Francis Lawrence on the new instalment of The Hunger Games and how it tracks protagonist Katniss’ emotional status
t HAS been a roller coaster ride for director Francis Lawrence. After directing the first two films of the The Hunger Games franchise, he is back with the latest instalment, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1 (based on Suzanne Collins’2010 novel of the same name). From Los Angeles, the director of films I Am Legend and Water for Elephants, has also made several music videos with superstars like Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, and Sarah McLachlan. In this interview, Lawrence talks about the sudden demise of Philip Seymour Hoffman (who played Plutarch Heavensbee) during the making of the film, exploring the franchise beyond this final edition and Julianne Moore’s contribution to her role. More from the director:
How did the crew react to the sudden and tragic loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman?
It was really rough. We went dark. It happened on a Sunday, and we couldn’t get everybody together on Monday. We reorganised the schedule. We kind of eased everybody back into work. It was 10 degrees and miserable.
Julianne Moore plays President Coin and we hear, she helped you develop her character?
Julianne had a few ideas on how to play her character. There’s, I guess you would say, a warmth that you might not get from her in the book that Julianne wanted to bring.
We hear Katniss’ character has been altered slightly. How true is it?
We had already been shooting for about five weeks when Catching Fire released, and you could see and feel the reaction people had to the end of the movie. It affected our approach to her character. Although she is damaged, it’s about modulating the right kind of damage so you still have some of that fierce determination,
anger and suspicion.
What were Suzzane Collins (the author of the book) reaction to alterations for the big screen
She’s always up for the expansion, which is fun, and I think she gets a kick out of imagining things that are happening alongside the books.
How challenging was it to shoot Part 1 and 2 of Mockingjay
The efficiency of doing two movies back-to-back, even though it’s one long story, is that if you have built a set, you shoot the scenes for both movies on that set.
How does Mockingjay differ from the first two THG movies?
Catching Fire ratcheted up from The Hunger Games, and I’d say Mockingjay ratchets up from Catching Fire. We’re getting
closer to war. We’re not in
the Games anymore.
You think there’s a possibility of exploring Hunger Games as a franchise beyond the last part?
It’s a tough thing. It’s a weird thing. That world of Harry Potter, there’s a lot to that world that you can explain. You can understand the appeal of telling another story, but can you actually do it without Harry, Hermione and those characters? Will people care as much? And I guess you can say the same thing about
the Hunger Games world. There are a lot of past games and a lot
of this world, but without
Katniss, is it the same?
Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1 is scheduled to release on November 28.
— Team Indulge