Woody Harrelson Avoids Being ‘Phony Drunk’ In ‘Hunger Games’

But he also didn't want to actually drink during filming — like he had done before — to play Haymitch.

Anyone familiar with “The Hunger Games” books knows the character Haymitch Abernathy is mostly memorable for one thing: drunkenness. Sure, his character has a more multifaceted arc over the course of Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, but in speaking of the first book and film adaptation, Haymitch’s most recognizable trait is his near-constant intoxication.

When MTV News caught up with Woody Harrelson recently, the man who will be bringing the District 12 victor and mentor to life via the big-screen adaptation on March 23, we him how he approached his character’s inebriation.

“It’s an intriguing thing for me to play, because it’s not something I’ve had that much opportunity to play,” Harrelson said. “I was a little bit worried about looking phony, that phony drunk thing. Some Method actors might go drunk onscreen; I can’t do that. I tried it one time,” he admitted. “When I was doing ‘Indecent Proposal,’ I had this one scene, and I was supposed to be really drunk, contesting Robert Redford’s love for Demi Moore, and I got smashed because I was supposed to be, so I rationalized it, and that wasn’t a pleasant experience.”

Harrelson said he and “Games” director Gary Ross spent time coming up with the right level of inebriation, a point that suited the character but did not completely detract or distract from the story.

“There was a thing with me and Gary trying to decide the level of drunkenness in any given scene, and I was always pushing for more drunk, and he didn’t want me to be drunk in every scene,” he said. “He was always pulling back, and I was always pushing for more just because I think it’s kind of funny and interesting. Knowing Gary, he got the right balance.”

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