The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is highly anticipated for its release this November and it seems that this next installment of the franchise is bringing together not only the best of Hollywood, but the best of Broadway as well. Patina Miller of Broadway’s Pippin fame plays the supporting character of Commander Paylor in the next two Mockingjay films.
The role of Commander Paylor in Suzanne Collins’s novel, Mockingjay, is brief, but effective. The commander is written as the leader of District 8 in the country of Panem – the setting for The Hunger Games world. Commander Paylor aids Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Katniss, in the campaign for Katniss’s leadership as “The Mockingjay” of the revolution against the nation’s president and supporters of the capitol. Towards the end of the novel, Commander Paylor returns to play an extremely vital leadership role due to the efforts of Katniss and the rebels that support her.
Patina Miller has tweeted that she is incredibly grateful and so excited for the opportunity to play this part in the film, which is most likely to reflect the similar level of importance displayed in the novel. Miller won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her phenomenal performance as the Leading Player in the Broadway revival of Pippin. Miller previously received a Tony nomination in 2011 for originating the role of Delores Van Cartier in Broadway’s Sister Act, but Pippin marks her first win for the trophy. Miller has also appeared on television in 2007 and 2008 in the soap opera All My Children.
It is refreshing to see the best of Broadway making a crossover into the world of Hollywood in films like The Hunger Games, but the fact that director of the final two films, Frances Lawrence, is bringing in top Hollywood talent to work together as well must not be overlooked. Oscar Nominee Julianne Moore, Lily Rabe of American Horror Story fame and Natalie Dormer from Game of Thrones will make appearances in the final chapters of the saga as well. Moore plays the role of President Alma Coin, the leader of the believed-to-be-extinct District 13 of Panem. Rabe takes on the part of Commander Lyme who is a former victor of The Hunger Games and joins forces with Katniss to lead the rebels of District 2. Dormer takes on the role of vivacious video journalist and filmmaker Cressida and as recent photos of Dormer prove, she has shaved half of her head to stay true to the original character created in the novel.
The practice of theatre and film stars crossing over into opposite medias is becoming more prevalent in the careers today’s actors. A-Listers like Meryl Streep, Al Pacino and Tom Hanks can be seen on New York stages from time to time in productions like Romeo & Juliet, Glengarry Glenn Ross and Lucky Guy in addition to the feature films they star in year-round. Movie musicals such as Disney’s Frozen and the upcoming Rob Marshall film Into the Woods have opened doors to Broadway performers like Idina Menzel, Billy Magnussen, Jonathan Groff and MacKenzie Mauzy to expand their horizons in the world of film.
The fact that a project as huge as The Hunger Games is bringing together the best of both Hollywood and Broadway is incredibly rewarding to the acting community as a whole. As the two crafts of camera and stage performance begin to intertwine with each other, a great reassurance is displayed that the world will be exposed to an even greater amount of undeniable talent.
By Cody Collier