39 Facts About "The Hunger Games" You Probably Never Knew

May the facts be ever in your favor.

1. Author Suzanne Collins was trained in sword fighting, but believes if she were really in the Hunger Games, she’d only be scored a 4.

2. The Hunger Games is currently the third-most highlighted Kindle book of all time. The Bible is first.

3. Collins used to be a staff writer for Clarissa Explains It All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. She also wrote for the show Little Bear.

4. When Collins was a child, she was a Greek mythology fanatic.

5. Her original inspiration for The Hunger Games was the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, which horrified her as a child.

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6. The plant that is Katniss’ namesake is also known as “arrowhead.”

7. Katniss’ last name, Everdeen, is a nod to Bathsheba Everdene in Far From the Madding Crowd. Collins says that “the two are very different, but both struggle with knowing their hearts.”

8. Collins got the idea for Katniss’ story when she was channel surfing one night and kept seeing different reality TV shows on some channels, juxtaposed with footage from the Iraq War on others. She said that “these two things began to sort of fuse together in a very unsettling way.”

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9. Francis Lawrence, who directed Catching Fire and both Mockingjay films, also directed the music videos for Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls),” and Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi.”

10. Collins didn’t originally plan to make The Hunger Games a trilogy. When she got to the end of the first book, she knew there had to be a sequel, because she knew Katniss would be punished for almost eating the nightlock berries.

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11. Taylor Swift, The Civil Wars, and producer T-Bone Burnett wrote and recorded “Safe and Sound” for The Hunger Games soundtrack in one day.

12. Swift re-read the first book after writing the song to see where in the story the song would fit in. The Civil Wars said they think the song can be applied to four different relationships in the book.

13. While on set, Jennifer Lawrence told Josh Hutcherson she could kick all the way over his head, but when she tried, she accidentally kicked him in the head and gave him a concussion.

14. After reading the trilogy, Donald Sutherland sent a three-page email to director Gary Ross about his perception of President Snow. He titled it “Letters from the Rose Garden” and said he felt the three most vital elements about Snow would be his smile, his eyes, and his roses.

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15. Danny Strong, who played Jonathan Levinson on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, penned the scripts for both the Mockingjay films.

16. When Collins was 6 years old, her father fought in the Vietnam War. She said that her father felt “it was his responsibility to make sure that all his children had an understanding about war, about its cost, its consequences,” and that’s “the heart of” The Hunger Games.

17. The first Hunger Games movie was banned in Vietnam.

18. Collins said that the hardest part of the books to write were “the deaths…and the violence between the young characters.”

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19. On the last day of training for the first film, Jennifer Lawrence ran full-speed into a wall. Her trainer was afraid she had burst her spleen and she had to get a CAT scan.

20. Philip Seymour Hoffman, who played Plutarch Heavensbee, had eight to ten days left of filming for Mockingjay when he passed away. He didn’t have any dialogue in the remaining scenes, and the character will not be re-created using CGI.

21. Paula Malcomson, who plays Katniss’ mother, also played Jennifer Lawrence’s mother in a 2007 episode of Cold Case.

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22. Collins read survival books and used her father’s knowledge of foraging and hunting when she wrote the books. Her father grew up during the Great Depression, and his family depended on hunting and foraging to survive.

23. Many fans believe the Capitol in the books is located where Denver, Colorado, is now.

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24. Elizabeth Banks said that the hardest part of wearing Effie’s elaborate costumes was the nails. She couldn’t use the bathroom without having someone help her unzip her costume and hand her toilet paper.

25. Banks’ favorite Effie costume is the monarch butterfly outfit she wears at the reaping in Catching Fire. It’s made of feathers that were hand-painted to look like butterflies.

26. Jennifer Lawrence’s favorite Katniss costume is the gold dress she wears during the Tribute Parade in Catching Fire.

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27. “Panem” is derived from the Roman expression “panem et circenses,” which translates to “bread and circuses.”

28. There was a swear jar on set for the first film, and director Gary Ross estimated Lawrence contributed to about half the total.

29. As a child, Lawrence’s nickname was “Plays With Fire.” When she was older, her parents told her it was because they had decided not to have any more children when she came along, and “they got burned.”

30. Lawrence went deaf in one ear for a week during filming for Catching Fire. She had to dive into stagnant water for a stunt and got a double ear infection, then caught a water jet in the same ear during filming.

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31. For the first film, the costuming team had to make 1,800 costumes to dress the Capitol extras. Many of the costumes were handmade.

32. There were 35 full-time makeup artists and 450 wigs on set for the first film.

33. Katniss’ signature braid took only 20 minutes to style.

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34. Woody Harrelson based Haymitch’s hairstyle on his brother Brett’s.

35. Actress Kristen Bell wanted the role of Johanna Mason.

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36. Jacqueline Emerson, who plays Foxface in the first film, accidentally gave herself a black eye during training. She wasn’t allowed to tell anyone she’d been cast in the film so she had to lie to her friends at school about how she got it.

37. The Hunger Games has been translated in 51 different languages.

38. Collins sat in on Josh Hutcherson’s audition and said that “three lines into the read [she] knew he’d be fantastic.”

39. Ultimately, Collins hopes people who read or watch the series will ask themselves “questions about how elements of the book might be relevant in their own lives,” like not taking your next meal for granted and being politically aware.

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