At only 13 years-old, Amandla Stenberg is making her way to stardom, as she co-stars in this weekends new release of The Hunger Games. One of the biggest films of the year, Amandla finds herself amongst another challenging and amazing role for a young girl her age.
EBONY.COM: Tell me a bit about your role as “Rue”. How is she different from all of the other roles you have played? Were there any challenges that you faced getting into her character?
Amandla Stenberg: Rue comes from District 11, one of the poorer districts in the dystopian world of The Hunger Games. As her district specializes in agriculture, she's grown up climbing trees. She's only 12 years old yet she has to take care of her many younger siblings. This all helps prepare her for the Games. During the Games, she forms an alliance with Katniss the main character, and ends up taking care of her at one point.
One of the most challenging scenes was one I shot with Jennifer Lawrence. It's a spoiler so I won't say too much about it, but it was challenging because I had to be sure I didn't overplay it. I talked to Suzanne Collins, the author, who was on set that day. She explained how Rue wants to be strong for Katniss and give her hope so that Katniss can go on and win the Games. It was so helpful to have Suzanne there. I think her explanation really strengthened my performance.
EBONY.COM: How is your character as Rue different, or even similar to your past role as young Cataleya in Columbiana?
AS: Cataleya and Rue are similar in the way they are both very driven and resourceful. They know how to take care of themselves, which is unusual for such young characters. They're strong and know how to think on their feet, which is why I loved playing them so much.
EBONY.COM: How does it feel to be apart of such a huge film? Are you excited?
AS: Being in The Hunger Games is so incredible and surreal. It's literally a dream come true. I have been such a huge fan of these books, and have read them multiple times. To get the call that I was cast as Rue, then to step onto the set, took my breath away. I'm so excited for everyone to see the book come to life on screen. I really do think the book's fans are going to love it. And I'm sure those who haven't even read Suzanne Collins' trilogy will love it as well.
EBONY.COM: What’s next for you? Do you have any projects you can speak about in the works?
AS: I'm looking at different projects. It's important that I always do projects that are meaningful to me and that I play characters I love.
EBONY.COM: You’re building your career at such a young age. What is it like coming into your young teenage years in the industry?
AS: I started out doing commercials at the age of four and have always wanted to act theatrically. Appearing in Colombiana and The Hunger Games are huge breaks. I'm so grateful to be able to do what I do at such a young age as it's always been a dream of mine.
EBONY.COM: What type role would you love to play at some point during your career?
AS: I really want to play all different kinds of characters, like Meryl Streep or Stanley Tucci. I actually had the honor of working with him on The Hunger Games. They're both such chameleons. To think that Stanley Tucci can go from a murderer to an over-the-top talk show host is incredible. I'd love to do a period piece or play a fashionista. Can you tell I'm a Devil Wears Prada fan?!
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