‘The Hunger Games’: Carly Steel Gives Buzznet a Backstage Pass

Buzznet and I got the chance to sit down with TV Guide host Carly Steel who gave us the inside scoop on everything Hunger Games! She also is super stylish and shares style tips and trends that she predicts will be hot for Spring/Summer. Carly can regularly be seen on EPIX, TV Guide Network, and NowLive covering all things entertainment and movies. Be sure to Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and WhoSay.

Armen Atoyan: In addition to TV Guide Network and NowLive, I hear you’ve also started hosting movie coverage for EPIX. What is EPIX?

Carly Steel: Epix is a big new cable TV channel that I’ve just started hosting for. I host EPIX News covering the major movie premieres and junkets. The Hunger Games was my first project with them. Epix is co-owned by Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount and is VOD and has a website with an expansive library of the biggest movies and original programming. What’s great about working with EPIX is that we have unparalleled access to the top movie talent and do exclusive 1:1 sit down interviews with the actors, sometimes before anyone else does. With The Hunger Games we had our own studio set up and did 1:1s with Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Lenny Kravitz, etc.

AA: What was your first celeb interview?

CS: Gosh my first interview is still, to this day, one of my biggest – the eternally dapper and dashing Mr. Richard Gere. It was for E! Online and it was my first ever movie junket so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and was kind of thrown into it (i.e. they needed someone to cover it last minute and I was the only person available so it all happened very quickly).

AA: You mentioned your exclusive interviews with the cast of The Hunger Games – which stars said something funny and what was it?

CS: There were 2 really funny moments that stood out for me:

The first was Jennifer Lawrence. She was my last interview of the day and she has a great, very self-deprecating, sense of humor. At the last minute my producer, Derek Ingber, said “ask Jennifer about the whistling.” So I told her I was really impressed with her amazing whistling in the film because I’m a terrible whistler. In true comedy of errors fashion, she took it as me having been informed by a mutual friend that she was in fact a bad whistler, then wanted to know how I knew this top secret info that she couldn’t whistle! To which I responded that I hadn’t in fact known, but now we all did as she just accidentally revealed it! She then admitted she had a “stunt whistler” in the film which was especially funny as she mastered all these crazy stunts, battled fire and the elements under sparse conditions, learned archery from an Olympian but couldn’t master whistling!

The second came from Donald Sutherland of all people, who I was not expecting to be funny, as Wes Bentley had just told me he didn’t need to act nervous in his scenes with him because he was genuinely afraid of him at first! I had heard whispers from the people who had seen him in the elevator that he was wearing an eye patch, but no one knew why as nobody had dared ask him because they were too intimated. I felt we really couldn’t start the interview without addressing it so after a brief chit chat about his penchant for British tea (PG tips) which he was carrying around, I said “should we say we’re at the junket for the Pirates of the Carribean 4? Why the eye patch, what happened?” To which quip-responded back that is was a hernia in his eye brought on by an “extreme case of constipation!” It was hysterical! He has a very dry sense of humor and the entire room erupted in laughter (of course you’re not supposed to do that as it can spoil the audio from the interview) and it probably drew a few gaps from his team too who were praying the answer wouldn’t be manipulated in edit and spread like wildfire as being the actual reason over the internet! Only Donald Sutherland can pull off that kind of cheeky, sardonic reply, his delivery is brilliant.

AA: Any interesting behind the scenes anecdotes?

CS: I learned that the cast loved playing pranks on each other which was unexpected. Elizabeth Banks was the first to reveal this, and then I found out she was in cahoots with Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence and they kept pranking everyone until the director, Gary Ross, and the crew decided to seek revenge. When they were filming the scene where Katniss, Effie and Peeta emerge from the elevator into the suite in the Capitol before the Games, Gary decided to have the entire crew hide so when they emerged from the elevator doors and started the scene no one was to be found! Jennifer said she stayed in character the longest before stopping and realizing there was no one there. I also learned that Lenny Kravitz really loved wearing his character Cinna’s gold “guyliner” so much that he is thinking of wearing it in real life. Only someone with his cool-factor could pull that off. He is as rockstar in person as you would imagine. You should also check out the interview with Wes Bentley where he talks about sporting that outrageous beard (which was real) around North Carolina when he wasn’t on set. Apparently the people at the Target at 2am didn’t even bat an eyelid!!

AA: What do you think is going to be the big celebrity style trends for Spring/Summer?

CS: There are a few trends we’re going to see on the red carpet this season – the boldest being bright citrus colors – yellow, orange etc, as recently sported by Elizabeth Banks during The Hunger Games promotional tour. Every time I saw her I wanted what she was wearing, and that was often my first question to her –  for my own benefit! I usually dislike saying “who are you wearing” but with Elizabeth I really wanted to know!

AA: Who is your style inspiration?

CS: I’ve always had a more classic approach to style, as opposed to uber-trendy. Having said that I do like to have a bit of an edge and I tend to be more daring when it comes to accessories, in particular shoes and bags. I like to opt for what is flattering and looks good on camera, I now have to camera test practically everything I wear!

Grace Kelly, Rita Hayworth and Sofia Lauren are my style inspirations. In terms of modern day actresses who I find inspiring, I love Emma Stone, Rooney Mara, Kirsten Dunst and Evan Rachel Wood. They aren’t afraid to take risks and make edgy.

AA: What other exciting things have you got coming up?

CS: The next major film I’m covering for EPIX is The Avengers which I’m really looking forward to. If the trailer is anything to go by it’s going to be epic indeed! Tweet me @carlyjsteel if you have any questions you’d like me to ask him or any of The Avengers cast.

The Cannes film festival is also coming up – this will be my 3rd year in a row covering it and it’s one of my favorite film festivals to as you see all the new films that will be Oscar contenders next year. Just before Cannes I’m hosting the video coverage for Audi’s celebrity track day where 4 celebs are racing the new R8s in Sonoma. I’m also helping to launch the LuxeStyle site along with Giuliana Rancic, Daniella Clarke and Nony Tochterma. Luxestyle is a flash discount apparel website offering access to luxury products at a fraction of retail prices. I’m also presenting at the Prism Awards on April 19th which I’m very much looking forward to as it’s an awards show honoring the entertainment industry’s depiction of social issues. It’s being held at the Beverly Hills Hotel and is being aired on FX. Claire Danes, Tommy Lee Jones, Nick Nolte, Helen Mirren, and Russell Brand are among the nominees.

Want more Hunger Games? For full cast interviews, including coverage from the premiere and sit downs with Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland and Wes Bentley check out Carly on EpixHD.

Follow Carly on Twitter, Facebook, and WhoSay

Who’s Your Hunger Games Crush?