The young Tributes of the Hunger Games engage in some elaborate combat during their tournament, which meant more than the usual training for the teenage actors portraying them. And as Jennifer Lawrence had to become proficient with a bow to play archery savant Katniss, each actor had to get to know the weapon of choice of their respective character.
“I did a lot of knife-throwing and I actually learned how to throw knives, which was amazing,” says Isabelle Fuhrman, who plays menacing District 2 tribute Clove.
The knife-throwing turned out to be something of a revelation for the young actress.
“This is going to sound weird, but it’s very beautiful, being able to say, ‘Yeah, I can throw knives,’” she admits. “It was really hard for me to learn how to do it, and so I definitely want to keep up with it.”
Fuhrman got a bit carried away with her new skills, according to co-star Amandla Stenberg. “We’d be like, ‘Hey Isabelle, want to have a sleepover?’ And she’d [be flipping around a butterfly knife] like, Oh, sure,’” says Stenberg.
While prep involved hand-to-hand combat and sword training for Alexander Ludwig, who plays hulking District 1 tribute Cato, the hardest part was ditching the bulk he packed on for the role.
“I’m still trying to go back to my normal size,” Ludwig says. “It’s way harder to lose weight than to put it on. I have so much more sympathy for fat people.”