With the onslaught of new stills, interviews and posters, you would be forgiven for having glanced over some of the finer points of the Filmmaker Roundtable with director Francis Lawrence, producer Nina Jacobson and screenwriter Peter Craig. The biggest/most relieving news you’ve already heard about: Effie will be back in a bigger role than the book and only actual footage of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman will be edited in to the finished product, without the aid of digital recreation. A few other snippets may have passed you by:
1. Mockingjay will be bigger, much bigger, like “gigantic.”
After the spinning cornucopia, crashing tidal waves, dozens of digital monkeys and collapsing arenas, it’s hard to see how Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2 could get even bigger. Apparently it can. Francis Lawrence explains that we’ll see new locations we have never come across, as war spreads through the Capitol with “really large action sequences.” We’re told of expansive claustrophobic and shadowy sets in Atlanta, that you have to crouch to walk through, that span almost 15,000 feet and towering staircases stretching 60 feet. Sounds like impressive production design to me.
One of the bombs sent to District 13 (at least that’s what it sounds like) has created a crater about the size of a basketball court filled with “truckloads” of gravel, concrete and assorted rubble and topped with “thousands of freshly cut roses.” Oooh chills! “It really is a gigantic movie.” – Francis Lawrence.
2. With screenwriter, Peter Craig… wait, what?
So, in case you were unaware, another screenwriter has hopped on board after Danny Strong’s “earlier” scripts for both parts. Peter Craig is an author of two novels, The Martini Shot and Hot Plastic, has a sole screenwriting credit for Ben Affleck’s The Town (2010) and is son of actress Sally Field. He is a steady presence on set and continued collaborator with Francis Lawrence, focusing on character and finding interesting ways to keep the story Katniss-centric with scenes parallel to her in the rest of Panem.
We get a little insight into where Katniss is emotionally and where she is headed, as she “takes on this new identity outside of the arena… with the weight of her world on her back.” Sounds as though they’ve nailed it from the book once again and we’ll be getting another ace performance from Jennifer Lawrence to add to the movie library. Peter Craig also gave an intriguing hint as to how Julianne Moore is approaching Coin, who says “Julianne has done an amazing job with helping to shape the character of Coin.” (We got a nifty gif of Coin standing in front of a mic too!)
Despite Philip Seymour Hoffman tragically passing away before he had completed filming, it sounds as though the essence of Plutarch will be untouched:
4. Are you, are you coming to the tree?
Hang on, that is absolutely worth repeating again: “Francis and Peter came up with an incredible way of turning a powerful moment in the book into great big cinema.” Holy Finnick! What did they do?! Montage? Epic cross cutting? Show-stopping musical-dance number? OK maybe not that one. I bet it’s cross cut with another harrowing scene. Ah I can’t wait! We all knew the “We Burn, You Burn With Us” line was always going to be a hair-raising moment ever since we first read it. But I am so intrigued to discover what they’ve got planned for ‘The Hanging Tree.’ Cannot wait!
5. The theme of Part 1
Nina is still keeping tight lipped about the details of the moment Part 1 ends and Part 2 begins. But from this answer we get a nice glimpse of how the first half will work as a standalone film before the blowout of Part 2. A hurt and bereft Katniss has to decide who she is going to be in this rebellion.
Of course the entire interview is certainly worth a read so head over to the new Hunger Games Exclusives site to check it out.