Mar 26, 2012 6:00 AM by AP
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - A Lafayette actor is gaining lots of attention for his role as Peacekeeper No. 3 in the blockbuster film "The Hunger Games," which opened in theaters Friday.
The Daily Advertiser reports that although the role is the smallest one he's taken in the past year and a half, Judd Lormand says it's definitely getting huge attention because of the popularity of the film.
"I'm the one that's walking Jennifer - Katniss - and Peeta," Lormand said. "There's three of us that walk them up."
The reaping scene is one of the first ones in the film, and although it only lasts a few minutes, it was a large project that took two weeks to produce.
Lormand had heard of Suzanne Collins' trilogy "The Hunger Games" and understood that the movie he was auditioning for had the same name, but he originally hadn't put two and two together.
"When (my wife) found out about my audition, she started reading the books and finished them immediately. She was like, 'This is awesome!' She is super excited," Lormand said.
Although Lormand's toddler is too young for the books, many of his friends' children fall at the perfect age for the trilogy.
"Friends who have kids in middle or high school or whatever are just going crazy," Lormand said.
He first auditioned for the generic role of gamekeeper in Asheville, N.C., in April 2011. Lormand was called back in May and began filming in Shelby, N.C. in June for his role as a Peacekeeper, a disliked
For about two weeks, Lormand wore a 28-pound costume in 103-degree weather as producers shot the reaping scene of the movie.
Lormand had another scene with a speaking role that didn't make it into the final edit of the film, but he said he hopes it will be available in the extra scenes section of the DVD/Blu-ray release.
"As an actor, I know whenever I'm shooting, I know that this so easily could be cut," he said. "You know that they're going to shoot 30 hours of great footage for a three-hour movie."
Lormand had the opportunity to work with the movie's biggest stars - Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and Liam Hemsworth as Gale - and he had nothing but nice things to say about the experience.
"I'm sure that everyone will love hearing the fact that they were just really great to work with," Lormand said. "They were really friendly. They acted like stars. We were all there working together, and I have nothing but positive things to say about any of them. They all have bright futures."
During his time on set, Lormand forged a friendship with Paula Malcomson, who plays Katniss' mother in the film.
"We went to the premiere together. She's awesome, just an incredible, incredible actress and just a great friend," he said.
What impressed Lormand most of all were the children as extras at the reaping ceremony, which made up 99 percent of the scene's cast.
"These kids were so - they knew everything. You could just see that this was different because they had read the books," he said.
Although Lormand now lives in Baton Rouge with his wife and 13-month-old daughter, he spent most of his life in Acadiana.
Lormand first found his love for acting in Paul Breaux Middle School's Gifted and Talented program. He continued to nourish his talent by participating in speech and debate tournaments during his time at Comeaux High School, from which he graduated in 1991.
Lormand first pursued acting professionally in 2006 but found it too difficult to act and keep a full-time day job. After a three-year hiatus from acting, Lormand was able to pursue an acting career full-time in 2009 in Louisiana's blossoming movie industry, signing with Louisiana Ward Agency and later Lisa Lax Agency in Tennessee and Beal Talent & Associates in California.
Since then, he has had a variety of roles in big-name movies such as "Joyful Noise," TV series such as "Treme" and commercials for brands such as Robitussin. Yes, that is Lormand in the monkey cough syrup advertisement.