‘Hunger Games’ Inspires Hope

Plus, Daniel Radcliffe makes good, 'Star Wars' returns in 3-D and Nic Cage is still awesome.

If you’re anything like all of us at MTV News, you’re curious as hell about whether “The Hunger Games” is going to translate into the big-screen spectacle we all know, believe or hope it can be. The tagline for the film is “The world will be watching,” and that’s certainly the hope Lionsgate has for their potential four-movie (yes, dividing the last book into two films has been discussed) franchise.

We’re less than two months away from the film’s release (March 23 to be precise), and I have found myself caught up in all the pre-release hype. I remember talking to Katniss candidates almost exactly a year ago (don’t cry for Hailee Steinfeld: She’s shooting “Romeo & Juliet”; she’ll be fine). And just last month, I sat down with the entire cast of the film to finally talk about what they shot, the huge expectations and more.

Last week, we rolled out my interview with Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, and I know a lot of fans were thrilled to see how close the two clearly are. Of course, whether that translates into “chemistry” onscreen, well, that’s a question for late March. This Thursday, by the way, you’ll get a chance to see my full sit-down with the director of the film, Gary Ross. Frankly, Ross is the primary reason “The Hunger Games” is something I have legitimately high expectations for. Just a quick glance at his résumé as a writer (“Big,” “Dave”) and director (one of my favorites, “Pleasantville”) should raise anyone’s hopes for this big-screen translation.

ODDS & ENDS

The boy who lived lives on:
It’s perhaps a little odd to wish good fortune for a multimillionaire who’s had as much success as Daniel Radcliffe has experienced in his young life, but I have to say I’m happy for the solid job he did in “The Woman in Black” and the fact that it attracted a decent audience (commensurate to its modest budget) in its opening weekend. If there’s any guy who could sit back and do nothing, it’s Dan, but he kicked ass on Broadway last year, and 2012 is off to a fine start for him. He’s soon tackling Allen Ginsberg in a small indie as well. A fine start to phase two of his career.

Double-sided lightsabers are always cool:
I don’t care if you all think I’m crazy: I will be seeing “The Phantom Menace” when it comes out this Friday. Frankly, I don’t really care about the 3-D. I just want to see a Star Wars film on the big screen again, and for all of its flaws, there’s plenty to love in “Episode I.” Hate Jar Jar all you want. You were dying inside the first time you saw that climactic lightsaber duel too. Was that just me? Really?

Watch “Bad Lieutenant” again:
I’ve got Nic Cage on my interview docket this week, which means I will be seeing the first film in which a superhero urinates fire quite soon. And, yes, I’m looking forward to it.

Have any questions for the awesomely eccentric Mr. Cage? Send them my way to @JoshuaHorowitz.

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

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