Interview: Megan Hayes on The Hunger Game: Catching Fire

By John Townsend


Editor’s Notes: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens worldwide November 22.

Megan Hayes is an up and coming American actress who has been cast in the new Hunger Games film Catching Fire. She has recently appeared in productions such as Plus One and What To Expect When You’re Expecting and is probably best known for her many comedic appearances on television. Megan recently took time to talk with me about her new projects, life as an actor and of course, about Catching Fire itself.

John Townsend: Hi Megan, thank you for talking with me. How are you?

Megan Hayes: Hi, I’m good thank you.

John Townsend: How does it feel with Catching Fire about to be released?

Megan Hayes: Oh it’s so exciting. It was July 27th last year when I was cast so it feels like it’s been such a long time.

John Townsend: Please tell us about your character and where she fits in with the story and into the Hunger Games world.

Megan Hayes: In Catching Fire there are new games called the Quarter Quell and all the participants are former victors. I play a character called The Morphling who is a previous winner from District 6 which is the transportation district and what happened was that in helping her cope with post traumatic stress disorder she was given this drug called morphling. It acts like a pain killer, like morphine, but it’s really addictive. I can’t say too much about her appearance but she’s pretty disgusting (laughs).

John Townsend: I recently watched The Hunger Games again and it is a very dark film in places. Does that theme continue in Catching Fire?


Megan Hayes: I definitely think that’s the case. The books get darker as they go on so I think it’s important that that is shown in the films. There’s so much more at stake book by book, both for Katniss and for the country as a whole so things definitely become darker and more urgent.

John Townsend: Each tribute for the Quarter Quell is a former victor and therefore pretty “bad-ass”. What skills does your character have that allowed her to win previously?

Megan Hayes: I would say most of the victors are bad-asses apart from me! Johanna for example is great with an axe but my character is all about with guile and camouflage, a little like Peeta in the first film. I think she won by hiding for the most part! (laughs) She’s really smart though but she doesn’t really wield any weapons as such.

John Townsend: Did you have to undergo any special training for the role then?

Megan Hayes: All the tributes have to go through the training centre but I didn’t really get any weapon training. Although because my character is a Morphling and drug addicted I had to look malnourished so I was on a strict diet for a few weeks before the film to get my weight down.  I’m already a pretty small girl anyway but I lost around 12lbs and then had to keep it off. I’m relatively fit anyway as a do boxing and yoga but I had to step it up. I hate running though so I avoided this until I had to; when I started last year I couldn’t run for five minutes!

John Townsend: Your character I believe is showing signs of her drug abuse. Was there much in terms of make-up you needed to go through each day?

Megan Hayes: Oh yeah! Everyone else was getting made up to look beautiful but I was getting track marks up and down my arms, I had circles under my eyes, I had cold sores, everything to make me look like a drug addict. Then in the games I ended up in camouflage from head to toe. I’m not sure I’ll get my drug addict action figure!

John Townsend: John TownsendAs the first film was so successful did you find there was pressure this time to maintain that high standard?

Megan Hayes: If there was I certainly didn’t see it. The set environment was so welcoming and friendly that everybody just had fun. I had such a great time and I loved it. I was new to the series but everyone from Francis Lawrence (director) down was so great.

John Townsend: How was it being on set with such a huge and accomplished cast that includes Oscar winners?

Megan Hayes: It was great but also a little overwhelming at the same time. You find yourself sitting next to people like Stanley Tucci who I’ve loved for years and of course Philip Seymour Hoffman who’s amazing and then there’s me!

John Townsend: With the recent Twilight and Hunger Games books having female authors do you think there are more younger, stronger female roles around now?

Megan Hayes: Yes, I think that’s the case. There are some great female writers around but it’s an interesting question. I don’t know if there are actually more female writers around or maybe it’s just that more of these stories are going into production? There are people like Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy getting films made so it’s really a good time. What I love about The Hunger Games is that it’s all from Katniss’ perspective and it isn’t all about boyfriends and the like. Her story is about much more than that, about her family and her world and about becoming a reluctant hero.

John Townsend: You’re very much a writer and producer yourself so does being in a film such as Catching Fire help you get your own projects moving?

Megan Hayes: Absolutely. I’ve just started some new projects which is really exciting. I hope to keep branching out beyond acting into maybe a little bit of directing, and I’d really like to get into producing but we’ll see what happens.

John Townsend: I believe you’ve recently won an award for a play you wrote. Could you tell us a little about it ?

Megan Hayes: Yeah, Atlanta has an award ceremony called The Suzies in the theatre community. A play I wrote (anti-bullying production Unnecessary Monsters) won best production for young audiences which I was so proud of and was amazing and really cool.

John Townsend: You’ve already mentioned your other projects but is there anything imminent we’ll see you in?

Megan Hayes: I’ve recently moved house so things have been a little hectic. I’m hoping something will be out early next year but I can’t really say and of course I’m working on this web series which we’re going to start shooting a pilot for in December so fingers crossed.

John Townsend: One final question, what skills do you think you have that would help in an arena environment and what “monsters” or hurdles would you most fear?

Megan Hayes: (laughing) Well I am really nice and I’m Southern so I would invite any monsters over for pie and befriend them. I make an amazing pecan pie! I have been taking boxing lessons though which I haven’t put to use yet and I do yoga so we could all meditate together and reach peaceful enlightenment instead of killing each other.

John Townsend: Thank you so much for your time today Megan and good luck with the film.

Megan Hayes: Thank you. Bye now

My interest in film originated from the excited anticipation of waiting to find out which new film would be shown on television as the Christmas Day premiere, which probably says more about my age than I would like! I am a lover of all things cinematic with a particular interest in horror and began writing and reviewing as an excuse to view and discuss as many films as possible, with as many people as possible.