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Immersed in Movies: 'The Hunger Games' Futuristic Control Room

Photo of Bill Desowitz By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood March 30, 2012 at 5:59PM

Without a doubt, the most fascinating design aspect of "The Hunger Games" is the futuristic control room, where the gamemakers not only keep tabs on all the Tributes but also stack the deck against Katniss whenever possible.
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"The Hunger Games" control room
Lionsgate "The Hunger Games" control room

Without a doubt, the most fascinating design aspect of "The Hunger Games" is the futuristic control room, where the gamemakers not only keep tabs on all the Tributes but also stack the deck against Katniss whenever possible.

While the look of this survival-of-the-fittest, reality-TV nightmare evokes Hitler's Third Reich, the control room is actually the most futuristic component of the movie. This was crucial to director Gary Ross and VFX supervisor Sheena Duggal, who had only 23 weeks to pull off 1,200 total VFX shots on a very tight budget. But when Lionsgate enthusiastically supported a temp version of the movie early on, they increased the VFX budget, allowing Duggal to spread the wealth among a dozen more companies.

"There was such tremendous pressure on us that we were constantly looking for creative ways to make up for the lack of time and money," Duggal says. "And then we had to work really hard to come up with extra solutions and then sell these out."

She needed all her skills to pull off the look and functionality of the control room.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Franchises, Features, Interviews


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.