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With ‘The Hunger Games’ Prequel, Tom Blyth Enters a Whole New Arena

Donald I hadn’t spoken to and still haven’t, again that was kind of by design to not in any way try to imitate him. Because I think had I met him, I would have tried to do an imitation of him and that would have been not fun for anyone.

You share the screen with heavyweights like Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, and Viola Davis, who seems to be having the time of her life onscreen. Those are some towering presences—what’s it like to act opposite them?

I was super intimidated at first. The minute Viola was cast I was like, “Are you kidding me? Am I worthy? Do I really get to do this with her?” But they couldn’t have been more welcoming and supportive.

Jason came in on his first day super excited and I couldn’t work out why. He was basically like, “How cool that we get to be here, man,” like it was his first job. And that just speaks to what he’s like. He’s truly so thankful that we get to play for a living and get to tell stories. It was great to be reminded of that halfway through the five-and-a-half month shoot, [where] you get pretty tired and you start to take it for granted a little bit. He came in and injected the whole cast and crew with childlike appreciation for what we get to do. Then I found out he watched my show, Billy the Kid, which is crazy to me because I didn’t think he had any idea who I was, nor should he. And there he was asking me, “What happens next? When’s the next season out?” And I was like, “What, dude? I’m supposed to be asking you these questions. I’ve been watching you on TV and movies since I was a kid.”

Peter became kind of a good friend over the course of the shoot and gave me a lot of advice. Viola just led by example. And she’s having fun with it. I expected her to be super serious, but she’s coming in and she’s playing. And I was like, “Oh, that’s what it is. She’s just playing a part, but playing it really well and really truthfully.” Then at the end of the day, she’s like, “Well, that was fun. Cool. I’m going to have a margarita.” That’s who she is, that’s why she’s so good.

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