Jena Malone reveals how The Hunger Games fan base impacted her life

We sat down with actress Jena Malone to chat about her latest project, The Rusted, an exciting short film and to find out how being part of The Hunger Games franchise changed her life.

Jena Malone is best known for her role as Johanna Mason in the blockbuster The Hunger Games films, but she’s also acted in numerous independent films as well. She’s now proud to share a short film called The Rusted, in which she plays Josh Hutcherson’s grieving sister. This 20-minute psychological thriller, written and directed by Kat Candler, is part of Project Imagination: The Trailer, sponsored by Canon cameras and movie director Ron Howard.

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Malone says The Rusted is an interesting story that packs a lot of emotions into a short story focused on two siblings who come together when their mother passes away. “It’s a really beautiful little piece and I think Kat [Candler] did an incredible job, and I think Josh [Hutcherson] is really outstanding in it, and I’m really proud to be part of it,” says Malone.

In the film, her character Karen mourns the loss of her mother. “It was sort of a mental physicalization of grief that is haunting her in a different way. I liked that. I was also drawn to the sweet sibling relationship in the film.” But it was working with Hutcherson that interested her most. “I was really excited for us to play different people with each other.” The two famously worked together in making The Hunger Games movies.

Jena Malone
Image: Lionsgate

It was making huge book-to-screen movies that sparked Malone to want to explore new possibilities. For her, interacting with The Hunger Games‘ giant fan base made a huge impact. “It was such a distinct fan base that it really changed my point of view on the kinds of movies I want to make. I realized that these young men and women were so creative and powerful, passionate and interested in real life. They wanted to know, ‘What is war like? What is compassion? What is self-sacrifice?’ These are questions people far into their 40s aren’t even interested in exploring,” says Malone, adding, “They are the next revolutionaries. I’m 30. They’re the ones who are going to change things, not me.”

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Malone seemed both excited and nostalgic when we asked what to expect from Mockingjay — Part 2. “This is it! This is the end. It’s the biggest, craziest and saddest one yet. Sad because it’s all ending. Mockingjay is a tough book, especially towards the end. It’s war, and when you actually get into war, it’s not a pretty sight.”

As for future projects, Malone is interested in creating new stories that we haven’t told before, because she thinks the world is changing in drastic ways. “There’s this sort of de-genderization of society happening, also this equality of the sexes. Wild things are happening through the millennial generation. There [are] so many new myths to create for young men and women, to help them understand themselves. I just want to keep making great films.”

When it comes to issues of gender equality, however, Malone says she doesn’t look to Hollywood for answers. Instead, she looks to society. “How far we come [among] ourselves will be how far we push Hollywood.”

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You can watch The Rusted, starring Jena Malone and Josh Hutcherson, by clicking here.


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