Study Guide

The Hunger Games Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci)

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Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci)

Caesar Flickerman is played by a set of gleaming capped teeth wearing Stanley Tucci.

This is by design. There's no game-show host so phony, no talk-show diva so over-the-top, no television personality so perfectly able to distract people from the real problem as Flickerman.

Caesar's a combination of Oprah Winfrey, Howard Cosell, and Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister who perfected the phrase "lie big and lie often". Caesar's the guy who comes on TV to make sure everyone hears that lie from a friendly guy.

We rarely see Caesar when there aren't cameras on him, so it's hard to tell who the real guy is. But watch how his smile rises and falls when he first steps into the spotlight: how fake and plastic it looks. He speaks like a commercial spokesman, and all of his emotions are exaggerated for the camera.

That's how he is all the time. There's nothing authentic or genuine about him. He's a living mannequin designed to be propped up in front of the camera, give the ruling authority someone friendly and smiling to get the masses to turn off their brains. He'll basically parrot every little bit of propaganda placed in front of his telegenic nose.

"But he seems like such a nice guy!" we can hear some people saying. And sure, he seems like a semi-decent sort… no worse than, say, Effie for example.

But it's precisely because he seems so nice that makes him so dangerous. Think about it: this is a guy who interviews 24 young people as if they were the biggest stars in the world, never mentioning that 23 of them are going to be killed in the next few days.

And oh yeah, who's going to be doing the play-by-play on all of that? Right. This grinning weasel.

CAESAR: And what did you say to her in the end?

KATNISS: I told her that I would try to win. That I would try to win for her.

CAESAR: Of course you did. And try you will.

That's cold-blooded, man.

But that's Caesar's job. Not only must he to the Tributes—making them feel special and loved as they're dolled up before their near-certain executions—but he sets the whole of Panem at ease by assuring them that this is all necessary and normal. "Forget how hungry you are or how few rights you have. Just be sure to root for your favorite Tribute as they battle each other to the death!" It's a slick trick and Caesar pulls it off with the best: an object demonstration of why the nice man on television may not be so nice after all.

Not that there's anyone in the real world who does the same thing…

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