Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains. Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. ‘The Hunger Games’ is directed by Gary Ross, and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Amandia Stenberg, Alexander Ludwig, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones and Stanley Tucci.  ’The Hunger Games’ is based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel, the first in a trilogy that has sold over 16 million copies in print in the United States alone. The film is released in cinemas March 23rd. Look out for a more in-depth interview with Lenny Kravitz for ‘The Hunger Games’ next week.

Why do think Katniss is such an endearing character to so many people? Also, what do you think Jennifer Lawrence brings to her?

Lenny Kravitz: What makes Katniss endearing to me is the fact that she’s the underdog, you know? She’s this girl from District 12, she’s probably the most unlikely person to win, and she just becomes this amazing heroin. I think that Jennifer Lawrence is just an amazing actress. I knew her before doing this because she was in ‘X-Men First Class’ with my daughter Zoë. So, I’d been watching her for a number of years and I just think she’s got so much talent. To me, she’s like a young Meryl Streep, she’s got a lot of range and people are going to see a lot coming from her. She IS the character, from the moment I arrived on set, she just embodied Katniss’ spirit.

How did you get involved with ‘The Hunger Games,’ to play Cinna?

Lenny Kravitz: Gary Ross called me while I was in the studio recording my album. He just said, “I’m doing this movie ‘The Hunger Games,’ I’d like you to play the part of Cinna. If you want the part, you’ve got it. You don’t have to audition, you don’t have to do anything. Just show up.” I thought that was quite an amazing phone call because I’ve only made a couple of films. It was beautiful to get offered a role like that. I hadn’t read the book, the book was sent to me – because I was on an island in the middle of nowhere (laughs). I read the book, fell in love with the book, I couldn’t put it down.

What was it like on set with Gary Ross?

Lenny Kravitz: He is such a great director. And I know, I’ve only made a couple of films, but watching him work, and the way he works with me, he’s just incredible. He’s so focused, he runs an incredibly tight ship. He know exactly what he wants, but there’s no stress or tension on the set. It’s a very relaxed set. You’d think that on something this enormous that there would be a lot of tension. But it was really easy going. He has a great way of pulling out what he wants from the actors.

Speaking to people involved with ‘The Hunger Games,‘ everyone seems so genuinely excited about it….

Lenny Kravitz: Yeah. To see it come to life is the exciting part. We’d sit and do these scenes, you go over them and over them. Then when you finally see a little piece cut….it’s real, it’s living, it’s a movie, it’s breathing. Like any great, classic sort of movie – something like ‘The Wizard of OZ’ or ‘Star Wars,’ I think that this movie has those qualities in that it’s a great story, it’s an adventure, and you have great characters you can really identify with and love.