made it back
To van city our home
Cut to the airport
All shook up and sad
As I say farewell
To my mom and my dad
In the waiting room
The lady calls out my flight
Listen to baba’o’riley
As I fly into night
Realizing highschool
Aint coming back
A thousand miles away
And were done with that
Emotions start flowin
As I ponder this
My highschool life
I will truly miss
But all of this bliss
Is gone in a flash
As I arrive in London
With my passport n cash
Meet up with my buddy
Whose eyes are lit
we about to embark
On our grand euro trip

We hop on a plane
Going insane
As we begin to kite surf
In the south of Spain

Naked girls swim in the water
I lay in the sand
Turn to my buddy
And outstretch my hand

Give him the fist bump
And it comes to me quick
Holly shit
Life is way to sick


it’s a teenage wasteland out there
liv it up, liv it up, liv it
party hard like no one would care
liv your life, liv your life, liv it
gaze at the stars
but shoot for them too
no body can tell you
what to do
when all fought out
if you start to doubt
baby don’t

(Verse 2)
Hit up Barcelona
For a good 5
No drug on this earth
Could make you feel so alive
My buddy swings a Russian chick
To which we high five
All our way to Paris
Where we crash for four nights
We post up in Brussels
As we’re on our way
Stop at delirium café
Where we park for a day
And by park I mean drink
In the dark as we sink
In three liters of beers
Laughing in tears
So we make our way
To Amsterdam And damn its about as crazy
As I am
Nothing to think about
No cares in the world
Just girls loving boys
and boys loving girls
5 British cuties in a tub
we end our night
all looking for love
and feeling alright
overlooking the city
we got nothing to lose
so we open up another bottle
of grey goose
and when I think about this
it comes to me quick
holy shit
life is way too sick

it’s a teenage wasteland out there
liv it up, liv it up, liv it
party hard like no one would care
liv your life, liv your life, liv it
gaze at the stars
but shoot for them too
nobody can tell you
what to do
when all fought out
if you start to doubt
baby don’t

(Verse 3)
we bungy in Swiss
do Munich for a day
finally decide
to make our way
to the beginning of the end
join with another friend
who accompanies us along
the final bend
and by bend I mean party
and by party I mean hard so
rally rally rally rally rally rally rally rally
chug chug chug chug
chug chug chug chug

Liv ur life, live ur life, liv ur life


in two weeks
we do Greece
with our peeps
drinking heeps

dirty sheets
and euro beats
rocking mycanos, Ios
and santorini streets
what a trip
I have to say
I will never
Forget these days
Will your best friends
Rocking out
That’s what its
All about

(Slow chorus)
it’s a teenage wasteland out there
liv it up, liv it up, liv it
party hard like no one would care
liv your life, liv your life, liv it
gaze at the stars
but shoot for them too
nobody can tell you
what to do
and when all fought out
if you start to doubt
baby don’t
and when all fought out
if you start to doubt
baby don’t

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