Jeffrey Wright discusses ‘The Hunger Games’ and the role of media manipulation


There are certain actors who can completely capture audiences every moment that they are featured in a movie scene. Whether he is a leading actor or playing a supporting role, Jeffrey Wright has a knack for taking his character to another level.

Wright plays the scholastic warrior Beetee in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. During a recent trip to Los Angeles, Wright sat down with rolling out to talk about the new installment of The Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence and the underlying message of the film.

The Hunger Games has a way of speaking to social issues in a unique way. How does the film parallel with the reality TV culture of manipulation, greed and doing whatever it takes for survival?

There’s so much poison being fed to us daily within media. You know, you’ve got some music that’s trapped in the aesthetic that appeals to kids. It’s really simplistic music, talking about getting drunk, cussing out women, or women being promiscuous. It’s just really odd if that’s how we are, and then you have all these other people that want to be a part of that simply because there’s a level of insecurity.

Do you think celebrity worship has gone too far?

I think that’s one of the most poignant issues that these stories [The Hunger Games] examine. It’s the media’s manipulation of personality and our obsession with celebrities. As a culture, we are putting too much into the ideas of what it means to follow celebrities. But I’ll ride with Jennifer Lawrence before I’ll ride with any of these people who want only the fame and only the media attention without bringing anything to the table that’s nutritious to anyone.

How does Jennifer Lawrence’s character in The Hunger Games help us examine some of the absurdity of today’s media and its effect on those who are captured by it?

That’s part of the examination. But what I like about what’s being said with the film, and through Jennifer’s character, is that the more important things are the things that we can all achieve. And those are grounded in family, home and love. Because her character is an unwitting political hero. She realizes that all of this is BS, and what’s most important is that I find my peace. And that’s a healthy idea, but it’s kind of like old storytelling of the hero just returning home or Dorothy coming back to Kansas. I think we all need to be reminded of those simpler vitamins.

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