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