At six-feet, two-inches with all-American good looks (even though he was born in Vancouver), Alexander Ludwig doesn’t look like a super villain. But to fans of The Hunger Games he is the baddest baddie of them all, Cato, the brute from District 2.
“He was born and raised a killer and that’s all he knew how to do,” says the 20-year-old actor.
“But he’s not your everyday villain. There’s a lot more substance and depth to this guy. You can tell he’s had a tortured life.”
Trained as a killer, Cato has spent his whole life preparing for his turn in The Hunger Games, a kind of murderous reality show.
“I’m playing the most feared guy in the arena so I didn’t know how I was going to be received by everyone else in the cast,” he says of his co-stars Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. “I was cautious about it, but everyone was amazing.”
One thing is for sure; he made an impression on one stunt man.
“I hit a stunt guy across the face with the butt end of a rubber bat when I was filming,” he says, “but once you do that you have keep going because they’re going to kick your ass if you don’t. ‘What are you doing? That was the perfect sell because you actually hit me.’ I felt so bad.”
He says that despite the movie’s dark subject matter and the odd bruised stunt man, the mood on set was light.
“It is important to have contrast when the material is so dark. There’s all this tense energy and right after they yell, ‘Cut’ you can breathe.”
He’s also breathing a little easier now the movie is done and fans have embraced him.
“I have been so, so happy about the way I have been received because it could go either way,” he says.
“Everyone’s been very excited to see me and meet me. No one has said, ‘Screw you, Cato!’ I hope it stays like this. Everyone likes being liked and I chose this role knowing that it could go the other way.”
“I’m just riding this crazy experience. You really can’t think about it because you don’t know what to expect. Every day is a new experience.
I walked out of my hotel room this morning and there were fans outside. I can’t believe this is happening to me. It’s wild.”
SIDEBAR: “Everyone’s been very excited to see me and meet me. No one has said, ‘Screw you, Cato!’ I hope it stays like this. Everyone likes being liked and I chose this role knowing that it could go the other way.” Actor Alexander Ludwig, on playing the evil Cato in The Hunger Games.