Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth — all names you'll want to stand up and applaud for when the credits roll on "The Hunger Games," no doubt. But if there's one person you'll really want to tip your hat to, it's Suzanne Collins.
Like J.K. Rowling with the "Harry Potter" series and Stephenie Meyer of "Twilight" fame, Collins is the novelist who dreamed Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne into existence. Without her, you wouldn't have a tribute to fight for. Without her, you wouldn't be on the cusp of what's sure to be 2012's biggest blockbuster so far.
Certainly, actress Elizabeth Banks identifies Collins as the great hero of the "Hunger Games" franchise. In fact, "hero" isn't a strong enough description — to Banks, Collins is a full-fledged rock star.
"To me, the biggest star here is Suzanne Collins," the actress and hard-core "Hunger Games" fan told MTV News about her feelings on the novel's author. "She created this entire world, all of this pandemonium, all these characters. She birthed this whole situation. She couldn't be a nicer lady. She's the loveliest lady, and I'm a total geek around her. To me, she's a total rock star."
Just as many fans would kill for the chance to spend time with the "Hunger Games" cast, so too did Banks swoon over getting one-on-one time in with Collins.
"I've professed my love for her pretty much," Banks laughed. "The books are done, and they're the books, so she doesn't need me to dissect them with her, but I'm very happy that she's happy with the film. So to me, it was always about, 'Let's make director Gary Ross happy with the film, let's make Suzanne happy. Everyone else, who cares.' "
Of course, Banks cares very much about the fans, a group she described as "unbelievable."
"The passion of everyone here is crazy. It's very exciting," said Banks. "I'm very excited to see this movie with an audience. I saw it in a small room with two other people, so the energy in the room is going to be ballistically bananas. I brought tissues. It's very emotional, this movie! I cried making it; It's very emotional for me."
If Banks is already emotional over "Hunger Games," she'll want to bring plenty of tissues with her for "Catching Fire," the planned sequel to the Collins-inspired movie. Though Banks wouldn't confirm a start date for "Catching Fire," she did tease a fashion item that she might end up wearing in the sequel.
"In the books, Effie appears at the Reaping in a green dress," she teased. "I did not wear the green dress in the movie. But we have it. It exists. So I think we'll break that one out in 'Catching Fire.' "
Check out everything we've got on "The Hunger Games."
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