#98 Fireside Chat: Capitol Portraits Sunday 10 March, 2013

“Capitol Portraits”

Miss Episode 98 live last night? Click here to listen to the recording or simply use the embedded player below!

Episode 98 of Hunger Games Fireside Chat will air live this Monday, March 11, at 10pm ET/7pm PT! This week, our panel of experts will include some of our fabulous friends from Down with the Capitol, Crystal of Mockingjay.net and FictionalFood.net, Courtney of Welcome to District 12, Tiffany from Victor’s Village, Natalie of Tor.com, and Ariel of Nerdy, Wordy, and Over Thirty.

Well, this past week was certainly eventful! Nine more Capitol Portraits featuring Haymitch, Cinna, Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Finnick, Johanna, Beetee, and President Snow were unveiled by various media outlets. Lionsgate actually gave us the opportunity to exclusively release Beetee’s portrait along with the other Capitol Tastemakers, which was a pretty incredible — and nerve-wracking — experience!

As you may have guessed, we’ll be spending the entirety of Episode 98 discussing the portraits! Specifically, we’ll be focusing on:
– Our first look at Jeffrey Wright and Jena Malone in character as Beetee and Johanna, respectively
– Trish Summerville’s costumes
– Katniss’s wedding dress (the dress was confirmed to be the wedding dress by Trish Summerville in this exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter)
– What the choice of featured characters may reveal about Catching Fire marketing (and the film itself)
– The significance of the roses

To see all of the Capitol Portraits, check out CapitolPortraits.PN or Capitol Couture’s Instagram account (@capitolcouture).

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below telling us [briefly] what you think about the portraits. Which one is your favorite? Who do you wish would have been included? How do you feel about the wedding dress being revealed this early? We’ll read as many of your comments during the show as possible!

Also, please vote in our poll!

You can chat with other listeners throughout the live show by using our hashtag #HGFiresideChat on Twitter! We recommend TweetChat to easily follow along with the conversation.

(If you missed our last episode, click here to listen!)

And click here for an index of all of our archived episodes.

Follow this week’s participants on Twitter:
Adam (Host): @AdamSpunberg
Savanna (Co-Host/Producer): @MlleNouveau
Down with the Capitol: @HungerGamesDWTC
Crystal: @pikko / @mockingjaynet / @FictionalFood
Courtney: @WtoD12
Tiffany: @twiffidy / @VictorsVillage
Natalie: @nataliezutter / @tordotcom
Ariel: @Madam_Pince

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  • Maia says:

    Thanks for the poll. I love all of them great portraits I really liked Peeta.

    I wanted to ask if you guys will talk about why some have white roses and some don’t ? Thanks all

    • Savanna says:

      Yes, definitely! Notice our last discussion bullet point: “The significance of the roses”

  • Although you certainly have a lot to talk about this time, I think it would be nice to mention the nominations for genre awards that The Hunger Games movie has received over the last month. Oscars, MTV awards and People’s Choice are not the only awards that matter. 😉 I won’t post the links to the nominations lists, since I did that the last time and it resulted in my comment awaiting moderation forever, but THG has been nominated for a Nebula (by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors of America) in the category Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, for two Saturn awards (by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films) in the categories Best Science Fiction Film and Best Actress, and a Bram Stoker Award (by the Association of Horror Writers of America) in the category Superior Achievement in Screenplay.
    Hugo Awards nominations will be out soon so we’ll see if THG completes the set of genre nominations.

    Maybe this could lead to an little discussion about the genres THG belongs to, and to which extent it belongs to them.

    P.S. Please don’t try to make your shows last just an hour, I love to listen to you guys talk as long as possible. 😀

    • Savanna says:

      Aw, you’re so sweet! We’re definitely planning to talk about this stuff on Episode 99. We’re foreseeing long stretches full of no news, so the more we can postpone for another episode, the better! Haha. 😉

      We actually talked about THG and genre wayyyyyyyyyy back on Episode 6. To be honest, all I remember about that conversation is that it actually happened, so it’s probably worth revisiting.

      And sorry about the comment moderation thing. That very rarely happens, so we often forget to check that pending folder!

  • Kasey V says:

    I love all the portraits! The costumes are beautiful! My favorite would have to be Katniss. I love her dress. It is just perfect. I do have mixed feelings about it being the wedding dress. I was hoping that it would be a surprise in the film. But maybe the transformation of the wedding dress will make it worth it?

