If you've read Suzanne Collins' excellent "Hunger Games" trilogy, you know that blood-lusting teens aren't the only foes District 12 tributes Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark must face in the titular Games. In this dystopian reality, scientists have busied themselves slicing and dicing genomes to create murderous mutants worthy of your worst nightmares. And they've plopped them smack dab in the middle of the arena.
Among this nasty creature collective is a super species of wasp known as tracker jackers, whose venomous stings cause hallucination and even death. Yet, despite their killer instincts, the insects end up playing an important role in Katniss' survival, all the while posing one of the biggest filming challenges to director Gary Ross.
"That's a vertical sequence, literally staged over 100 vertical feet," Gary said, explaining the difficulties of the sequence. "You have the careers on the ground. You have Katniss on one level in a tree, and you have Rue in another tree up here. You have the tracker jacker nest up here, and the crew is going up and down this tree the entire time, and you have all these axis to cut together into one taut, suspenseful sequence. And you have CG insects. This is not for the faint of heart. I think my shot list was like 110 set-ups or something like that. We're building scaffolding. This was shot practically in trees—none of this was shot on the computer. That was a daunting and challenging sequence that required a lot of attention."
However, for all its technical difficulties, Gary said the scenes that required the most attention were the quieter, emotional moments between the characters (like a certain tribute's tearful death). Click play on the video above to hear more from Gary on that Game-changing, gut-wrenching moment.
Are you excited to see the tracker jacker scene? What are you most looking forward to in "The Hunger Games"? Sound off in the comments and on Twitter!