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20 Amazing Hunger Games Facts You Didn't Know

How many of these wild Hunger Games facts did you know? Check out our list and see

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  November 21st 2023

Mockingjays, districts, a game where children fight each other to the death - The Hunger Games is a wild ride from beginning to end. But just how much do you know about this incredible series? From the origins of Katniss' name to the reason Elizabeth Banks couldn't go to the toilet, here are 20 amazing Hunger Games facts you never knew!

1. Katniss is a potato

Sort of. Katniss is named after a real-life tuber plant which apparently tastes a bit like a sweet potato. Apparently it was once a staple food for indigenous American people. Not the most glamorous of name origins though!

Potato with face

2. There was an upsurge in archery

Katniss' choice of weapon, the bow and arrow, has seen huge uptake in recent years thanks to the films and books making it look like a cool sport. In fact, USA Archery even wrote a letter saying thank you to Suzanne Collins!

Archer with bacon dad

3. Jennifer Lawrence has to cut her hair off

In order to achieve Katniss' hair colour in the films, Jennifer Lawrence's hair was continueally dyed throughout productions. That much dyeing and treating eventually ruined it, and Jennifer Lawrence had to cut it short to get it healthy again. In the last film, she wears a wig instead. Maybe they should have done that from the start!

Woman holding wig

4. Panem is based on ancient Rome

In ancient Rome, the phrase “Panem et circenses” (Bread and circuses) referred to the governments tactic of distracting citizens from bigger problems by bribing them with food and entertainment. One of Rome's most popular entertainments was it's gladitorial combat, which took place in arenas like the colosseum, and would involve fights to the death for the entertainment of other Romans, just like in The Hunger Games. This also means that the name Panem is 'Bread', which is a bit less impressive when you translate it

Roman forum

5. Donald Sutherland really wanted to play President Snow

Donald Sutherland was so keen to play President Snow that he wrote the director a multiple page letter explaining why the character was important and how he would play him. He even read all the books beforehand so he knew everything about Snow. That's dedication to a part!

The Hunger Games | Lionsgate films | Gary Ross | Nina Jacobson

6. The idea came from watching TV

According to author Suzanne Collins, she came up with the idea for the book whilst channel hopping between reality TV and news coverage, and it made her think about the way in which news of war and crime has become entertainment, and the two concepts blurred in her head because she was tired, creating the idea for the books.

The Hunger Games | Lionsgate films | Gary Ross | Nina Jacobson

7. Katniss has a lot of competition

It's hard to imagine anyone else playing Katniss now, but before Jennifer Lawrence was cast, lots of other young actors auditioned for the part, including Emma Roberts, Abigail Breslin and Saoirse Ronan. The part eventually went to Lawrence and the rest is history!

The Hunger Games | Lionsgate films | Gary Ross | Nina Jacobson

8. It took a long time to put together Effie's look

Effie Trinket is famous for her outrageous Capitol fashions and hairstyles, and the look would take about four hours every day to assemble, which included make up, wardrobe and Effie's elaborate wigs. Apparently Elizabeth Banks also needed assistance going to the loo because of Effie's crazy nails!

The Hunger Games | Lionsgate films | Gary Ross | Nina Jacobson

9. It's banned in Vietnam

While the idea of child soldiers and gladiators battling to the death may seem far fetched and dystopian to Western audiences, sadly in some parts of the world it's too close to home, including Vietnam, where the first film is banned. The Vietnam War made headlines in the 70s because of its many child soldiers, and the country is still sensitive about the issue today, as well as being uncomfortable with portrayals of young people protesting the government.


10. Suzanne Collins was inspired by her father

Suzanne Collins says that several elements of the books are based on her own father's experiences. This includes his time fighting in the Vietnam war and the terrible consequences of war, and his childhood growing up in The Great Depression, where he learned hunting and survival skills to keep fed. Collins channelled these facts into the books and made sure to emphasise the consequences of both war and poverty

The Hunger Games | Lionsgate films | Gary Ross | Nina Jacobson

11. Jennifer Lawrence had to train hard to play Katniss

Katniss is renowned for being a skilled hunter, archer, survivalist and general badass, and Jennifer Lawrence had to do a lot of training to make sure she lived up to the part, including archery lessons, combat classes, work outs and yoga. She got a few bumps and scrapes along the way, including running full speed into a wall!

The Hunger Games | Lionsgate films | Gary Ross | Nina Jacobson

12. The Hunger Games was inspired by Greek Myths

Suzanne Collins is a self-confessed Greek myths nerd, and loved the Greek myths as a child. The original idea for The Hunger Games was partly inspired by the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, in which a city must send seven men and seven women to be a victim of the Minotaur every year in order to avoid death and destruction. Collins liked the idea and adapted it!

Greek pot on brick background

13. It was never meant to be a trilogy

Originally, Suzanne Collins had only planned to write one book. However, the popularity of The Hunger Games, as well as the ending of the first book, made Suzanne realise she would have to write more - so she did!

Pile of books

14. Jennifer Lawrence gave Josh Hutcherson a head injury

Whilst filming the first film, Jennifer told Josh she could kick higher than his head, and proceeded to show him...and ended up kicking him in the head. He even got a concussion! Watch out for Jennifer!

The Hunger Games | Lionsgate films | Gary Ross | Nina Jacobson

15. There are theories about where the books are set

Panem is a fictional state made up of the present day USA, and there are lots of theories as to where each district and the capitol are meant to be. The films feature North Carolina for lots of Katniss's home of district 12, suggesting it's somewhere in the Appalachian mountains, while some fans think that Denver, Colorado is the present day location of the Capitol.

Pineapple in front of mountains

16. Jennifer Lawrence went deaf while filming

In the series, Katniss goes deaf in one ear after an injury, but in real life Jennifer Lawrence also went temporarily deaf after getting ear infections from being in water. It wasn't helped by all the loud sound effects constantly going off either! Ouch!

The Hunger Games | Lionsgate films | Gary Ross | Nina Jacobson

17. There's a reason why people put their name in the draw more than once

In the films, it's never explained why Gale has had his name put in the draw on several occasions. In the books, however, it's explained that putting your name in more than once means access to rare and valuable supplies like oil, food and clothes, which explains why anyone would do it more than once!

The Hunger Games | Lionsgate films | Gary Ross | Nina Jacobson

18. Jennifer Lawrence was hesitant to take the role

Before The Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence mostly only worked on indie films. She was initially worried that taking a part in something so big would make her famous and therefore ruin her privacy. Of course, she was right, and, like Katniss, has become popular due to her outspoken and down to earth personality.

The Hunger Games | Lionsgate films | Gary Ross | Nina Jacobson

19. Some parts of Panem are now real

Some aspects of the series have become real due to its popularity including: Mockingjay pins, using the three finger sign as a protest, District 12 recipe books, and phrases and slogans from the series.

The Hunger Games | Lionsgate films | Gary Ross | Nina Jacobson

20. Jennifer Lawrence was paid a lot for her part

Jennifer Lawrence was paid half a million for the first film (A small amount by Hollywood standards), $10 million for the next one, and $15 million for the final two films, giving her a total salary of over $25 million for the whole series. Wow!

Man and woman surrounded by banknotes on orange background