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Woody Harrelson Was Not Allowed to Be More “Drunk and Debauched” in Jennifer Lawrence’s Billion Dollar Franchise

Woody Harrelson Was Not Allowed to Be More “Drunk and Debauched” in Jennifer Lawrence’s Billion Dollar Franchise

Actor Woody Harrelson played the role of Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games franchise which had Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role of Katniss Everdeen. Harrelson’s character is a mentor figure to Everdeen, while himself being a former winner of the contest that all the current contestants including Everdeen are fighting for throughout the films.

All four films in the franchise were box-office hits, putting Lawrence on the global map and making her a bonafide movie star. Harrelson starred in all four of the films and received praise for the portrayal of his character. He initially had a specific pitch for the character that did not necessarily go well with the director.

Woody Harrelson Wanted to Make the Character More Drunk and Debauched

Woody Harrelson and Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games
Woody Harrelson and Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Woody Harrelson talked about his character Haymitch Abernathy, and his role in the film The Hunger Games (2012). He talked about the initial pitch of the character that he had for the film, which he discussed with director Gary Ross. Ross did not necessarily agree with Harrelson’s take on the character and had certain differences. Harrelson told,

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“That was kind of a discussion between Gary and I, because I always wanted to make Haymitch more drunk and debauched, but Gary wanted to keep a rein on it so that it wasn’t too much like that. In other words there are times when he had to get down to business so, yes, that had to be properly pitched. Me, I am always in general ready to go over the top with it, so it is helpful to have a director like Gary bringing me back”

Harrelson also talked about how his character Haymitch Abernathy is one of the most unique characters that he has ever played. He said,

“I think he is a pretty fine character. I can’t think of any other character I have played like him. He is quite a unique character. Also he’s interesting because he’s one thing on the surface but then you find he is a little bit different, further down the road. He has that thing of people not being able to quantify him”

It seems Harrelson enjoyed his role and contribution to the proceedings of the film. It must also have been an exciting opportunity for him to have scenes and explore character dynamics with Jennifer Lawrence, who is a powerhouse performer.

Also read: “It didn’t feel that much to do for me”: Woody Harrelson Refused to Work in Jennifer Lawrence’s Billion Dollar Franchise Twice Before He Changed His Mind

Woody Harrelson Initially Turned Down The Hunger Games Twice

Woody Harrelson
Woody Harrelson

A fact that will be a shocker for fans of the franchise and the character of Haymitch Abernathy, Woody Harrelson initially rejected the first film twice. He was not particularly thrilled with the concept and the potential scope of his character. But director Gary Ross convinced him to star in the film. He said,

“I turned it down and they re-offered it and I turned it down again. Then Gary Ross called me and convinced me to do it on the phone. I’d thought the writing was good but it didn’t feel that much to do for me”

Reading the source material written by Suzanne Collins also helped Harrelson reconsider his decision and develop more interest in the project. He further said,

“I thought Suzanne wrote incredible stories that are the perfect illustration of what’s going in the world, with governments controlled by giant industries”

His involvement would pay off big time as his character became one of the most significant characters in the film. He would further reprise his role in all three future films of the franchise.

Also read: “Is that s*x swing?”: Jennifer Lawrence’s Mouth Got Her Into Trouble Again As She Had an Embarrassing First Meeting With a 3 Times Oscar Nominee Woody Harrelson

The Legacy and Future of The Hunger Games Franchise

A still from The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
A still from The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

The Hunger Games series was a huge box-office success and the films were all positively received by fans and critics. It included the films The Hunger Games (2012), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1 (2014), and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2 (2015).

A prequel film titled The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is set to be released in theatres on November 17, 2023. It is based on Suzanne Collins’ 2020 novel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. 

Also read: “Them screaming, me stuffing my underwear”: Venom 2 Star Woody Harrelson Shouted at by His Girlfriend’s Parents While Trying to Lose His Virginity

Source: The Huffington Post

Written by Rahul Thokchom

I'm Rahul from MANIPUR. A total ambivert constantly discovering the world. I love watching movies and talking with like-minded people about the pleasures and frustrations cinema provides!