Nobody can ever say Donald Sutherland doesn’t have a darkly delicious sense of humour.
At 79 years old, the revered Canadian actor provided the showstopper moment of Sunday night’s Teen Choice Awards airing live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Wedged in between teen acts like Magic and Demi Lovato, the tuxedo-clad Sutherland came to the event to collect the choice movie villain award for his portrayal of President Coriolanus Snow, the tyrannical leader who rules Panem with an iron fist in the Hunger Games movie franchise.
Sutherland came onstage to accept the dubious distinction with a black satchel and a sly expression on his face.
“You named me the most villainous?” Sutherland said to the raucous crowd of young attendees. “My wife – I have been married for 42 years – my wife asked me to tell you that she agreed with you …”
“I on the other hand, do not,” continued Sutherland. “I think, on the contrary, that I am very nice. Sweet-tempered and generous – so generous in fact that I have brought you souvenirs from Panem!”
At which point Sutherland reached into the satchel and began throwing handfuls of small red objects into the audience.
“They’re berries!” said Sutherland joyfully. “I wouldn’t eat them if I were you!”
As fans of The Hunger Games know, poison berries – or nightlock berries – factor prominently into the storyline.
In the climactic scene of the first movie, the central heroine of Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are declared Hunger Game victors after they threaten to commit mutual suicide by consuming poison berries.
But on this occasion, the berries (or reasonable facsimiles) were being tossed with abandon by a gleeful Sutherland, who blew a kiss, took a small bow and then departed by throwing his white corsage into the audience.
And perhaps the most amazing part: Watching the Teen Choice attendees in the front row scrambling to pick the berries up, which were presumed to not really be of the poisonous variety.
May the odds be ever in your favour.