    I was thinking there would be a few more portraits after Snow. Like Mags, Wiress, Plutarch. However I am still happy and thankful for what we received. The marketing team we have for this franchise is amazing. And I feel we are very lucky to have them!

  • Michael says:

    Hi there
    Loved last week’s show especially the detailed information on the furniture which gave us all another view of the art work that went into putting these pictures together.

    Here are some discussion points for your show since I suspect that you will be devoting some time to the portraits (hey they are all the fandom has been talking about since the Oscar win for Jen!!).

    1) Interesting that Katniss is the only individual standing and not sitting. Even the President is sitting. Is this meant to portray her strength or just make it easier to see the dress?

    2) What is with that deep green background? I am not sure I understand the symbolism of the colour. Obviously green is the colour of the lush jungle where the arena is occurring during this quarter quell but perhaps there are other reasons for this choice of backdrops.

    3) Why boots? Many of the men are wearing not shoes but boots. Even Peeta has these very interesting “moon” like boots on. At least the President is in normal shoes. Perhaps a link to the ruggedness of the tributes from the outer districts?

    4) Eye contact – interesting all of the tributes make eye contact with the camera but the Capitol squad (Effie, President Snow) and even Haymitch do not. Is this symbolic of their bravery that they get to stare into the camera? (Gail is an interesting exception )

    5) The choice of chair – the tributes all get to use the very sturdy but not very comfortable wooden chair while the Capitol squad get the padded variety. A reference to the toughness of being a tribute? Again Gail is an exception making it appear that he is a tribute when he is not.

    It is possible to consider that the symbolism of the chair is linked to which side of the revolution you are on but Haymitch is most definitely on Katniss’ side but still gets the royal chair. Perhaps the Capitol believes he is one of theirs when he is not.

    6) Peeta’s wardrobe appears from the pictures that we have seen so far to be very “grown up”. We have seen a few pictures in the EW magazine and now this one and in all of them he is wearing suits or dress shirts. It is important to note that he is not very old in the books so it is interesting that the Capitol (and Francis Lawrence) appears to be using his wardrobe to age him up quickly so that we can get past that he is about to be a young person who is tortured.

    There are many more empty chairs at the Instagram page so I can not wait to see the other tributes. This is a very inspired way of “introducing” the look and “attitude” for each character and I applaud the marketing team at Lionsgate for coming up with this early look.

    Looking forward to teasers and trailers to come.


    • Savanna says:

      These are great points, thank you! 🙂 Unfortunately, those empty chairs are left over from last week — there won’t be any new portraits released.

      I feel silly asking this and mean no offense, but…did you actually read our promo or just immediately leave a comment? You said “since I suspect that you will be devoting some time to the portraits” — if you look above at this post you will see our list of topics and there’s only one topic…the Capitol Portraits. LOL

      • Michael says:

        Hi Savanna
        I was being a bit tongue in cheek with the comment about the “devoting some time” as the posting frenzy has been huge for these portraits. However, I did not know that they were NOT releasing any other pictures. I feel this is a mistake. One of the great things about the first movie is we got to personalize all of the tributes even the individuals who had very small parts (Clove for instances, whose “encounter” with Katniss lasts what 60 maybe 90 seconds). I believe it is important to get us interested in all of the tributes.
        Oh well. I am sure the great marketing machine will get to the other tributes at some point.

  • Inspector Javert says:



    Jeffrey Wright as Beetee was the one I was most looking forward to. Everything about it was perfect- the design of the costume looked like a motherboard of a computer, the tie looks like wired, the pants look weird, cybernetic- almost, like there’s electricity flowing through them. He’s rocking some weird elven shoes as well, which kind of adds to the overall quirkiness.

    Beetee wins the “best Capitol Portrait” for me, hands down. Next comes Johanna with the funky canary dress and swashbuckling Finnick. I loved Cinna’s and President Snow’s as well- intriguing designs for both of them.

    It’s made Catching Fire feel more “real” to me. I simply can’t wait to see what’s coming next out of the genius minds of the promotional team. They truly are second to none.

  • The Vaultmaster says:

    …November 22nd…

    …please… arrive… sooner…

    This just has me longing for the movie even more. Usually I’d have a lot to say but these portraits have me absolutely lost for words. I loved Beetee’s one, but I think my favourite has to be Gale, to be honest. The simplicity of it- it’s not grand, it’s not majestic. It’s just plain old Gale, District 12 resident.

    There’s something poignant about Gale’s one. Something I can’t put my finger on. Maybe because he’s a normal guy who’s lost his dad and best friend, and he’s here among all these victors and celebrities just sitting there- alone.

