If mockery is the best form of flattery, then The Hunger Games is about to get a big helping: with only the second of the four-film HG franchise, Catching Fire, about to hit theatres later this month, spoof film The Starving Games will beat it to the punch with an earlier release on November 8. Starring Maiara Walsh and Cody Christian, and brought to you by the Scary Movie duo Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, Starving Games is “a parody of everything from Hunger Games to Avatar to The Hobbit to Sherlock Holmes” according to starlet Walsh.
Maiara, who is also proud to be a part of YA favorite Switched at Birth, loved playing Kantmiss Evershot, a spoof on Jennifer Lawrence’s heroic protagonist in the original franchise. “It was actually a lot of fun for me because I read all of the HG books. I would have loved to play Katniss; I called my agents, said ‘you gotta get me this audition!’” she jokes. “This was a fun way for me to still get to play this character.”
And therein lies the secret of the best spoofs. “The only way a parody can work is to play the realness of the situation,” Walsh reveals. “Once you play the jokes, I don’t think anything is funny. It’s the fact that these characters are in these absurd situations and how do they respond to them.”
Her co-star Cody Christian, of Pretty Little Liars fame, approached his role as Peter Malarkey in an entirely different way. “You have to separate yourself from the reality of everything – and I pride myself for being a very ‘real’ actor,” he says. “You have to step outside that box of reality – it’s very big and broad. It’s hard because I’ve never had to dive into that style of acting.”
Even if they have different takes on what makes a spoof tick, the results are hilarious, especially in a “hot and heavy” sex scene in a cave. “We’re in a society where sex sells, so they tried to spice things up,” Cody observes. And that they did, while never losing the funny undertone to what was going on. But Maiara chimes in about the physicality in other parts of the movie as well: “It was very demanding physically, which I enjoy,” she says. “There were entire days where I would be running through the forest, for like 6 hours at a time!” She also thoroughly enjoyed being made up for her Avatar scene, but by the 3rd or 4th hours it felt grueling.
In the end, both actors left it to the pros. “Jason and Aaron [writers and directors Friedberg and Seltzer, respectively] know what they’re doing – they’re professional,” Cody states. Maiara agrees, as she often asked herself, “How do I make this scene funny? You gotta know what you’re doing. We’re not making an Oscar-winning film here, we’re having fun!” And keeping that in mind is what makes these satirical films so popular.
In anticipation of the release of both The Starving Games and Catching Fire, and to get into the Hunger Games spirit, we asked both stars what they would bring with them into a real-life version of The Hunger Games. For the electronic item, both were quick to elect their iPhones. “I’d make sure it had GPS,” Maiara specifies. As for the one person they’d each bring in, Maiara feels pretty secure with our nation’s forefathers, and selected (inexplicably!) George Washington to be her companion. Ever more resourceful, Cody went for Jackie Chan: “He can catch bullets and deliver tornado kicks to the face!” he observes. Finally, the food item Maiara selected was in fact a lighter and a pot, so as to be prepared. Protein supplements are Cody’s choice.
May the odds be ever in your favor!
The Starving Games opens in select theaters, VOD and Digital November 8, 2013.