‘Hunger Games’ VMA First Look: Run, Katniss, Run!

Gale's voice echoes in Katniss' head as she makes a run for it in exclusive sneak peek that debuted during VMAs.

Katniss Everdeen had to wait her turn at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards. First there were eye-popping performances from Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, Moonmen to bestow on best new artists and finest hip-hop videos and special appearances from Misters Beavis and Butt-head. But when Katniss finally got her chance to shine as the first-ever glimpse at footage from “The Hunger Games” debuted at the VMAs on Sunday night (August 28), she didn’t waste any time in blazing a memorable pop-culture moment: She ran and ran and ran and ran.

The first-look teaser featured Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence as the reluctant warrior, tearing through the forest, sidestepping giant fireballs and uncorking her bow and arrow to show all who were watching that she’s not to be messed with.

“I wish I could be at the VMAs in person, but I’m in North Carolina filming ‘The Hunger Games,’ ” Lawrence said in a special introduction that played before the footage. “Like so many of you, I’m a huge fan of these books, and I can’t wait to share the movie with you in March. Here’s the first glimpse of ‘The Hunger Games.’ ”

And there it was: Run, Katniss, run!

An adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel, “Hunger Games” tells the dystopian tale of Katniss and Peeta, two teenagers living in a future in which the United States has crumbled and a new country — 12 impoverished districts overseen by an authoritarian Capitol — has risen up in its place. The Capitol stages a brutal annual tournament called the Hunger Games, a battle to the death among 24 young people that’s broadcast to the nation as a means to terrorize and yet somehow entertain the citizenry — and this year, Katniss and Peeta are roped into the gladiatorial action.

The VMA footage dials in on Katniss as she’s trying to survive within the Hunger Games arena, where threats from bloodthirsty teenagers, devious game-makers and deadly beasts abound. As she runs, the voice of Gale Hawthorne, her hunting pal from back in the district, echoes in her head. “Listen to me: You’re stronger than they are,” he says. “You are. They just want a good show. That’s all they want. You know how to hunt. Show them how good you are.”

The teaser comes to a close as Katniss indeed shows how good she is: arrow meeting flaming target. But all this is just a taste of what’s to come, as director Gary Ross told MTV News earlier this week. “We’re still shooting, so unfortunately it’s just a teaser. We could only give you a little bit because we’re still down here making the movie,” he said. “But there’s a lot of things to come that I think are going to be hugely epic and very emotional and incredibly powerful.”

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Check out everything we’ve got on “The Hunger Games.”

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