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Dayo Okeniyi is possibly one of the funniest people I have met. He spoke to Fear Net. Did you know that there was a District 11 reaping scene?
So we hear The Hunger Games was your first major audition and you landed the part?
Well the year before , I moved up to LA and I definitely got some audition experience because I was submitting myself before I had representation. Auditioning is a skill and technique and you have to learn how to audition. I think I went on about 50 billion auditions for little independent projects and non-union stuff and all those auditions led to me being able to audition for Debra Zane for The Hunger Games. When I actually signed with my current managers, that was the first real audition that I went on for something real.
Were you hyper prepared for the read?
It was super secretive. I couldn’t tell anybody about, not even my parents. I went in and read and it was just one page. I tell you, my roommate and I went to the same college together and is also an actor so he was the only person I told and we must have read that one page 50 to 100 times. It was like five lines but I practiced it in every possible way. So I felt very confident going into the audition. Also my managers sent me in because they know Debra Zane very well and they just wanted to see how I did in the room. But it led to me getting the role and I’m very aware that it doesn’t happen for people like that. I kind of have survivor’s guilt. [Laugh]
When did you meet Gary Ross and did he give you any specific notes on what he wanted to see from Thresh?
I read about four times in the room and honestly it was just, “Ok, great. We’ll get back to you.” It wasn’t like I gave a Sean Penn performance or anything but I felt strongly about it. I never got a call back but every time I talked to my manager about different projects The Hunger Games kept coming back. Finally they said Gary Ross liked my tape. Then we got word that they wanted me to come in and do a test screening at Gary Ross’ house. It got pushed and I got a call it had been cancelled and that Gary just went ahead and cast me. So I only read for the role once. It was so surreal.
For the rest of the interview, CLICK HERE.
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