The unauthorized fan audio series The Katniss Chronicles takes the three books of The Hunger Games and adds sound effects and voice actors to bring a new way to experience our favorite series. Here is a Q & A that we did with Barbra Dillon (Katniss Everdeen), Bryant Dillon (Peeta Mellark), Paul Pakler (Finnick Odair and accent coach), and series creator Sam Rhodes.
Question 1: How did you get on board with TKC?
Sam: Bryant and Barbra had read The Hunger Games Trilogy and recommended it to me. After I read it, we talked about doing something with it and I think it was Bryant who suggested that we do an audio drama.
Question 2: How did you come up with the voice for Finnick Odair?
Paul: Even before I was to play Finnick, when I was wearing my dialect coach hat, I thought that Finnick should have an accent…there have been debates that Finnick and the rest of District Four are of Mexican/Latin American descent…it wasn’t the direction that I wanted to go. Climate change changed the map of the US into what Panem is, and the biggest natural disaster in America during the Bush administration [when Suzanne Collins wrote the novel] was Hurricane Katrina and its effects on the city and on the citizens of New Orleans. Long story a little longer–because of Cajun already being an isolated accent–and it comes from a culture of food and music and dancing and fishing and is so damn sexy. Cajun seemed a perfect fit.
Question 3: Was it challenging or helpful to have your wife play Katniss Everdeen?
Bryant: For the most part, I find it very helpful. My wife and I had preformed together before and we have an intimacy that allowed us to take on the more romantic aspect of the Peeta/Katniss relationship without issue. Also, it’s pretty flippin’ cool to be married to Katniss.
Question 4: Why is The Hunger Games trilogy important to you?
Barbra: Never before had I read a series that was so engaging and heart wrenching led by a realistic female character – let alone a young woman. It is rare that I identify with female characters in literature, and while I have not had to deal with the same trials and adversity that Katniss faced, I felt that my own life experiences mirrored her journey towards adulthood and self discovery. In my eyes, Katniss is a very strong and attainable role model for young people.
Question 5: What lessons can we learn from the story?
Sam: I think the biggest lesson to learn from these books is that we are the Capitol. It sounds harsh to say aloud, but I think it is both true and important to realize. I’ve heard many discuss how the future described in ‘The Hunger Games’ is extremely unbelievable and could never come to pass in the real world, but there are a number of ways that the United States and its citizens operate in a Capitol-like way these days. Children in other countries work as slaves for life so that we can have the products we want and we barely register the harm we are doing them because we’re too consumed with our own lives and the distractions presented to us. It might not mean that we’re horrible people, but I can’t help but feel that those working in sweat shops in other countries can’t view us and our cultural excesses too differently than Katniss viewed the Capitol and its citizens.
Question 6: Out of the books, which one is your favorite and why?
Bryant: I love all of the books, but ‘Mockingjay’ is easily my favorite. I am so appreciative, as a fan, that Collins did not pull any punches. It’s such a honest and brutal look at the scars war leaves on a society and its people and how no one is untouched by its effects. It’s an epic and tragic ending, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
Question 7: How much freedom do you have with the acting choices?
Paul: Um…a lot. Being the NYC director, I’m literally sitting alone in my room acting and directing myself. It’s not easy. It takes a lot of research and script analysis as well as being aware of what you’re bringing across as an actor. “Am I hitting that line exactly as it sounds in my head?” “How do I think the person I’m talking to said their line so that I can respond to the energy they’re (hypothetically) giving me?”
Question 8: Who is your favorite character and why?
Barbra: I certainly don’t want to bore your readers with my continued prattling; they’re probably guess that a certain heroine is my favorite character…
Go check out the ultra talented crew over at http://www.thekatnisschronicles.com
New episodes are posted every week!