Watch Kevin Tancharoen’s rejected Hunger Games pitch reel

The Hunger Games

There you are, sitting on your couch or in your office, and you read the above headline. “A pitch reel? Seriously? Why would I want to watch an alternate take on a film I enjoyed from a director whose ideas were rejected by the film’s producers?,” you wonder, hoping that we might somehow offer a convincing reason to hit “play” on that clip embedded below. Fortunately for you, we have many reasons why you should watch director Kevin Tancharoen’s pitch reel for The Hunger Games.

Tancharoen, though far from a household name, is one of the most interesting up-and-coming directors in Hollywood. Remember that awesome live-action Mortal Kombat vignette starring our beloved Michael Jai White as Jax? That was Tancharoen’s work. Warner Bros. even tapped the man to film a 9-part live-action Mortal Kombat series around the same time that its video game division was releasing the various iterations of the most recent Mortal Kombat game. In short, the guy has proven directorial chops.

Secondly, we caught The Hunger Games in theaters and while it was a perfectly acceptable blend of romantic notions aimed directly at impressionable teenage girls (and the surprisingly impressionable adult women they inevitably grow into), the world created by director Gary Ross was a bit too clean for our tastes. Here’s a dystopia where newly-pubescent youths are forced to fight to the death, and yet the film’s aesthetic tone was as bright and relatively chipper as any of the Twilight movies (which, in fairness, makes a canny sort of fiscal sense). Tancharoen’s vision of The Hunger Games however, skews more towards a sort of dark, depressing urban sprawl that more accurately mirrors the macabre fate awaiting the movie’s attractive, MTV-ready cast. That’s not to say there isn’t spectacular beauty however. Tancharoen’s vision works specifically because he contrasts the wealthy with the poor, and by rapidly showing us the physical edifices that each group have constructed to live and work in, Tancharoen demonstrates that he has a keen understanding of the kind of societal dysfunction that might spawn an entertainment medium built on the literal blood and sweat of high-school-aged children — or, at least, that he has a pretty solid idea of what it might look like.

We also like the fact that Tancharoen’s pitch reel is seemingly designed to work with or without the presence of major movie stars. We’re well aware of all the myriad reasons why Hollywood relies so heavily on recognizable faces for its big tent pole productions, but by removing that element of “hey, I know that guy from …” viewers are more inclined to identify with emotions and concepts, rather than individuals. The version of The Hunger Games that was released to theaters was acceptable, but it seemed that director Gary Ross wanted to create a “bubblegum action movie,” that would be both appealing to the key demographic of the original Hunger Games novel, and as easy to digest as any Schwarzenegger flick from the late ’80s. It’s an entertaining spectacle to be sure, but we can’t help but feel that Tancharoen’s version might have a bit more nuance, or at least inspire people to discuss the worrying prescience of the story’s vaguely allegorical ideas of where our modern, reality-TV-soaked culture might lead.

The last reason why we want you to watch this thing is simple: How often do you get a chance to watch a pitch reel for a major Hollywood film? Unless you’re Harvey Weinstein or Brian Grazer a chance like this probably doesn’t come around that often, so you may as well take advantage and see what you think. If nothing else, it should be entertaining to see how many of the pitch’s scenes you recognize as belonging to another film. Apparently that’s how they do these sorts of things. See, you learn something new every day.

Gaming

The history of Battle Royale: From mod to worldwide phenomenon

Battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite have become the biggest trend in video games. The genre is also pushing the envelope in streaming and eSports in a way that might hint at the future of the industry.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Gaming

These cheat codes made gaming history

For almost as long as video games have existed, there have been video game cheat codes. Here are some of the most famous cheat codes, including the legendary Konami Code found in dozens of games.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Podcasts

Disney+ makes some noise, follow-up films for 'Deadwood,' 'Breaking Bad'

This week on Between the Streams, we'll discuss the newly renamed Disney streaming service, Disney+, and it's new show focusing on Rogue One's Cassian Andor. We'll also talk about new films for Deadwood and Breaking Bad, and much more!
Movies & TV

Cassian Andor series and 'Mandalorian' details expand Star Wars' future

Disney has sky-high expectations for its Star Wars universe, with plenty of plans for the franchise on the big screen and television over the next few years. Here are all the upcoming movies and TV shows, both rumored and confirmed.
Home Theater

Don't wake the baby! How to connect headphones to a TV

Do you need to connect a pair of headphones to your TV? Our handy guide will show you how to hook up your headphones in a variety of ways, whether you're using wired headphones, wireless headphones, or gaming headsets.
Home Theater

Bask in the glory of your home theater with these 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays

What good is a 4K TV if you don't have the means of pushing it to its limits? Here are our favorite 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays, all of which are nothing short of stunning. It'll make you wonder why you haven't always watched movies this way.
Home Theater

PlayStation Vue adds more local channels, bringing the total to over 600

PlayStation Vue is Sony's answer to live TV without the need for a cable or satellite TV subscription. To help you understand the service, its plans, and numerous features, we've created this handy guide.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Buster Scruggs,’ ‘Missing Link,’ ‘Mowgli’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's new trailers for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Mortal Engines, and the first trailer for Missing…
Movies & TV

Michelle Yeoh reportedly in talks for stand-alone ‘Star Trek’ show

Reports claims that actress Michelle Yeoh is in talks to reprise her Star Trek: Discovery role in a spin-off series. The series will focus on Georgiou being recruited into Section 31, a secretive organization within Starfleet.