  • Katie says:

    I love all the portraits! Katniss and Peeta looked fantastic. It was particularly exciting to see the Beetee and Johanna in costume for the first time too. Also interesting to see was Finnick wearing proper clothing – we didn’t know much about what he wears other than knotted nets and wetsuits. 😀

    By far my favourite is Johanna’s portrait. I was blown away by her dress, her make up, her bracelet, and most of all, by the amount conveyed in her face and body language – you get such a strong and nuanced sense of her character. It all perfectly embodied Johanna for me. Jena Malone is such a bad ass!

  • satsumarena says:

    I think one of the general themes that I’d love to be discussed is, are these Capitol portraits really as full of hidden symbolism and foreshadowing as many fans think, or are we just over-thinking and edging into crackpot theory territory? Is Trish Summerville really thinking that deeply when designing the costumes, or is she just focusing on subjective fashion sense?

    (BTW, it seems so far that Trish is actually not doing any of the designing herself, but simply picking out what she likes from designs that are already in the marketplace, or commissioning designs from other designers. Is this her usual M.O.? Because that did not seem like the way Judianna Makovsky approached her job.)

    My favorite portrait was Peeta, looking all grown up, and I really liked what seemed to be foreshadowing of his capture and hijacking. But then I found out that his golden cuff-like bracelets, which were a big part of the theory, have been seen on models wearing the same suit design (the one by Juunj). Which then made me doubt the theory.

    Unfortunately, Gale was my least favorite portrait, because I thought LG wasted an opportunity. I totally understood why they had to include him, but to simply copy the same chair and rose as the tributes, really didn’t make sense to me, and it seems most fans were puzzled as well. One theory, I know, is that holding a rose means you’re a rebel, or that you’re on Snow’s bad side, but that theory also seems to break down when we see that neither Haymitch or Cinna have roses. The portrait also didn’t seem to capture any of Gale’s “fire”; Johanna, Peeta, even Beetee seemed to be more rebellious than Gale, which didn’t make sense to me either.

  • tfgeekgirl says:

    I do wish the portraits actually had more of that “too clean” feel that the Victory Tour posters, but I like them overall.

    My favorite is Johanna’s because, and I’m not saying that Katniss isn’t beautiful in hers, but I really love the defiant and stoic look not only on Jena Malone’s face, but even in the way she holds the rose, turned downward, almost slipping from her fingers, uncaring. Ultimate fierceness in her eyes. It works with the “nail” dress.

    As for the wedding dress being shown early, it’s a bit of a disconcerting issue, but only to those who have read the book (and there are still many that haven’t). Non-readers could probably predict as much, but I think as long as they keep the “after-twirling” result of the dress under wraps until the movie, I’m okay with it.

    My only concern about any of the outfits is that I think Peeta’s shoes just remind me too much of Uggs. I’m not sure I like that.

    It would be nice to see what Plutarch would look like, or Mags, or Wiress.

  • starfishtony says:

    I love the Capitol Portraits! A great way for the early marketing. Although I don’t really like the fact that they’ve given Gale a portrait, I can understand why. At the end of the day, they’re marketing the film and Gale becomes a much bigger character in this film so. As for Plutarch, I’m not sure on why they didn’t include him. Especially considering he’s played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Maybe they didn’t have enough time? I remember the first thing they did during principal photography was film all of Phillip’s scenes to get him out of the way so maybe that’s why?

  • Ronnie says:

    I love these so so much! I am a bit upset about Katniss’s dress being shown early though. From a marketing standpoint, the people that have not read the book, but have seen the first movie, they would want Katniss’s outfit to stand out, and draw the most attention. I just wish that they could have used a different costume.

  • Kristen says:

    I love all of them but I wish they didn’t use katniss wedding dress for it was hoping that we would not be seen tell the movie but at less there’s stell the mockingjay costume to look foreword to.

  • satsumarena says:

    I am not that upset about the wedding dress being revealed early, because I did not find the “wedding dress” to be as important or meaningful as the “mockingjay dress” it turned into. (Although I am concerned that the dress already looks so much like a mockingjay, that the big reveal won’t be as dramatic, than if they started with a more traditional dress.)

    A poster on Mockingjay.net, Jenna, pointed out that “this is not Twilight” where romance takes center stage. The decision NOT to embargo the wedding dress design and get fans impatiently waiting to see it, I actually think is a good thing, as far as it suggests the CF movie is NOT falling into the trap of over-emphasizing the “fakemance” aspects of the story.

