In our final Hunger Games Five Favorites feature, we present Elizabeth Banks, who plays the vapidly effervescent, Effie Trinket. Trinket is the Reaping Day host for district 12, the one who pulled the names out of the lotto and sent Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark on their way to the Capitol where they, and 22 other tributes, fight to death in the Hunger Games arena. We spoke to Banks for illumination into her movie viewing history.
Giant (George Stevens, 1956; 97% Tomatometer)
Number one is Giant. Starting off with the incomprable James Dean. I love that movie. I love how epic it is in scope. I love that it’s about a woman who is coming into her own and thinks she’s going into one situation and, of course, has to dominate and overcome. For me, for my money, if I had to choose between Giant and Gone with the Wind, I’d go Giant every time.
Where would Gone with the Wind place on your list?
It would not place in my top five.
Number two, I’m going to go with Pulp Fiction. It just came out at a really fun time in my life, my early 20s. Maybe even before that; was it ’96?
It was 1994.
I think I was graduating from college, yeah. It was just so fresh and amazing, and the storytelling, you know, changed cinema forever. I just loved it. And it brought back John Travolta. Every character was incredible, and I loved its really dark sense of humor. Like, literally some of the hardest laughing I’ve ever done in my life was when John Travolta accidentally blows the head off that guy. [laughs] Making that funny is such a feat. The comic sensibility of Quentin Tarantino never ceases to amaze me.
The next movie on my list, which is Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, starring Leo [DiCaprio] and Claire Danes, that was the movie where I was like, “I want do this for a living.” It was one of the few times in my life that I’ve been truly jealous of a bunch of actors.
That hadn’t happened for you until you saw Romeo + Juliet?
Not in the way that really… Like, I saw the movie at a pivotal moment in my life when I was really deciding if I was going to pursue acting, and it was something that I want to be part of, a film like this.
Do you ever think about what your life would be like if you hadn’t seen Romeo + Juliet, or if it never came out?
It’d probably be pretty similar; I just wouldn’t be so jealous of Claire Danes.
Number five, I’m going to go with… I’m picking between the multiple Barbra Streisand musicals of my youth that we would watch on Sundays with my mom. They’re all good. Anything with Barbra Streisand.
Would you watch them on television with your mother?
Yeah. I mean, if I had to pick my first R-rated movie that I was like, “This is the greatest movie I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” it was Flashdance. My mom took me to see Flashdance when we were really young. It was like way underage for R-rated; you know, you had to go with an adult. She was the adult who took us, because to my mom, it was just a story about a ballerina.
Was she surprised by the content?
No. I think, actually, she went and saw the movie with her friends and then decided, you know, “It’s okay; I can take the girls.” She loved it. That whole stripper thing, it kind of went over our heads.
The Hunger Games is playing in theaters now.