Harrelson and Hemsworth on fanning the flames of revolution in ‘Catching Fire’

Thanks to the way the release schedule came together this fall, I have interviewed Woody Harrelson thirty-seven times since September. Thank god it’s Woody Harrelson, one of the easiest guys to chat with in this business, because when this happens with a star and with the strange ways things end up getting timed, it’s easy to run out of things to talk about, and that doesn’t seem to be the case with him.

When I went to the press day that Lionsgate held for ‘Catching Fire,’ the sequel to ‘The Hunger Games,’ Harrelson was paired with Liam Hemsworth, who returns as Gale, the young man who grew up with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) as her best friend. Both of them play supporting roles in the film and, more than that, both of them are playing characters who have hidden agendas in the film, which means that they’ve got to play two totally different levels to what’s happening from scene to scene.

It feels like the entire cast really responded to Francis Lawrence as director this time around, and that’s going to serve them well as they head into the two-part “Mockingjay,” where everyone’s going to have to be at their best. That’s one of the things I find interesting about this series. There’s a slow simmer that carries across the first two films, and it’s really only in the last few moments of this film that things explode and everyone is revealed as who they really are.

Talking about character arcs like that, we were careful not to ruin any of the film’s surprises, but we discussed how you play a part when a film is structured like this, and I look forward to continuing the conversation for “Mockingjay Part 1,” when we can finally lay some cards on the table.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” will be in theaters on Friday.