Actress/stuntwoman Tara Macken was superstitious about auditioning for a role in the "Hunger Games," the movie out this week based on the wildly popular books.
"I heard about the first book but I didn't want to read it before I got the role. I wanted an open mind about the characters," Macken said. "I didn't want to psych myself out. After I got the role, that's when I started reading the books."
That book is the first in a trilogy written by Suzanne Collins about a teenager who lives in a post-apocalyptic world. The games are an annual event in which boy and girls aged 12 to 18 compete in televised battles in which only one of them can survive. The first book has sold more than 800,000 copies.
And that popularity spawned this movie, which stars Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson. The following is something similar to the likes of "Harry Potter" and "Twilight."
And Macken is hoping it turns into a breakout role for her as she plays a fighter -- District 4 tribute.
"Growing up, I had a couple of visions, one was to be a professional gymnast and then a professional dancer and even a professional wrestler," said Macken, who was born in Kuwait. "But I got into stunt work, and as I'm older, I'm pursuing everything I can."
Macken got the love for action when she moved to Borneo as a child, spending a lot of time climbing through the jungle. She then moved to the Philippines and got into gymnastics, rock climbing and dancing. After high school, Macken moved to California and graduated from Santa Clara University with a bachelor of science in political science and a bachelor of arts in theatre arts.
Because of her background in gymnastics and dance, she moved to Los Angeles and got into television and movies. Her big break was appearing on "Sons of Anarchy" on FX. That led to a few more roles and eventually "Hunger Games." She also will be in the next installment of the "G.I. Joe" franchise and the next reboot of "Star Trek."
But first off, it's "Hunger Games."
"This role is allowing me the best of both worlds, acting and stunt work," Macken said. "It was never a dull moment on the set. When I first got this film, I didn't understand the gravity of this movie. I hope this is a springboard."