Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jeffrey Wright Buzzed about Role in 'Mockingjay'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jeffrey Wright Buzzed about Role in 'Mockingjay'

Article excerpt

Jeffrey Wright hadn't read any of "The Hunger Games" books before being cast as tech wizard Beetee in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." He had a good excuse: He was busy acting on stage, screen and TV with works from "Boardwalk Empire" to "Casino Royale."

His literary shortcomings changed when he landed the role, which continues in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1." .

"I'm not entirely a fool," Mr. Wright says with a slight laugh. "I have now read all of the books. They have provided a wonderful comprehension of the character because there are so many more details in the books.

"I think it was essential to read the books. Plus, it's also a great read, an important read because it doesn't pull punches on social and political issues."

He came to that conclusion when he first started talking to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. At that time, Mr. Wright believes he and Mr. Hoffman might have been the only two people on the planet who hadn't seen "The Hunger Games."

As he got caught up, Mr. Wright became fascinated by Beetee, a former Hunger Games champion who became the communications expert for the Capital. The role got even more interesting for Mr. Wright with "Mockingjay - Part 1" because of the changes that come in Beetee's life.

This time, Beetee's charged with helping the rebellion break through the same defenses he helped put in place. Mr. Wright loves that the character must deal with the wonderful puzzle of going from opponent to ally.

And, that change comes with a lot of emotions.

"It didn't surprise me that this film has so many deep emotional moments. This is the messy phase in the storytelling process. Previously, in the worlds of Panem and the Hunger Games, everyone understood the rules and the danger. In the second film, that's all blown up and the rebellion begins," Mr. Wright says. "Now what we are shown are the consequences and dirty work. We knew this film would be intense."

The Washington, D. …

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