Inspiration for the Hunger Games: Greek Mythology, Gladiator Games, Televised War and Reality TV

Suzanne Collins at the world premiere of "The Hunger Games". (Photo: AP/Chris Pizzello)

The buzz has been huge for the best-selling novel and highly anticipated film “The Hunger Games,” which hits theaters Friday, but little is heard or known of the author and co-producer of the film Suzanne Collins.

(Related: Liberal or conservative? Both sides trying to claim ‘Hunger Games’ as their own — why?)

ABC News reports that Collins has never given a TV interview but she has shared some insight into what inspired the books with publisher Scholastic in 2010. In that interview, Collins says that the inspiration for the trilogy was a mix of the Greek mythology, Roman gladiator games, reality TV shows like “Survivor” and the War in Iraq.

(Related: Navy’s new ‘Hunger Games’-like lab tests robots in ‘extreme survival conditions’)

First, if you aren’t familiar with book, brush up with the “Hunger Games for Dummies” from ABC:

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Below are a few clips from the Collins’ interview.

Watch Collins talk about how the book harkens back to classical myths and civilization:

Collins explains her contemporary inspiration for the book:

Here she speaks of desensitization, a central theme to describe the elite Capitol citizens, characters who live in privileged excess and who like Roman citizens took pleasure in watching the gore of gladiator fights:

Collins cites the Greek myth of the Cretian King Minos, who avenged the death of his son by sending seven young men and women into a labyrinth each year where they would be eaten by the a minotaur. This connection is seen in the book with regard to the Hunger Games themselves. The games are an invention by the Capitol to remind the citizens of Panem of the “Dark Days.” In the games 12 men and 12 women — one from each District of the restructured, futuristic North America — to fight to the death in an arena publicized on national television.

Some have said the books are too violent for the young audience for which they are geared. Collins, in her interview with Scholastic, described how her father was in the Vietnam War, causing her to feel a personal connection with some of the violence she saw on television at the time. She fears though that there is a desensitization to what is being seen on TV. She said she wants people to question ”What’s your relationship to reality TV versus your relationship to news? Was there anything that disturbed you because it reflected aspects of your own life, and what can you do about it?”

According to her website biography, Collins is no stranger to the children audience, even though The Hunger Games trilogy may be the first of her works to really take off with an adult audience as well. Collins has worked on shows like “Clarissa Explains it all” and “Clifford’s Puppy Days” and also wrote the five-part series “The Underland Chronicles.”