My goal was to fo­cus on the emo­tional im­pact, the emo­tional con­se­quences

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - The Hunger Games Mocking Jay Part 2 -

Vi­o­lence is the key word. Collins’ novel is a fa­mously bru­tal kiss- off to the world she cre­ated, a blood­bath un­afraid to take its read­ers, let alone its char­ac­ters, to the edge of trauma. Was Lawrence con­cerned about bring­ing that kind of car­nage to the screen? Or was he de­ter­mined not to flinch?

“I was both con­cerned and de­ter­mined not to flinch,” he ad­mits to SFX. “One of the big themes of this story is vi­o­lence – the ef­fects of vi­o­lence and the con­se­quences of it. These books are tar­geted at teenagers. Part of the rea­son they ap­pealed is that Suzanne didn’t flinch. And luck­ily peo­ple have em­braced it. You also don’t want to flinch. But you don’t want to get an R rat­ing and alien­ate all the teenagers that the books are meant for. My goal was not to fo­cus on the car­nage, on the blood­bath as­pect of it, but on the emo­tional im­pact, the emo­tional con­se­quences. We did the things that are in the book. It needs to have im­pact. That’s where you don’t want to flinch. You just don’t need to fetishise the blood and the car­nage and the gore.”

So he hasn’t gone full Tarantino, then? “No, def­i­nitely not!”

“We’ve been faith­ful from the be­gin­ning and we’re never go­ing to stop be­ing faith­ful,” in­sists Nina Jacobson, the pow­er­house pro­ducer be­hind the fran­chise. “It is the power of the se­ries that Suzanne doesn’t pull her punches at the end. You may not get ev­ery­thing you wanted… As a reader you’re taken on a very emo­tional jour­ney yet it feels deeply sat­is­fy­ing and com­plete as a story be­cause of the choices she’s made. We were never go­ing to pussy­foot around the sub­ject mat­ter, just as we haven’t from the be­gin­ning. That was al­ways the point of do­ing them – to fol­low her lead.”

LET ITS NOW

Cru­cially Mockingjay Part 2 brings us the fi­nal con­fronta­tion be­tween Kat­niss and Don­ald Suther­land’s silky despot Snow. It’s here that the film­mak­ers took li­cence to go be­yond Suzanne Collins’ words.

“The book has a scene where they get to­gether,” says Lawrence. “Of course we have that scene in the movie. But there was some de­vel­op­ment needed for the Snow char­ac­ter. So there are some scenes in the movie – scenes that I quite like, ac­tu­ally – that are not in the book. They’re the imag­ined scenes hap­pen­ing be­hind the scenes.

“It was fun to cre­ate the world of Snow as the Capi­tol crum­bles. It re­ally helps in terms of his mind­set. I thought a lot about Down­fall – sit­ting in the bunker and watch­ing Hitler fall apart. This is a very dif­fer­ent ver­sion of it, and there’s a lot less Snow than that, but we had an op­por­tu­nity that we got to play around with a lit­tle bit. And of course Kat­niss and her pres­ence be­comes a part of that story.”

Collins ended her saga on a dark, heartrend­ing note. Does the movie ver­sion em­brace that? Or do films have a duty to leave their au­di­ence in a hap­pier place when the exit lights come up?

“I’m pretty happy with the way this movie ends,” says Lawrence. “Yes, the book has a bleak end­ing. And we are mak­ing the book. But there’s a way of land­ing the movie where the sac­ri­fices that peo­ple have made should not be for noth­ing. And yet those peo­ple will for­ever be changed and dam­aged be­cause of what’s hap­pened. Ideally we’re land­ing in that zone.”

The world may be pre­par­ing to say farewell to Panem but you sus­pect Hol­ly­wood won’t easily re­lin­quish such a bank­able box of­fice brand. There are al­ready rum­blings of po­ten­tial se­quels, pre­quels and uni­verse ex­ten­sions.

“The truth is that for any of those sto­ries to re­ally hap­pen they would have to come from Suzanne,” says Lawrence. “I can’t speak for her but I think she’s in­ter­ested in other things right now, which I to­tally get. It’s been a huge chunk of her life. If she wanted to come back to this world and tell more sto­ries I’m sure they’d be great. Per­son­ally I think it would be tough to do these sto­ries and not have Kat­niss. Some movies you can keep go­ing based on the world and peo­ple will go and see them. I think peo­ple see these movies be­cause of Kat­niss. Could you just go back to some­body else’s games? I don’t know. It would take some real thought into what the sto­ries would have to be.”

Maybe Kat­niss Everdeen is the true legacy of these movies. A fire­brand whose real revo­lu­tion was prov­ing that fe­male- led ac­tion films could own the arena. As Nina Jacobson tells SFX, the Mockingjay is an icon whose time has come.

“Many of us have a long­ing for so­cial change and a no­tion that the sys­tem is bro­ken. This is a char­ac­ter who changes things with­out set­ting out to be a hero and I think that res­onates with peo­ple. A per­son who acts from her gut and ends up chang­ing the world is some­thing that I think peo­ple as­pire to.”

“Well the sat- nav says we’ve reached our des­ti­na­tion…”

“Just be­cause I’m dressed like a flamingo doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take my ad­vice.”

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