Behind the Scenes: Hair Secrets from "The Hunger Games"

Before you write off "The Hunger Games" as another teenage phenom, trust me when I say this film is nothing like the "Twilight" series. The heart-pounding action in this new series makes blood-sucking vampires look tame in comparison.

I would know -- I'm pretty much the biggest fan out there. I've re-read all of the books and watched every trailer they've released so far, like, 15 times, among other slightly stalkerish things. So when I got the chance to talk to Joico stylist and one of the hairstylists for the film, Cherry Petenbrink, I was beyond excited to find out even more about the film.

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Turns out, Petenbrink helped create the 700 colorful wigs and hairpieces used in the movie. She was able to give me the dirt on what happens behind the scenes during filming, including the outrageous amounts of hair dye used on all of the characters of The Capitol. (For those not in the know, The Capitol is where all of the rich and powerful people live.)

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In fact, I don't think you should watch the movie without knowing all these details first. Click here for the entire gallery of secrets, or keep reading for a sneak peek. And mark your calendars, because "The Hunger Games" comes out on March 23!

Secret no. 1: What the stars loved (and hated) about their hair

Petenbrink was asked to dye Lawrence's hair brown and Hutcherson's hair blonde right before filming started. But it had to be completely secret. The studio hadn't officially announced the cast at that point and if anyone saw the actors walking around with their new hair color, the jig would be up. "It was last minute and super confidential since they didn't want to spoil it with a paparrazi pic," Petenbrink says.

Petenbrink says after filming ended, Hutcherson came immediately to her to have his hair dyed back to brown. "He did not like being a blonde," she says. Lawrence, on the other hand, will likely be sticking with the brown until the shooting of the entire series ends.

Secret no. 2: The real reason extras were dyeing their hair

Petenbrink says they asked each extra for the scenes in the capitol if they'd be willing to dye their hair or if they'd rather wear a wig. She was shocked when more than 100 people volunteered to get everything from a lime green pompadour to magenta streaks. She later discovered why they'd done it. "A rumor started that the extras with 'real' hair were getting more camera time," she says.

Secret no. 3: What Effie's gorgeous wig was made out of

As you know from the books, Effie (played by Elizabeth Banks) wears a pink wig. To create this look, Petenbrink and the head hairstylist, Linda Flowers, used a wig with a mix of synthetic hair and human hair. The reason: synthetic hair would hold up better in the heat during filming in North Carolina, but unfortunately it can't be styled with hot tools. Human hair can be styled, obviously, but it'll also react to the humid weather.

In the end, the front of Banks' wig was human hair so it could be styled to pure craziness, while the back of the wig (and the main bulk) was fake hair. The real trick, and what took Petenbrink days of experimenting, was making the two different types of hair look exactly the same.

Secret no. 4: Why they had to style stars on the run

Something to keep in mind when you're watching the film and gawking at the elaborate capitol hairstyles: the stylists on set only had about 15 minutes to style each extra. So they were creating those elaborate updos, fitting wigs, and clipping in extensions in record time.

Secret no. 5: Keep an eye out for ...

Petenbrink's favorite look on the character of Octavia (played by Brooke Bundy). The book doesn't really describe her hair, so Flowers and Petenbrink were able to come up with their own interpretation of her look. They decided to go with a magenta and purple color scheme and multiple 'dos for the trendy stylist.

Secret no. 6: And pay attention to ...

Caesar Flickerman (played by Stanley Tucci) and his powder blue wig. Petenbrink says they ordered an extremely expensive (think thousands of dollars) hand-made wig custom fitted to his head. But when it arrived it wasn't the perfect shade of powder blue. So Petenbrink and three assistants had to alter the color -- extremely carefully.

"I couldn't get any dye on the base of the wig, since that would have made him look like he had a blue scalp, and I couldn't get any on the strands of hair we didn't want colored," she says. "I worked in very small sections, just washing things out in a little sink with three assistants for the entire day. Nothing could go wrong; it was the only wig they had for him and the shoot was starting soon. There wouldn't be time to get a new one if I messed up." Luckily, they got the job done.

Wondering where most of the filming took place? (Hint: it's haunted.) Click here to find out.

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