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I have heard it it was mentioned that President Snow from The Hunger Games is supposed to represent Donald Trump by the production or cast. Is this true? Why is this? How do President Snow and President Trump resemble each other?

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    I'm assuming you only mean the last film, seeing that Trump's bid for the presidency only started in June 2015? – Walt Nov 25 '16 at 21:11
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    Allegories generally come after... The book were written years ago so I'm not really sure how this could be the case. – Catija Nov 25 '16 at 21:12
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    @Catija I'm assuming cde meant the films, seeing that this is asked on M&TV and he wrote 'by the production or cast'. – Walt Nov 25 '16 at 21:13
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    @walt so does President Coin represent Hilary? ;) – cde Nov 25 '16 at 21:17
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    @Walt That would imply that the characterization was significantly different between the books and the films... and I don't really think it was. – Catija Nov 25 '16 at 21:17
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Did the cast or crew say that President Snow is supposed to represent Donald Trump?

Jennifer Lawrence and her costars for Mockingjay, Part 2 did have a conversation with Entertainment Weekly where they talked negatively about Donald Trump, with Lawrence saying that “If Donald Trump becomes president, that will be the end of the world.” Her costars had similar sentiments.

However, I cannot find any evidence that she or any other cast or crew compared Trump to the series' President Snow (although that didn't stop plenty of media outlets from making the comparison). Given the lack of evidence, I am going to assume that no cast or crew member compared President Snow with Donald Trump during the creation of The Hunger Games film series.

In contrast, actor Donald Sutherland, who played President Snow, said in 2012 that the districts' struggle against the Capitol and his rule was like the Occupy Wall Street movement (although he just noted the similarities, rather than saying the movement inspired the books or films). He hoped that the movie would inspire others to continue that sort of struggle in reality.

This script came and it seemed to me that it was a game changer. That it had the possibility, if it were properly done, to catalyze, motivate, mobilize a generation of young people who were, in my opinion, by and large dormant in the political process. You have Occupy Wall Street and all that, but it has a limited base or it seems to have a limited base. And I hoped and I felt that this could maybe spread out across the country. I dont care what they do, just so long as they stand up and do something so that they identify the political situation that were in. I was thrilled at that possibility.

Sutherland reiterated this view in a 2015 interview for Mockingjay, Part 2, explicitly stating that the struggle is an allegory for profiteering, especially in war:

And if there is any question as to what it's an allegory for, I will tell you. It is the powers that be in the United States of America. It's profiteers, wars for profit. It's not to save the world for democracy or for king and country. No, bullshit. It's for the profit of the top 10%. And the young people who will see this film must recognize that in the future, blind faith in their leaders, as Bruce Springsteen said, will get you dead.

So we don't have any record of a cast or crew saying that President Snow is like Donald Trump, but we do have a record of the actor who played Snow saying that he is like the people Occupy Wall Street is protesting against and is an allegory for government profiteering.

Could the books have been influenced by Donald Trump?

The Hunger Games movie and its sequels are very similar to the books they are based on, including its portrayal of President Snow. The three books were published in 2008, 2009, and 2010 respectively. Donald Trump launched his 2016 Presidential campaign on June 16, 2015, so it was over 5 years after the release of the final book. Donald Trump seriously considered running for President in 2012, but decided against it, so that couldn't have been an inspiration either.

Donald Trump did run for president in 2000 as a candidate for the Reform Party (a third party) but withdrew after only four months. Given that most Americans aren't even aware that Donald Trump ran for president at this time and he didn't have a big impact, I can't see this being an inspiration.

So why do people say they seem so similar?

This certainly isn't the first time that movies have been compared to modern politics. News outlets compared The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers to the September 11th attacks on the Twin Towers of New York, despite the fact that the novel was written nearly 50 years before.

News outlets also suggested that Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith was an allegory to the George W. Bush presidency and the War in Iraq. While it's a different franchise, I think that George Lucas' response is relevant to this sort of discussion:

The prequel trilogy is based on a back-story outline Lucas created in the mid-1970s for the original three "Star Wars" movies, so the themes percolated out of the Vietnam War and the Nixon-Watergate era, he said.

