SPOILERS: Elizabeth Banks Talks 'Hunger Games'
The release of the highly anticipated The Hunger Games, based on the bestselling young adult novel by Suzanne Collins, may be another four months away, but Hollywood can't stop buzzing about the new futuristic flick, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson and Elizabeth Banks.
Banks, 37, who plays the morally ambiguous, ostentatious Effie Trinket — a spokesperson for the nefarious Capitol who announces the "winners" of each year's reaping, in effect condemning nearly two dozen children a year to the sentence of fighting to the death in a universally televised, gladiatorial bloodbath designed to ultimately leave only one of them alive — was invested in capturing the essence of the character. "I wanted Effie to be really theatrical," Banks told Entertainment Weekly about playing the role, in particular coming up with Effie's voice and accent. "I just wanted to make sure she didn't sound too British. She needed to be a little highfalutin."
Fans of The Hunger Games and Effie might want to brush up on their classic cinema to see where the inspiration comes from. The voice, Banks said, is "a combination of The Philadelphia Story and Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame." Russell is one of Banks' stage and screen idols. She "is just amazing," in Auntie Mame, Banks said. "It's one of my favorite performances ever."
Banks will also return to her comedic roots in the hit NBC show 30 Rock in the near future. "I know what the storyline is. Mary Steenburgen is playing my mom," she said of her character, Avery Jessup. Banks is a new mom herself. She and husband Max Handelman welcomed their first child, a boy named Felix, via surrogacy in March 2011.
The Hunger Games will hit theaters on March 23, 2012.