    We also know per Josh Hutcherson that they filmed Peeta’s “proposal” in a way that he did not get any lines; perhaps as part of a montage where words are drowned out by background music. Many fans were disappointed with that as well, but I had no problem with that either, because Peeta is NOT happy to propose, since as Haymitch says, “he wanted it to be real”.

  • starfishtony says:

    You should quickly discuss Russ Bowen’s, the Asheville news anchor’s recent tweets.

    1 – #catchingfire filming 2 more weeks in Hawaii and then 2 weeks in LA. Over budget

    What could they be filming in LA and interesting news on the budget. You could also discuss on what you want the budget to be?

    2 – #mockingjay starts shooting in July. Where hasn’t been finalized.

    perfect date for a back to back shoot as they can be finished by early next year.

  • Gregory says:

    It seems as though they’re releasing all the big stuff on a monthly basis. January had the EW article/stills, February had the Victory Tour posters, and now March has the Capitol Couture portraits. Maybe April will have the long-awaited teaser?

  • annie b says:

    First off, I loved all of the posters. Each one representisthe characters to a T. I think the marketing choice for releasing the portraits of the people they did was a briliant idea. I especially loved Finnicks and Beetee’s. Finnicks, albeit looked like jack sparrow, really represented who he is and where he is from. Beetee’s was very “Electric”, the colors and the tones really represents wires and the cool tones of metal and the patterns mirroring that of electric currents.

    I was very upset and yet still pleased with the release of Katniss’ wedding dress. I was really hoping that we would have to wait for it till the release of the movie. I wanted there to be a special shock element during the movie. I was still very moved by the dress itself however, I can honestly say I cried a little (alot). It was not the dress I had imagined, lined with pearl and silk sleeves cascading to the floor, but I also love this dress, it think it is very extravagent and capitol. I also loved the possiblely intentional shape of a mockingjay into the bodice of the dress, nice call Cinna (summerville, haha)

    I have various Ideas on the purpose’s of the roses of each photo however I feel the most substantial one to me is the little piece of Snow that has affected each person, even gale. I feel as thought the rose represents a scar a reminder of whats has happening and what is to come. I believe there a several meanings behind the usage of the rose but to me that was one that stuck out the most.

  • José T. says:

    Long comment short….. I LOVE each Capitol Portrait!!!!!! They portray each character beautifully, my fave poster is Katniss’s because she looks amazing in THE wedding dress and she’s my fave character in the series. I was shocked that they would reveal the dress but I’m not going to complain about it because its not a huge spoiler and the Important part about the wedding dress is it transformes her into the Mockingjay and we have that to look forward too. 😀

  • Addy says:

    Ok we’ll my first reaction to EVERY single portrait was a loud scream and jumping around and then actually looking at it. While they were all fabulous I think katniss was my favorite and it has nothing to do with her being the main charecter. Anyway I couldn’t BELIVE they would show her wedding dress! I was so shocked and it looks really good. Like REALLY good! I love the little mockingjay design on the top of her dress! Does anyone else think her hairstyle reminds them of a bird or is it just me? anyway I can’t wait for the dress to go up in flames! These posters were a fun expirience. Looking forward to 2 of them each day made me look forward to big news each day! It was also a great birthday present considering my birthday was last week. I can’t wait for this movie! Finally FIRE IS CATCHING!

  • Mel Cally says:

    My favorite pictures are Johanna and Peeta!

    This is our first time seeing even a glimpse of Johanna, and seeing her decked out in Capitol garb, with this fierce look on her face like “I don’t want to be here but… I have to.” look, it’s stunning! And the way she looks as if she’s dropping the white rose in defiance of the Capitol/Snow as if saying “They can’t hurt me; there’s no one else left that I love.” AHHH I’m fangirling as I write this!

    My goodness I LOVE the thought put into every one of these pictures!

    And Peeta… I personally don’t find Josh attractive but I was taken aback by this picture! He looks AMAZING! His body language everything, I can’t find a single thing I dislike about it!

    Trisha Summerville and Ve Neill are VISIONARIES! With THG I honestly thought the costumes were alright and sometimes a bit thrown together (with the exception of Effie). I think each film we’re (ahem I mean they’re) going to get better and better! Maybe even Oscar worthy!

