The Hunger Games | 2012
Locations for The Hunger Games were found in the western half of North Carolina, largely between Asheville and Charlotte.
Adapted from the first of Suzanne Collins’ series of novels, the film takes place in a post-war nation known as Panem (which used to be the USA), consisting of a decadently wealthy Capitol and 12 poverty-stricken districts, punished for their part in the ‘uprising’.
An abandoned village about 50 miles northwest of Charlotte, which was built in the 1920s as a planned community with its own textile mill, dam, and company store, serves as ‘Section 12’. It’s here you can see the home of Katniss Everdene (Jennifer Lawrence) as well as the Bakery where Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) works.
Now a ghost town, Henry River Mill Village, near Hildebran, stands along a small gorge of the Henry River. The buildings can be seen along Henry River Road, to the south of Hildebran. The deserted homes are in a dangerous state – and the land they stand on is private – so you’re seriously advised to look only from the outside.
The local forest, where Katniss spends time with Gale (Liam Hemsworth) before volunteering for the Games is officially called the Big Ivy Area (after the Big Ivy River, not a colourful local character), though it’s locally referred to as the Coleman Boundary, part of the Pisgah National Forest, near Barnardsville on Route 197 / North Forks Road, northeast of Asheville.
With more than 30 miles of trails that you can hike or bike, the mountain region, bordered to the east by the Blue Ridge Parkway, contains some of the most rugged and scenic terrain in the state.
About 30 miles south of Hildebran, is the town of Shelby. Private warehouses west of South Lafayette Street, downtown, were used for ‘District 12’s Hob’, and the ‘Reaping Ceremony’, where the two Tributes (competitors in the games) are chosen by Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks). Commercial buildings alongside the railway tracks on South Morgan Street at Blanton Street were transformed into the district’s scruffy industrial section.
The chosen tributes are whisked away from the drudgery of the Districts to the floridly extravagant luxury of the Capitol.
West of Concord, the old Philip Morris Cabarrus Plant, 2321 Concord Parkway South, was used as a studio. Spanning 2,100 acres, and with 2.4 million square feet under one roof, it was used for scenes at the Capitol, including the Tributes’ training centre, as well as for Districts 7 and 13.
The tributes’ grand entrance riding in chariots, where Katniss makes a terrific impression earning her the nickname ‘The Girl on Fire’, was filmed in Charlotte Convention Center, 501 South College Street , in Charlotte itself.
Also in Charlotte, the Knight Theater, 430 South Tryon Street (part of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center), was used for the pre-Game interviews conducted by the elaborately coiffed television presenter Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci).
With all the pomp and ceremony out of the way, the survival games proper begin at the Cornucopia, where the Tributes are tempted with survival packs. This was built on private land alongside the North Fork Reservoir, Black Mountain, about 20 miles to the northeast of Asheville.
Since the reservoir provides drinking water, access to it is restricted, but you can view it from the Craggy Pinnacle Trail, accessed at the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center, 364 Blue Ridge Parkway. To minimise damage to the environment, you’re strongly encouraged to follow the law and stick to the established trail.
The woods, where game makers prevent Katniss from straying too far by conjuring up a forest fire, is DuPont State Forest, Staton Road, Cedar Mountain, about ten miles southwest of Hendersonville. Within the forest, Katniss discovers the camouflaged, and wounded Peeta at the base of the Triple Falls, on the Little River. You’ll find the 10,400-acre forest in Henderson and Transylvania Counties, between the towns of Hendersonville and Brevard. The forest and its waterfalls are also seen in Michael Mann’s 1992 film of The Last Of The Mohicans, with Daniel Day-Lewis.