Actors Willow Shields and Dayo Okeniyi stopped by the CBR Yacht at Comic-Con International in San Diego 2012 to talk about their experiences playing Primrose Everdeen and Thresh, respectively, in the blockbuster film based on the bestselling novel by Susanne Collins. After learning how to play their official CBR kazoos, the actors noted how unprepared they were for the fan reaction.
“I live in New Mexico, so that’s kind of my settle-down time, when I go home,” said Shields. “When I go out sometimes, a young girl will recognize me and ask for a picture, but it’s not that bad. I take trips into L.A. and stuff like that, but when I go home, that’s my down time where it gets chill.”
“There was a little bit of fear because the movie actually hadn’t come out,” said Okeniyi. “I remember we did the mall tours at the same time where you got the chance to travel and meet fans. The response was incredible and it was so frightening because people hadn’t even seen the movie yet. For the movie to come out, for fans to really love the movie and for the movie to have genuine critical acclaim — it’s amazing.”
While Shields’ role as Primrose Everdeen didn’t give her a lot of opportunity to show off her physical prowess, Okeniyi described his time as a tribute as “extremely challenging,” saying the regimen included constant working out, change in diet, weight training, fight choreography and training with every weapon under the sun. While Okeniyi’s character Thresh will not get a repeat performance for the next films, Shields will return as Prim for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” in 2013.
“I’m really looking forward to growing up with the character,” said Shields. “I started out when I was ten and I’ll be probably finishing up around 15 or 16 years old when the last one comes out. It’ll be five or six years of shooting ‘The Hunger Games’ and I’m excited to see how Prim acts in the end and just to grow up with your character.”