Hunger Games Movie’s Avox Girl Amber Chaney Talks About Her Role

Here is an excerpt from an interview from Creative Spotlight with Amber Chaney, the actress who played the Avox girl (Lavinia) in the Hunger Games movie. Avoxes cannot speak because their tongues were cut for their offenses against the Capitol. They also served as “slaves” for Capitol citizens. In the movie, they are wearing a red outfit. Anyway, here is the excerpt for the interview:
The Hunger Games is one of the most hyped up and anticipated films of the season. What did it feel like when you found out you were officially cast as Lavinia in the film?

I found out I had been cast while I was in my dressing room getting ready to go onstage for a play.  It was a theatre in Marietta called Theatre in the Square, that has now since closed, and I felt it was a huge accomplishment for me to break into that caliber of theatre in Atlanta.  Getting a show at Theatre in the Square was a rite of passage.  I cannot even begin to tell you the excitement that rushed through me when my agent told me I booked Hunger Games.  I couldn’t believe it.  It was like the acting gods were just shining a light on me and holding it there.  It was mixed, though.  The project was top secret, so I was jumping up and down at my dressing table, but had to keep it to myself.  That’s tough!  You want to scream. “I’m gonna be in the HUNGER GAMES!”, but then you would get sued… so you don’t.

Your character doesn’t actually speak! What was it like to try to convey emotion and connect with the audience without being able to speak? Did you find this challenging? How did you prepare yourself for this role? Did you actually read the books?

 I read the entire series three times.  I read it once just to read it.  I read it again and took TONS of notes, made a diagram of each of the tributes, their districts and what each district represented, mapped out how I thought Panem was shaped and where the districts were, a route that Lavinia and her son (I decided the boy was her son—it raises the stakes) took, decided what horribleness she was trying to flee from—what secrets there could have been (and I think it has something to do with the boy she is running with), and mostly where she finds her courage to flee.  You see, we never got to see a script before filming.  There was no telling what was going to be included or not, so I just prepared for anything.  I read it a third time to catch mistakes in my notes, and any nuances I could pick up on.  I wanted to be a Hunger Games nerd.  I was so nervous; I didn’t want anyone to be able to throw something at me that would stump me.  When you prepare like that, it’s easy to convey what you need to whether it’s verbal or non.