Elizabeth Banks on Becoming Effie in 'Catching Fire'

Written By Sun-Times Wire Posted: 11/18/2013, 09:26pm

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Elizabeth Banks | Lionsgate

Elizabeth Banks | Lionsgate

LOS ANGELES – As the fashion femme fatale of The Capitol, Effie Trinket subscribes to the old Coco Chanel view of fashion: “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”

Elizabeth Banks, who plays Effie, has that one down.

It’s not everyone who runs around adorned with head to toe, three- dimensional butterflies attached to her.

“Let’s make one thing clear. No real butterflies were hurt,” Banks says with a smile over tea at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills on a warm fall day where she arrives looking so chic even Effie might be jealous.

Her long blonde hair is tucked up in a faux bob complete with side-swept, light blonde, long bangs. Reasonably thin Banks wears a white cashmere sweater and matching slacks.

“It was actually 10,000 feathers handpainted and glued to me to look like living butterflies,” she clarifies. “We were still putting them in my hair when I was walking onto the set.”

Another amazing look in the new “Catching Fire,” opening Friday, is her Lady in White outfit, which marks Effie’s debut.

“We call one of my looks the Ice Queen, which was my favorite. It’s very Effie,” says Banks with relish of an outfit where she looks like a giant white powder puff – with curves.

“It was a laser cut, white leather Alexander McQueen couture coat dress with fur appliqué,” she says.

Banks can read your mind.

“No, I didn’t get to keep it, but it would have been good for parties,” she says, laughing. “Everything is a museum quality piece.”

Everything Effie begins on the page. “It all starts with [author] Suzanne Collins’ words. She elaborately details what Effie looks like.”

Banks also has one of the more grueling roles in “Hunger Games.” “It’s always three to four hours a day in the makeup chair.”

She says the process of “putting Effie together” starts a couple of months before the film shoots. “I get together with the costume designer because the costumes lead us. We tailor the hair and makeup to each outfit.

“It’s all about color schemes, palettes and shapes. It’s a long process,” she says. “For ‘Catching Fire,’ I spent about a week straight just trying things on including different shapes of hair.”

Her personal favorite? “You need to see yourself someday in bright gold hair,” she says with a laugh.

She says her Effie Trinket is “fascinating because she has a real evolution over the movies. She is almost presented as the villain at the beginning. She clearly works for the Capitol and drank the Kool-Aid, if you will.”

In “Catching Fire,” it’s a new Effie. “She’s used to sending kids into the Hunger Games and they don’t come back. Now, she has two victors who will fight again, Katniss and Peeta. She gets to spend time with them and feels motherly. She’s devastated that they’re going into the games again.”

READY FOR YOUR CLOSE UP: It’s not like most of us are going to run around Chicago in a butterfly ensemble…well, wait a minute. New Year’s Eve is around the corner.

But I digress.

I did ask Banks her stay-slim-and-gorgeous tips for your show stopping outfits this holiday season:

Tip 1: Walk Everywhere. “I’m lucky that I live where there are great hiking trails. I try to hike or at least walk as much as I can. It’s great time to spend with my friends or husband. You have an uninterrupted hour of chit-chat,” says Banks. “At the same time, you’re doing something outdoors and healthy.”

Tip 2: Don’t Deny Yourself. “I eat everything in moderation all year round,” she says. “Yes, I do have certain rules. I don’t really order fried foods. But if you put French fries in front of me right now, I will pick at them. It’s a good rule.”

Tip 3: Create Your Own Food Chart. “I eat more fruits and vegetables than candy,” she says laughing. “Anyone can try that one. I tell people, ‘When you go to the grocery store, buy more bananas than chocolate! Tell them Effie told you.’ ”

NEXT BLOG: Jennifer Lawrence discusses what makes her feel beautiful.