'Hunger Games' also stars North Carolina

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 29, 2012

By Shavonne Potts
Sometimes a decision does come down to location — at least when comes to moviemaking.
One of the year’s most highly anticipated movies, “The Hunger Games,” was filmed throughout North Carolina, boosting the economy along the way and giving people a glimpse into the beauty of the state.
The search for a location began more than a year ago.
Movie representatives reached out to the N.C. Film Office, based in Raleigh, about using areas in the state to shoot “The Hunger Games.” At the same time, the film office had the movie on its radar, said Guy Gaster, a production services executive with the N.C. Film Office.
Gaster, also a North Rowan High graduate, said the work began in the fall of 2010.
Movie representatives expressed their needs and the film office staff located places throughout the state that could meet those needs.
“We sent them a locations packet about what they were looking for,” Gaster said.
Representatives from the movie met in December 2010 and returned January 2011 to see some of the sites they liked.
Much of the movie was filmed throughout the western part of the state and the Charlotte region. Filming also took place at the former Philip Morris cigarette plant in Concord.
Casting calls took place at Carolina Mall, also in Concord.
DuPont State Recreational Forest near Brevard doubled as the Arena, which is where the competition in the movie takes place.
In Burke County, portions of the Henry River Mill Village in the town of Hildebran served as District 12, home to main character Katniss Everdeen and her hunting partner, Gale Hawthorne, as well as the bakery owned by the family of Peeta Mellark, Katniss’ fellow tribute from District 12.
When they weren’t filming, the actors dined at local restaurants or played a round of chess — as actor Woody Harrelson did at Amelie’s Bakery in the North Davidson Street neighborhood, commonly known as NoDa, according to the website for North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development.
“The movie was part of our most successful year,” Gaster said.
Filmmakers spent more than $60 million in North Carolina and employed about 5,000 people, including actors, extras and crews. “The Hunger Games” is the largest movie ever made in this state, the Associated Press said.
The movie was primarily shot throughout the summer, but pre-production began as early as March, Gaster said.
The film office hopes that moviemakers will return to North Carolina to shoot the next two movies of the Hunger Games series.
Gaster said the film office is working with officials at Lionsgate, the company that made “The Hunger Games,” to make North Carolina a fixture in the remaining films of the trilogy.
For more information about the NC Film Office, go to www.ncfilm.com.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.