There are currently many, many girls who would gladly trade places with Willow Shields, at least for a day. This is because the 13-year-old, better known as Primrose Everdeen, will be seen alongside Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth this Friday in the second installment of The Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire. Below, I chat with Shields about an average day on the set of Catching Fire, her favorite thing about the franchise, and what it’s like working with some of the most desired (and beautiful) actors in Hollywood.
Cliché: What got you interested in acting? Was it something you’ve always wanted to do?
Willow Shields: Pretty much ever since I can remember. My older brother was auditioning for movies and it just seemed fascinating to me, so I wanted to try, too. I remember telling my parents, “I want to be an actress. I want to walk the red carpet one day.” I think I was about seven.
Describe an average day on the set of Catching Fire.
Usually, I have to get up kind of early. They pick you up and take you to set… sometimes it’s still dark out. Then, I will usually go to hair and makeup. Prim doesn’t really need makeup, so mostly it’s hair. Then, I usually shoot scenes and in between do my schoolwork. I have a teacher on set and I usually work in my trailer. More shooting… Lunch… more school… more shooting. Once the day is done, I usually crash in bed pretty early.
What drew you to this role?
I got an audition to play Prim from my agent. I was reading The Hunger Games when I got the audition. When I saw what character I was auditioning for, I was excited. You hardly ever get an audition where you actually know the character like this! Anyway, I auditioned by tape first and then flew to LA to audition with Gary Ross. Once I got the part, I just kept reading and finished all three books.
Do you think you are like Primrose at all? What do you love most about her?
Prim and I both love animals. We both have sisters that are the most important person in the world to us. I have a twin and related so much to Katniss and Prim’s relationship in these stories. I am NOT like Prim in her medical abilities. Even the fake needles on set were kind of gross to me! Prim is caring and strong and I think that is what I love about her most.
What do you love most about the story in general?
I love books and movies about the future and I read tons of Science Fiction. Suzanne Collins created this amazing world and that is what I love the most.
What was it like working with Jennifer Lawrence and all those handsome boys (Josh, Liam, etc)? Any crushes?
I think most people know already that the cast is super sweet and fun to work with. Jennifer is the best and working with her is probably the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. One scene we were shooting together, a kind of serious one, she is supposed to leave the room and I’m watching her as she goes. Every time she would leave, she would turn and make a goofy face to me. It was hard to keep serious. Josh and Liam are sweet, but seriously I am thirteen and I think they are a little too old for me!
Favorite scene to shoot for Catching Fire? Hardest scene to shoot?
I think my favorite scenes to shoot in Catching Fire were just the personal conversations between Katniss and Prim. They have a lot of emotion and show how Prim is growing up. The hardest scene? We did shoot one scene, after Gale has been whipped. It was kind of hard in a funny way just because there were so many people in this room, and stuff was being flung around. I kept bumping into everyone and even smashed my fingers in the chaos.
What other kinds of roles do you want to the future? Do you have any dream roles?
No dream roles, where I’m like, I want to play so-and-so. I just want to keep growing as an actress and keep having the chance to be a part of films. It’s what I love.
Do you have any role models you aspire to be/use as inspiration in your acting?
Jennifer for one! I get to work with one of the best actresses around and that is something I would never have dreamed of happening. I wish I could be like her someday. I also admire Angelina Jolie a lot—not just for her acting, but for all the charity work she does.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire hits theaters worldwide this Friday, November 22.
BY MEGAN PORTORREAL
Photographed by Keith Cotton