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It’s hard to think about The Hunger Games cast without eventually picturing Donald Sutherland in your mind. Though Sutherland wasn’t technically a main character, he is the main antagonist of The Hunger Games and its three sequels: Catching Fire, Mockingjay – Part 1, and Mockingjay – Part 2. In the movies, Sutherland plays the formidable President Snow; a terrifying ruler that inspired fear throughout Panem with nothing more than a whisper.

The Hunger Games cast members Jennifer Lawrence and Donald Sutherland
Jennifer Lawrence and Donald Sutherland | Jim Spellman/WireImage

Of course, Sutherland had no idea how big The Hunger Games franchise would eventually become, but he felt drawn to the story when he read the script. After reading the script, he felt that the films could potentially be a game-changer and help mobilize young people to get involved in politics. But just how did Sutherland manage to connect to such a sinister character? In an interview with Collider, the talented actor revealed a bit of his process.

Donald Sutherland on how he built his character after he was cast in ‘The Hunger Games’

Sutherland admitted that while many of his acting choices were informed by the script, parts of President Snow are all him. “Any actor gives a character a little piece of DNA,” Sutherland shared about how he came to understand Snow as a character after he was cast in The Hunger Games. “You have the script and you put it into the Petrie dish inside your belly, and out comes this fella. So, he’s part me and he’s part the script.”

But how does Sutherland view his character in The Hunger Games? Funnily enough, Sutherland believes that Snow’s main concerns are the flowers that he tends to. He’s not concerned about someone like Katniss challenging his power. In fact, he’s come to expect that as part of the job. Sutherland also adds that Snow is more of an old school leader, who doesn’t necessarily agree with all the new trends.

Sutherland breaks down President Snow’s priorities

“He expects someone to come and challenge his position,” The Hunger Games alum shared. “He’s very confident. His main priority is roses. You see that he looks different from the people in the community. He’s much older and he comes from a different generation. In the same sense that my parents didn’t really like Elvis Presley and I was crazy about him, it’s the same with President Snow. I don’t know how much he approves of all that’s going on, but it’s OK. Now, young people have loads of tattoos. I don’t have a tattoo.”


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Was Snow afraid of Katniss Everdeen?

But, is Snow afraid of Katniss, the spark behind the rebellion? In Sutherland’s mind, no. He merely sees her as an opponent that he has to figure out how to best. “At my age, the only thing you’re really afraid of are Depends,” The Hunger Games star joked. “I think he sees challenge, and I think he sees something in Katniss Everdeen that’s been let loose. He sees the challenge that he’s been waiting for. You know that somebody is going to come up sometime, and this particular girl is someone who you can’t just kill. You have to find some other way of controlling and containing her.”

Sutherland gave fantastic performances in ‘The Hunger Games’ movies

While Snow may have briefly managed to control and contain Katniss, ultimately he simply couldn’t. We certainly appreciate Sutherland’s insight into his character. Clearly, lots of thought and nuance went to making President Coriolanus Snow the villain we all love to hate.