When the YA adaptation The Hunger Games opened in theaters last March to record-breaking box office, Lionsgate understandably was ready to movie quickly on feature film adaptations of Suzanne Collins’ two book sequels, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Director Gary Ross deserves a sizable amount of the credit for the first film’s success, but he wasn’t keen on rushing right into the next film without ample time to work on the script. As such, Ross opted not to return as director, and Lionsgate quickly started the search for a replacement. The studio subsequently settled on Water for Elephants and I Am Legend filmmaker Francis Lawrence, who signed on and got to work prepping The Hunger Games: Catching Fire straight away.
Not only is Lawrence currently gearing up for next month’s release of Catching Fire, but he’s already in production on the two-film finale The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. Many have wondered what changes Lawrence may have made to the series with Catching Fire, and now the filmmaker has spoken up to address some of the issues he had with Ross’ first film. Hit the jump to read on.
With The Hunger Games, Gary Ross took great care to approach the film not only as a potential blockbuster, but also as a character-driven piece that took Collins’ social commentary seriously. Ross shot the entire film handheld to give it a real-world feel, and felt very strongly that the Capitol, its inhabitants, and the games themselves should not be glamorized in any way. The result was a different kind of franchise film than Hollywood was used to, and it paid off in spades.
“No! [Laughs.] No shaky cam. I think a lot of people will be happy to hear that.”
Lawrence also added that he has decided to focus more on the love story between Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss, Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta, and Liam Hemsworth’s Gale this time around:
“I felt the love story in general was, um, a bit buried in the first one. I wanted to bring the love story to the surface. And when I say love story, I mean the triangle.”
Catching Fire has thus far looked very promising in the trailers that we’ve seen, but it’s a tad disappointing to hear Lawrence talk about wanting to up the romance and ditch the real-world camera style in favor of something more commercially appetizing. Obviously the romance is a big part of the books, but so is rebellion and a politically conscious populace, so hopefully The Hunger Games doesn’t devolve into something more akin to Twilight in these next few films.