12

In the Hunger Games books and films, Caesar Flickerman, the host of the pre-Games tribute interviews and in some ways the 'face of the Games', seems like a realistic depiction of a modern talk show host. But that's about as much as I can tell; I don't watch enough TV to be able to tell one such host from another in real life. So I was wondering:

was Caesar inspired by any television presenter in real life?

Either in Suzanne Collins's imagination of him, or in Stanley Tucci's excellent on-screen depiction.

  • Check out the second paragraph of this section from his Wiki article. – Null Dec 14 '15 at 15:31
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    He always reminded me of Wink Martindale. – phantom42 Dec 14 '15 at 15:33
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    @Null Thanks, but Wikia isn't a reliable source, and I've often found that Wikia in particular to be full of nonsense. – Rand al'Thor Dec 14 '15 at 15:37
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    @randal'thor I know, that's why I posted it as a comment. And perhaps you missed the amusing play on words in it? – Null Dec 14 '15 at 15:38
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    @randal'thor "subtly mocking Jay [Leno]". vs. Mockingjay – Null Dec 14 '15 at 15:45
15

According to this interview it appears that Stanley Tucci was inspired in his rendition of Caesar Flickerman by Graham Norton Interview Otherwise I have yet to find a quote from Suzanne Collins on her inspiration, but the search is still underway.

From the video interview,

"When you create a character, you steal and cull from all sources. He's a cross between Wayne Newton and Jiminy Glick and there's a little piece of you Graham - the intelligence!"

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    Suzanne Collins is a press hermit, so the likelihood of finding something based on her commentary is pretty tiny. What you've offered is likely the best we're going to get without guesswork. – user31178 Dec 14 '15 at 17:45
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    I must confess, when I first saw him I was like "That's like if Graham Norton lost what few filters he had". – corsiKa Dec 14 '15 at 19:18
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    I can't say I'm entirely convinced Tucci actually meant what he said when he name-dropped Graham Norton. It seems too much like the typical pandering that a guest might engage in when trying to ingratiate himself to a host. Maybe if he'd said it somewhere other than on Norton's very own show, it might have given it more weight in my own mind. I mean Tucci is American and I have no idea if Norton is even well known in USA? Is there any reason to suppose he would take inspiration from Norton? – The Giant of Lannister Dec 15 '15 at 11:12
  • @TheGiantofLannister the problem is we have nothing else to go off of here, so we are simply just saying, this is what he says, if hes lying thats not for us to determine, with no other explanation from the author or anyone else involved this is the best guess. But i agree that interviews on comedy/talkshows like this are not the best for garnering facts. – Himarm Dec 15 '15 at 14:14
  • @Himarm I didn't say it was the wrong answer - totally agree we have nothing else to go on. Just adding it as a comment that I wouldn't take his words as read. Another point I would add is that the characteristic Tucci attributes to Norton (intelligence) could easily be attributed to most chat show hosts. I think it's debateable that Norton was a unique influence on the character, but regardless, Tucci is on record as saying it so the answer will have to stand! – The Giant of Lannister Dec 15 '15 at 15:17
9

According to this source (emphasis and links mine), Tucci's portrayal was inspired by at least three other presenters:

Tucci plays flamboyant presenter Caesar Flickerman in the hit film franchise and his portrayal was inspired by American entertainer Wayne Newton, fictional presenter Jiminy Glick, and camp Irish chat show host [Graham] Norton.

In an appearance on Norton's programme this week (ends12Apr15), Tucci admitted the host had been a big influence on the development of Flickerman, telling him, "When you create a character, you steal and cull from all sources. He's a cross between Wayne Newton and Jiminy Glick and there's a little piece of you Graham - the intelligence!"

And according to another interview, Tucci's inspiration for the look of Caesar (as opposed to the performance, presumably?) was based on George Hamilton and Karl Lagerfeld.


The only reference I can find to any inspiration by Suzanne Collins in writing her character was in the notoriously unreliable Hunger Games Wikia, which claims "one might think his last name to be a reference to David Letterman. However, his portrayal is perhaps closer to Leno, which if intentional would mean that Ms. Collins is subtly mocking Jay." However, this may well be completely made up as an excuse to get a nice bit of wordplay in ("mocking Jay"). I definitely wouldn't put any faith in this totally unsourced claim.

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    I can't say I'm entirely convinced Tucci actually meant what he said when he name-dropped Graham Norton. It seems too much like the typical pandering that a guest might engage in when trying to ingratiate himself to a host. Maybe if he'd said it somewhere other than on Norton's very own show, it might have given it more weight in my own mind. I mean Tucci is American and I have no idea if Norton is even well known in USA? Is there any reason to suppose he would take inspiration from Norton? – The Giant of Lannister Dec 15 '15 at 11:12

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