  • Caitlyn says:

    I absolutely love the portraits!!! My favorite would have to be Johanna’s or Peeta’s. I luv Finnicks as well but the first thought that came to my mind when I saw his pic was “What the heck is he wearing?! He looks like he’s going back into Pirates of the Caribbean!! But then again he looks Finnick. How he has his un button shirt and the way he is sitting.:) I am absolutely in luv with Johannas hair btw. She looks so fierce sitting there in that chair:).

    I wish we were able to see a portrait of Mags. To me she is a very important character in Catching Fire and I think she deserved a portrait, as well as Plutarch and Prim:( Really wish we got to see them.

  • I’m afraid I’ll just be repeating what others have said, but here it is… My favorites are the portraits of Peeta and Johanna, followed by Katniss.

    Peeta’s and Johanna’s portraits really do manage to get their personalities across. Peeta has such an intense look on his face that really fits with what his mindset in CF is. His clothes are interesting because there are many details worth an analysis, as mentioned above. The bracelets may be a part of the designer’s original design, but this particular outfit with bracelets may not be chosen by accident!

    Johanna really looks so angry at the Capitol, as if she’s hating her foliage-inspired dress and the hairstyle they gave her, hating that she has to be there, and hating everything that they are making her do. It’s amazing that they’ve managed to actually make a nice-looking tree-inspired dress. Johanna’s makeup is perfect, and fits her personality (unlike her hair!) and you have to love the bracelet made of nails and the way she looks like she’s about to drop the rose.

    And Katniss’ portrait is, well, just gorgeous and she looks magnificent. The dress looks like high fashion but it’s also beautiful and aerial and birdlike. She isn’t showing any open emotion, but that’s Katniss – and you still feel the charisma.

    I also quote like Beetee’s portrait and especially his outfit, which, as mentioned, is both a nerdy college professor’s suit and a “computer” suit, and the cord of wire around his neck is brilliant.

    Unlike some others, I enjoy Haymitch’s portrait: the tense, miserable look on his face and the un-Capitol like clothes really hint at where Haymitch is at.

    I’ll also have to say that Gale is my least favorite. He’s out of place for many reasons; first of all, his very presence in “Capitol portraits” makes no sense and disrupts the concept of the portraits. Furthermore, if they had to give him a Capitol portrait because these are the only character portraits for CF, they should have set him apart from the Victors. They shouldn’t have given him the same chair and he certainly shouldn’t be holding the white rose. It’s just lazy. And if we’re not supposed to take this seriously as a Capitol portrait, then they could’ve shown an angry Gale instead of an uncomfortable, miserable one. (Or are they saving “Angry!Gale” for Mockingjay?)

    • satsumarena says:

      TTB: Good point that even if the “white suit with golden cuff bracelets” look was already put together, “this particular outfit with bracelets may not be chosen by accident”. Certainly, I don’t expect Trish to comment on any symbolism or foreshadowing for MJ at this time. Much as I understood why she wouldn’t comment on the apparent Mockingjay logo on the bodice of Katniss’s dress. Many of the portraits seem to contain symbols that the die-hard book fans would see and revel in, but are subtle enough to avoid spoilers for the movie-only fans.

      As for your comments on Gale, I totally agree. While it’s certainly possible they may be saving Angry!Gale for Mockingjay, he looked quite angry and rebellious to me in that “Gale apprehended by Peacekeepers” still released in the EW article, and I really do wish they’d shown us a little bit of *that* Gale, not the “sad-sack” version they chose.

  • satsumarena says:

    Thanks for a great discussion! Regarding the Selkie imagery with Finnick, I think that Trish likely drew not only on the “male Selkies seducing human women” myths, but on the “female Selkies being captured by human men” myths. In these myths, human men besotted with female Selkies, steal and hide the seal-skins, preventing them from returning to sea, and force them into marriage. The stories usually end with the female selkie finding her seal-skin, and promptly putting it on and going back to sea, never to return to her human husband.

    While on first glance, these myths are tragic romances, when you really think about it, they are actually about kidnapping and rape, and the selkie had every right to escape from her captor. In many of the legends she actually has a selkie mate “back home” at sea, who she has been torn away from because of the human’s selfishness. Doesn’t this sound very close to the situation with the Capitol women, Finnick, and Annie?

  • Sym says:

    Can you please upload the recorded version? 🙂

  • Sym says:

    Guy I figured out what the thing in peeta’s pocket is. I’m pretty sure that it is a golden Hankie/Napkin if you look close!

  • Cassie says:

    I just finished listening to the podcast, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I whole heartedly agree with Savannah, when she said Peetas was an under appreciated character. And it was definitely proven true when nobody on the panel besides Savannah had anything to say about his portrait.

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