Meet Tigris, the New The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Character
Model-turned actress Eugenie Bondurant is a tall, striking beauty who appears in the final The Hunger Game: Mockingjay – Part 2 as a character named Tigris, a former Hunger Games champion who so identifies with tigers that she has had plastic surgery to make herself look more feline. Bondurant worked with a dance choreographer to help develop tiger-like movements and “just a rhythm for this character. I looked on YouTube and went to the zoo and did things like that but really the main thing is working with the choreographer because she helped tremendously.”
She says there were long hours in makeup but she enjoyed the process of transforming into the character. “It was all a fun process and it’s very interesting when you have a lot of people’s hands on your face and neck and hair and bla bla bla.”
As an actor, though, Bondurant said the makeup and costume that turned her into Tigris presented a challenge.
“I will tell you most of my senses were…how do I say this correctly? Most of my senses were compromised as in my sense of hearing, my sense of sight, my sense of smell. Tasting-wise, I wasn’t able to eat. I had to drink things through a straw. Even my sense of touch with my fingers, I have very long fingernails on, and then I am walking around and these incredible shoes. I’m a former model, so in terms of knowing how to walk down the catwalk, that whole thing was a piece of cake for me. But when your senses are not quite cut off but impaired, it puts things in a little bit different perspective. It really brought to light the difficult process that this woman tigress deals with. It made her plight a little more personal.”
To see the incredible result of Bondurant's transformation, pause the below trailer at exactly the 2:14 mark.
Appearing in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 meant joining a cast that had been working together for many years. But they gave her a very warm welcome and made her feel a part of the group immediately.
“The first day I was on the set I wasn’t even working that day, I had wardrobe fittings and was meeting people. As I went on set I saw [director] Francis Lawrence and he turned around and his eyes got big and soft and he had a huge smile on his face and he said, ‘’Eugenie, come here, come here,’ and I thought, ‘I’m in a magical place.’ And when I was in the makeup trailer Jennifer Lawrence and everyone that I worked with made sure that they came up and introduced themselves. They were fascinated by the makeup process and they really tried to help me out and talk to me while I was being worked on. You know sitting there, as I have mentioned before, my senses were impaired, so you can imagine when I’m hearing things it’s a muffled sound. And my sight is limited as well so things could be happening around me and I can’t see until I actually turn around, and they were very helpful with that, very understanding and thoughtful."
The necessary prosthetics to achieve Tigris meant some pain, too.
"One time when my head was hurting after about four hours of wearing this head thing because there are spikes and my hair is pulled back, so I discreetly whispered in the wardrobe assistant’s ear, ‘Is there any way that thing can be adjusted because I feel like it’s digging into my scalp,’ and so they said yes, sure. Well, immediately after that happened everyone was coming up and going, ‘Oh it’s going to be okay…oh you’re going to be fine…oh you know what, just relax,’ and doing whatever they could to help me out and be supportive. It was terrific. It was truly the best set I’ve ever worked on. Everyone was happy to be working on it and you know that all comes from the top. Francis Lawrence was always in a fabulous mood and incredibly encouraging and supportive and so was everyone else.”
Bondurant has taught acting to kids, teenagers, and adults, but she says that she was more student than teacher with her young costars. “Yes, yes, yes. You know it was extraordinary to be with them and I actually could use a lot of what they did in my classroom. Everyone on that set from A to Z, they were incredibly professional and playful. So what you had was a really fun set but professional, extremely professional. So what a wonderful experience! “
She talked about what makes the Hunger Games series so compelling. “We have a protagonist who is, first, fighting for the love of her family. She then figures out what she truly believes. So I think that there are a lot of kids, teenagers, and adults who look at this young woman and how she is really developing what she believes in, and what is morally right, and then she fights for it. It’s a great lesson and it’s a great story. The main message right from when it starts off is that love of the family, and what we’ll do to protect the ones that we love. So I think that’s where it lies, that’s my belief and why it is resonating. And it’s such a good read — oh my goodness! It touches the heart.”
Featured image: Fallen Snow Banner. Courtesy Lionsgate Films