The "Euphoria" breakout also reveals how portraying Jules gave her confidence to play Tigris.
Hunter Schafer is game to step back into the world of Panem.
The Euphoria star, who plays a young Tigris in The Hunger Games prequel Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, tells EW she would “absolutely” be down to reprise her role as the stylist and cousin to Tom Blyth’s teenage Coriolanus Snow. In the original franchise, Tigris (played by Eugenie Bondurant) is a prized Capitol stylist who has a disdain for the tyrannical president of Panem (Donald Sutherland), and even smiles when Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen informs her that she intends to kill him. Schafer believes there’s room for storytelling to further explore young Tigris and Coriolanus’ eventual estrangement.
“I want to know what happens, even if I wasn’t playing her,” she says. “I want to know how we get there.”
The prequel, set six decades before the events of the original franchise, offers more backstory to Tigris, who has a warm and supportive relationship with Coriolanus. An orphan like her cousin, she resides with him and their grandmother in the opulent Capitol — though unbeknown to their peers, the family has fallen on hard financial times since the first rebellion. Just three years older than 18-year-old Coriolanus, Tigris works for fashion designer Fabricia Whatnot and is the family’s main source of income. She opposes the Hunger Games and sympathizes with Coriolanus’ mentee Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), which offers a glimpse into that future estrangement.
The movie also notably introduces a Tigris before the tiger-like surgical enhancements. “Aesthetically, we wanted it to be a pretty big departure to insinuate how much has happened in between this movie and Mockingjay Tigris,” Schafer says. “I remember seeing Tigris in Mockingjay 2 and being taken aback by her. She’s so striking. It was fun to reinvent her — or uninvent her — and create the younger version of her that’s still in survival mode with [Coriolanus]. We had creative liberty.”
Like her costars, Schafer was a major fan of the franchise as a tween, having even made her own Capitol costumes for the movie premieres. “The movies came out at a time when my love for fashion was starting to take over,” she shares. “It was also a time when I was interested in androgyny and that's something I saw in the movies and the Capitol. I remember finding clearance orange gaudy fabric at JOANN's. I want to find pictures. I don't know where they are.”
Schafer credits her time as Jules on Sam Levinson’s hit HBO drama series Euphoria for giving her the confidence to take on the role of Tigris. “Euphoria was my acting school,” she says. “I wasn’t trying to be an actor. That wasn’t the plan. Euphoria kind of just happened to me. I don't think I could have confidently taken on a role like this without using my experience in Euphoria.” As for whether Schafer has seen the script for season 3 yet, “The strike ended a couple of days ago!” she quips. “I’m still getting in the loop with everything. I hope so, soon.”
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes arrives in theaters Nov. 17. You can buy Entertainment Weekly's The Ultimate Guide to The Hunger Games here, or on newsstands.
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