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OTRC: Elizabeth Banks on stalking her part in 'The Hunger Games'

Elizabeth Banks talks about 'Hunger Games,' in an interview provided by the studio. (Lionsgate)

Elizabeth Banks said she stalked producers to score the role of Effie in 'The Hunger Games' after reading the books.

"I just love Effie. She's a lovable villain and it's very hard to find those and be fun and have as much fun as I did," Banks told OnTheRedCarpet.com at the film's premiere. "I was a huge fan of the books and of Suzanne Collins - the creator of this entire pandemonium."

The film is based on a novel by Suzanne Collins and hit theaters on March 23, 2012. The "Hunger Games" are part of an annual televised event put on by the government, in which a boy and a girl from each district fight to the death. Jennifer Lawrence plays heroine Katniss Everdeen while Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth portray her love interests.

"I read the book right when it was published and immediately fell in love and then I heard, because of course I thought, this has to be a movie, and then I heard that Nina Jacobson, who's a producer extraordinaire, already had the rights and that they were going to be sold to Lionsgate," Banks said in an interview provided by the studio."

"I called everyone I knew the minute I knew that they were making a movie of it," Banks continued. "And then Gary [Ross] and I worked together on 'Seabiscuit' and so when he got the directing job, I just sent him a little email like, 'Just so you know, I'll totally play Effie ha ha ha!' Then Gary went through his process and a long time later, after we had a couple more conversations, here we are."

Banks is known for her roles in films like "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin." Though "The Hunger Games" is a bit heavier than most of Banks' previous roles, she has some comedic opportunities with the role.

"Frankly, Effie is very much my personality too, she's the comic relief in a lot of ways, she's a very flamboyant person, but she's also, I think, she's very scared, she's very in-tune with the pressure going on around her and she's someone who travels to the district, so she's someone who sees first-hand exactly what's going on, whereas I think most of the capital citizens live in bliss," Banks explained. "I think she's very knowledgeable that at any moment, as much as the lives of these kids are at stake, her lifestyle is at stake as well."

It was announced in April 2011 that Banks would portray Effie Trinket, a "pink-haired showbiz type" who becomes Everdeen's handler.

Lawrence, who portrays Everdeen, was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the film "The Winter's Bone." She recently confessed that she is ill-prepared for the onslaught of attention she's received from "The Hunger Games."

"[Jennifer Lawrence] is just amazing, I think she's got a real vulnerability and depth to her that just pops out on-screen," Banks said of her co-star. "She's beautiful and you totally root for her. I mean, when we did the reaping scene, she literally brought tears to my eyes every take, she's just doing an amazing job, I think everybody's going to be thrilled."

Banks most recently appeared in "Our Idiot Brother," opposite Paul Rudd and Zooey Deschanel. She is also set to star alongside Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez and Anna Kendrick in "What to Expect When You're Expecting," which is slated for release on May 18.

"As an actor, any time that we can make a highly-entertaining movie that's also extremely thought-provoking, that's just a win all the way around," Banks said. "That's why I do this job and that's what 'The Hunger Games' is all about."

Banks and husband Max Handelman recently welcomed a son, Felix, who was born to a gestational surrogate mother. Banks said she had battled fertility problems.

Additional reporting by George Pennacchio of KABC Television, parent company of OnTheRedCarpet.com that also produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet"(check for local TV listings).

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