New HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Image; Director Francis Lawrence Talks Changes from the Book and Adding “New Elements”

     August 18, 2014

hunger-games-mockingjay-part-1-image

One of the best surprises of last year, for me at least, was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  I wasn’t particularly high on the fact that Francis Lawrence was taking over as the director of the franchise, and I assumed the films would now take on a more commercialized, standard-studio-fare sheen.  It turns I was very, very wrong, as Catching Fire actually opened up the themes of the series, deepened the characters, and delivered one of most exciting cliffhanger endings a franchise film has seen in some time.  Lionsgate has now released a new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 image featuring star Jennifer Lawrence from the first half of the conclusion to this series, and along with the image come some interesting comments from Francis Lawrence about how the franchise will be wrapping up.

Lawrence says that while Mockingjay – Part 1 has a tonal shift from the previous films, there won’t be any major book changes.  Instead, Lawrence and his creative team have actually come up with a number of “new elements” to add to the film.  Hit the jump to check out the new image and to see what Lawrence has to say about alterations made to Mockingjay – Part 1 and how he approached splitting the final book into two films.

the-hunger-games-mockingjay-part-1-jennifer-lawrenceSpeaking with EW, Lawrence says Mockingjay – Part 1 widens the scope of the franchise:

“There’s definitely some battles. There’s some of the first glimpses of real war in this movie. And the scale gets quite big. There’s an atonal shift from some of the last movies, but they’re still very emotional, very sweeping, [on a] grand scale with some levity and humor.”

Mockingjay is regarded by most to be the weakest book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, so I’ve been very curious to see how the story will be translated to the screen.  Apparently (and unfortunately) there won’t be any major changes from the novel, but there are some significant additions:

“Instead of changing the plot and changing characters what we did was have the opportunity to show scenes that could have been happening at different times in the book. For us it’s world expansion instead of changing things. I think it’s exciting for the fan to see certain things. So we’ve been able to open the world up in this and see some new places. We get to see some new districts this time and the scope gets quite large.”

the-hunger-games-mockingjay-part-1-philip-seymour-hoffman-julianne-mooreOne specific example of expansion is the role of President Alma Coin, played by Julianne Moore, which is more extensive in the film than in the book:

“What’s interesting is although she’s a huge character in Mockingjay the book, there’s actually very little of her in it. There’s more of her in this than in the book and because of that, there’s some development.”

Lawrence wouldn’t reveal where the split between Mockinjgay – Part 1 and Mockingjay – Part 2 will be, adding “That’s going to be one of the really good surprises,” but he did say the films will be two different, “very distinct” stories.  While Mockinjay may be my least favorite book in the series, thanks to the pleasant surprise of Catching Fire I’m really looking forward to seeing how Lawrence concludes this series on film.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens in theaters on November 21st.

the-hunger-games-mockingjay-part-1-poster

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