Hunger Games As the fran­chise reaches its cli­max, Nick Setch­field dis­cov­ers how it’s go­ing out with a bang

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents -

Kat­niss is about to fire her fi­nal arrow – we draw the bow.

his is the war movie,” de­clares Fran­cis Lawrence, em­phat­i­cally. “This is Kat­niss’s re­venge movie.”

Lawrence is now a cin­e­matic com­bat vet­eran. His tour of duty? Di­rect­ing no fewer than three con­sec­u­tive films in the Hunger Games saga, a jug­ger­naut fran­chise that has, to date, hauled in more than $ 2.2 bil­lion at the global box of­fice. He may have spent the last three and a half years on the dystopian front­line but there’s no trace of shell­shock when SFX catches up with him in Los An­ge­les. Then again it’s hard to have shell­shock in the gilded en­vi­rons of the Bev­erly Hills Four Sea­sons. We’re in the home of the Hol­ly­wood power brunch to talk Mockingjay Part 2, the film that caps the chron­i­cles of the Girl on Fire and her strug­gle against the op­pres­sive regime of the Capi­tol.

Ev­ery­one’s call­ing it the end of an era, nat­u­rally. But Lawrence is feel­ing more prag­matic than re­flec­tive to­day. “I’m happy to get it done,” he shares, af­fa­bly. “A lit­tle sad that it’s go­ing to be over. I have a few more weeks. We’re still work­ing on ef­fects shots and colour and sound but the cut’s locked.”

Lit by the blaze and rage of war, the fi­nal film in the se­ries con­cludes the adap­ta­tion of Suzanne Collins’s tril­ogy- wrap­ping novel, split into two movies. “I don’t know how to do this book as a whole in one movie,” Lawrence ar­gues. “I just don’t think you can. You’d lit­er­ally have to ex­cise one whole por­tion of the book.”

So how do the two halves fit to­gether? “It’s not quite a seam­less join,” the helmer re­veals. “If we were just to slam the two movies to­gether it would feel like some­thing was miss­ing – not any­thing sub­stan­tial but a tran­si­tional piece. When you see the movie you’ll see that we jump right in. This one is much more Kat­niss- cen­tric and it’s much more faith­ful to the book. We re­ally made the book.”

Mockingjay Part 2 sees the na­tion of Panem fi­nally tipped into bloody revo­lu­tion. Teamed with a guilt- haunted Gale ( Liam Hemsworth) and an un­sta­ble Peeta ( Josh Hutch­er­son), bow- both­er­ing in­sur­rec­tionary Kat­niss Everdeen – Jen­nifer Lawrence, ce­ment­ing her sta­tus as the al­pha fe­male star of planet Earth – leads a des­per­ate mis­sion into the very heart of Pres­i­dent Snow’s tyranny. Ex­pect in­ge­niously wicked death traps, hard moral choices and some psy­cho­log­i­cally fraught sto­ry­telling.

out in the open

“Vis­ually it’s dif­fer­ent be­cause it’s a very dif­fer­ent story,” shares Lawrence. “The last one takes place un­der­ground and Kat­niss is side­lined. There’s a lot less ac­tion and it’s dark and claus­tro­pho­bic. This one’s very dif­fer­ent. Very quickly we’re out of Dis­trict 13 and in Dis­trict 2. And we spend a lot of time in the Capi­tol. That gives a dif­fer­ent foun­da­tion for vis­ual choices that opens the film up in a much big­ger way. It’s much more epic.

“I think it’s also much more sim­i­lar tonally to the first two movies. The war in this movie is es­sen­tially an arena. There are def­i­nitely shared themes through­out the en­tire se­ries. This is the movie where all of the themes co­a­lesce. The last one was about pro­pa­ganda and the media and the ma­nip­u­la­tion of im­agery. Those as­pects and the con­se­quences of war and vi­o­lence all come to­gether here.”

When you see the movie you’ll see that we jump right in

The team- build­ing away days were get­ting more in­tense. These re­bel­lions don’t just plan them­selves, you know.

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