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Interview: The Hunger Game’s Isabelle Fuhrman

Long ago, way before Americans became inebriated with the dazzling heroines of this week’s box-office hit The Hunger Games, somewhere in a small town in the old Soviet Union, a 15-year old Elina Fuhrman spent a summer learning to assemble and handle a Kalashnikov while still keeping her makeup intact.

Now a style journalist in Los Angeles and the mother of rising star Isabelle Fuhrman, the knife wielding Clove in The Hunger Games, Elina sees some strange parallels between her life as a teenager in the USSR and that of her daughter’s character.

“My summer before high school was eerily similar to my daughter’s except that she was filming a movie and I was living a normal life, if you could call it normal,” said Fuhrman.

Watching her daughter take a leading role in the dystopian universe of The Hunger Games is a mind trip to Elina in some ways. The story inevitably reminds her of having to grow up quickly to escape the USSR in her late teens to live the American Dream.

Based on Suzanne Collins’ 2008 novel, The Hunger Games has devoured more than $200 million in tickets worldwide since its Friday premier.

The story takes place in the ruins of Panem, once known as North America, where famished districts rebel against the rich central Capitol.

The movie’s outline could sound like some sci-fi Bolshevik revisionist history. To the Fuhrman family, the truth hits home.

“In a strange way, the premise of The Hunger Games reminds me of the way things were in my country…the draft of young people, the pomposity of the government, the glitzy parades and outfits and the despair behind it all,” she said.

Though a celebrity teenager living the life of a rising star in LA, Isabelle clearly picks up on the the irony of it all.

“My mom grew up in the Soviet Union and wasn’t allowed to do certain things,” Isabelle said.

“She danced when she was younger even though she wanted to play piano, and the reason she danced was because at that time children were picked based on their natural talent to learn a skill,” she said.

“For me, I got to choose, and I love that. I got to decide what I wanted to do, and my mom has been there by my side ever since,” she said.

Read the complete interview here.

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