Elizabeth Banks Talks About Catching Fire Casting, Being Effie, and Francis Lawrence

Moviefone recently caught up with Elizabeth Banks when she is in the middle of promoting her latest flick “People Like Us.” She talked about Francis Lawrence and Gary Ross, Catching Fire Casting and being Effie. The following is an excerpt of her interview: 
There was a tizzy over who would direct the second movie of the Hunger Games trilogy, “Catching Fire.” Are you upset that Gary Ross isn’t returning as the director?

No! I mean, Gary is on to do things that he’s really interested in. I think it was a mutually agreed-upon decision by all involved, and, so, great. There are no tears for Gary.

So are you looking forward to working with Francis Lawrence?

Yes, I am. I don’t want to be flippant about what I just said about Gary. He made a great movie, he made a lot of money, he’s moving on — I think it’s fine for everybody. He’s good, and now we’ll get fresh eyes on the next one, and that’ll be really exciting. And it’s always exciting for actors to create new relationships with new directors. Gary and I made two movies together and I would do anything with him, but now I’m excited to get to know Francis.

Some major new characters are introduced in “Catching Fire”: former tributes Johanna and Finnick. Casting rumors are flying. Is there anyone in particular that you’re lobbying for?

I’m gonna trust the process, because so far the process has been amazing and I think it’s yielded an incredible cast. The movie is so well-cast, and I’ll even throw myself into that mix. There’ll be a similar process and we’re gonna get a great Finnick and a great Johanna. And a Plutarch! Don’t forget! There’s so many great characters coming up.

Your Effie was great. Which character was more of a challenge for you, Laura Bush in “W.” or Effie?

You know, Effie is a much darker character. Laura Bush actually was fairly easy in that she was just a great wife. There was no political context for her. The transformation was pretty easy. I actually feel like if I had that hair, I would look like her in a way. She’s a nice looking lady.
So Effie, for sure, was more difficult. Effie walks a very fine line and I wanted her to not just be comic relief, I wanted her to have a lot of weight and to sort of carry the weight of the Capitol around with her, like the oppression of the Capitol and for everyone to understand that she is a woman living in fear.

Effie was amazing. It was amazing to be embraced by so many fans, and to have Suzanne Collins tell me that she thought I did a good job. That was a big highlight for me.

Elizabeth Banks

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