Hungry for more Hunger Games? If you've read the books and seen the movie, it's time to experience the games in real life—minus all the child-killing and starvation.
The movie was filmed in North Carolina, and now the state is looking to cash in on its Capitol (and other districts) settings. The state's tourism board website offers a wealth of information on the movie's filming locations. Take a long weekend and do the self-guided Hunger Games four-day itinerary outlined on the website.
You can tour everywhere from the Capitol (Charlotte) to District 12 (Hildebrad and Shelby), plus see where the cast and crew hung out during filming (Asheville). Take note, though, that one of the main filming locations (the spot-on Henry River Mill Village, which doubled as the Mellark family bakery and the Everdeens' home) is on private property, so you'll have to settle for a drive-by photo opp. Don't have four days? There's also a handy checklist which will take you from a Moonshine distillery (which Haymitch would have frequented) to a Survival School at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.
So is North Carolina expecting to be overrun with visitors now that the movie's out?
Margo Metzger of NC Tourism PR says, "We're hearing reports that people are scoping out the sites, but we don't have any real data. It's really hard to project how many more will come because of The Hunger Games. We've seen reports that the year after Bull Durham came out, tourism increased about 25 percent in the Raleigh-Durham area—and the same for Last of the Mohicans. But The Hunger Games is bigger right out of the box, so there's no telling what will happen. We also think that The Hunger Games will attract visitors for a long time. It's a good book—not just a popular one—and the cast and directors are excellent. Did you know that Steven Soderbergh was a second-unit director?"
As for the movie itself, Metzger says, "I'd hate to say I recognized all the real-life locations, but a lot them were unmistakable. The most dramatic is the Henry River Mill Village in Hildebran, and also scenes shot at DuPont State Forest—those are incredibly easily to match with reality. In Shelby, the warehouse area they used for the Reaping is recognizable, but it's not a place visitors normally go. If you go to an event at Knight Theater in Charlotte, it will be no stretch to imagine Katniss and Peeta and Caesar Flickerman on the stage".
Readers, would you be inspired to visit North Carolina after seeing the Hunger Games? (Find flights to Raleigh-Durham here.) Tell us in the comments area below!
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(Photo: Katniss / Jennifer Lawrence by Murray Close)