After almost quitting the business, fate plays its hand and Latarsha Rose is offered an opportunity she can't refuse: a role in The Hunger Games.
Latarsha Rose plays the stylist Portia in The Hunger Games, a film that could turn out to be the biggest blockbuster of the year. This is heady stuff for an actress who had previously worked only in theater, commercials, and television shows like Bones, Law and Order and CSI.
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Rose attended Georgetown University where she was bitten by the acting bug and landed her first off, off Broadway role right out of school. From there she went on to work in several more theatrical productions, and was chosen to be a part of Bravo TV’s It Factor, a show that followed twelve New York actors as they tried to make it in the entertainment business.
After twelve years of working in the business, the ups and downs started getting to her. “I was ready to retire from the theatrical pursuit of my career,” Rose told me during a recent phone conversation. “Then I got the [Hunger Games] call.” Her agent’s assistant clued Rose in to what The Hunger Games was all about. “She was a huge fan of the series and she was really trying to convince me to go read for the part. So I did. I got to read about ten pages of the novel before I went in for my appointment and I was blown away right away. I was immersed in the story right off the bat. I made the decision that I would stay the path. Getting the call helped me have a re-commitment. It just sort of electrified me.”
Rose’s character Portia is the fashion partner to Cinna (played by Lenny Kravitz). It’s a small but crucial role. “Cinna’s responsible for (female tribute) Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Portia’s responsible for [male tribute] Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). Our job is preparing them to present to the Capitol so that they can acquire their fanbase and their audience.”
She was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the actors she got to work with and was excited by the fact that the film was a period piece. “I’ve always dreamed of being able to put on a fabulous wardrobe and makeup and hair, and totally transform. [It’s been a] dream job to have that opportunity.”
Developing an affinity for her character was easy. “I really was excited about the opportunity to play someone who’s a fashionista in the future. It’s quite an effort to try to find [fashion] that “speaks” to you the person and reveals and represents who you are. Especially in our culture where how you dress and what you wear can tell part of your story. Yeah, I definitely was interested in finding a connection to Portia and exploring her world.”
The social message of the movie and scenes of young people fighting each other to the death are sure to spark controversy. How did she feel about the film’s subject matter? "I think it’s definitely a story that encourages us to look at the social inequalities and the class distinctions which are presented in the story. I think it’s actually an important tale because it gives us a look into what could happen if we don’t take on our personal responsibilities as citizens and taking ownership for how we see the world and how we treat one other.”
Since the film is sure to break box office records and be a boon to the careers of all involved, I wondered if she was prepared for this kind of change in her life. Her response was surprising in its thoughtfulness and honesty. “You don’t know until you’re there in the moment. I’m really just looking at this like this has been a great opportunity. I’m trying to take it in and be in the moment and let it be what it is. I don’t want to put a lot of pressure on the experience or opportunity. I have no control over what happens. I’m a part of the ride. I’m a part of the ensemble of the world. I’m just holding on and riding the wave.”
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