So Lucas established that the prequel trilogy was at least influenced by the events of the 1970s. He did note that there were similarities, not only to the 2000s, but also Ancient Rome and Napoleonic France. These themes repeat throughout history.

"You sort of see these recurring themes where a democracy turns itself into a dictatorship, and it always seems to happen kind of in the same way, with the same kinds of issues, and threats from the outside, needing more control. A democratic body, a senate, not being able to function properly because everybody's squabbling, there's corruption."

It is my personal opinion that the same thing is happening here: there have been many leaders throughout history who have been of a similar archetype to President Snow, and there will likely be many in the future as well. If Donald Trump meets this archetype, it's likely a repeating theme.

Could President Snow have been based on anyone else?

The man's full name is "Coriolanus Snow", so he is most likely inspired by the titular character in Shakespeare's Coriolanus. From Wikipedia:

Coriolanus is the name given to a Roman general after his more than adequate military success against various uprisings challenging the government of Rome. Following this success, Coriolanus becomes active in politics and seeks political leadership. His temperament is unsuited for popular leadership and he is quickly deposed, whereupon he aligns himself to set matters straight according to his own [selfish] will. The alliances he forges to accomplish his own will result in his ultimate downfall and death.

Both Coriolanus and Snow came to power through killing others (albeit in different ways: for Coriolanus, it was defeating Rome's enemies in battle and for Snow it was through assassination by poison). Like Shakespeare's Coriolanus, Snow had the support of the elite and control of the military, but his downfall is ultimately due to popular rebellion.* After trying to peacefully resolve the conflict each person created (in the books, Snow planned to have the Capitol officially surrender, but couldn't because he was captured), they are both killed for their crimes by their enemy they fought against.

Given the fact that Donald Trump was not considered a political figure when The Hunger Games novels were written and no cast member compared the two (and instead compared him and his rule to the targets of the Occupy Wall Street movement and said the movie was an allegory for government profiteering especially through war), it is far more likely that President Coriolanus Snow was inspired by other figures, particularly his Shakespearian namesake.


* This is the biggest difference I see between Coriolanus/President Snow and Donald Trump. Coriolanus has the support of the Roman army and the Senate, but lacks support from the common people. President Snow has the support of the Capitol and the military, but lacks support from the common people in District 12 and the other districts the protagonists come from. Donald Trump is usually presented as having popular support from working-class Americans, but lacks support from the political elite and upper class and does not come from a military background; the opposite of the other two.

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    While we don't know Snow's backstory before he become President Well, we do. Finnick and Coin and others tell us he gained power the same way he stayed president, through ruthlessness, backroom deals and poisoning. – cde Nov 25 '16 at 23:24
  • @cde Huh, I didn't remember that. I was using the Hunger Games wiki as a referesher and it doesn't say anything about that. Do you recall at what point that revelation was made? – Thunderforge Nov 25 '16 at 23:27
  • The speech at the end of Mockingjay, intercut with the rescue. youtube.com/watch?v=KxZsEfEjVdY – cde Nov 25 '16 at 23:42
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    +1 for "this isn't the first time movies have been compared to politics." I remember when everyone was up in arms about the "references to 9/11" in LotR just because the second movie was called "The Two Towers." But there was so much symbolism about war in LotR! Yeah, because it was originally written during and after World War II! Bottom line, people will see what they want to see when it comes to these sorts of comparisons. – Steve-O Nov 26 '16 at 0:10
  • ""You sort of see these recurring themes" - I think replacing that entire part of the asnwer and with a magic incantation of "campbell, campbell, campbell, achetype, archetype, archetype" would work just as well? :) It worked for Lucas after all :) – DVK Nov 26 '16 at 6:42
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I believe this has very little to do with Donald Trump. It is more in line with the Clinton and Obama era Trump is pulling the US and the world back from the brink of disaster. He has shown backbone against the Megalomaniacs in China, Russia, North Korea, and the Middle East

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