Director Francis Lawrence Ponders THE HUNGER GAMES Past MOCKINGJAY – PART 2; Reveals How They Handled Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Remaining Scenes

     October 28, 2014

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It’s hard to let a good franchise perish.  Thankfully, the Harry Potter saga has come to a close but we’re going to continue into the Wizarding World with a completely separate story, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which will be a trilogy starting in 2016.  However, J.K. Rowling drew out a whole world with her books while The Hunger Games is really about a group of revolutionaries, and you certainly wouldn’t want to trudge around a totalitarian setting with no prospect for change.  And if you set it after Mockingjay – Part 2, then Katniss continues to loom over everything as opposed to Fantastic Beasts, which is set in America 70 years before Harry Potter.

So how would someone continue The Hunger Games series past Mockingjay – Part 2, which is due out next year?  Director Francis Lawrence pondered that question, and didn’t have a clear-cut answer.  Hit the jump for what he had to say, and also to learn how they handled the scenes they had yet to shoot when Philip Seymour Hoffman died.

the-hunger-games-mockingjay-part-1-katniss-posterSpeaking to Empire, Lawrence compared Hunger Games to Harry Potter, and why it’s not as simple to continue Hunger Games past the conclusion of Katniss’ story:

“It’s a tough thing. It’s a weird thing,” says Lawrence. “That world of Harry Potter, there’s a lot to that world that you can explain. You can understand the appeal of telling another story, but can you actually do it without Harry, Hermione and those characters? Will people care as much? And I guess you can say the same thing about the Hunger Games world. There are a lot of past games and a lot of this world, but without Katniss, is it the same? Part of what I like about the series is the connection to things we think about and talk about now. What’s the new version of that? That would be the tricky thing.”

I’m glad he doesn’t dismiss it out of hand, but he’s right that it’s tricky since anything before Katniss’ revolution would be a downer.  “Hey, more kids died and the balance of power remains undisturbed!  Thanks for coming out to the moving pictures!”

Lawrence had a more concrete answer when it came to how they handled Philip Seymour Hoffman’s remaining scenes.  Earlier this year, we reported that Hoffman had one major scene left to film, and they might go with using digital effects.  Lawrence wisely avoided going that route:

“He had two substantial scenes left and the rest were appearances in other scenes. We had no intention of trying to fake a performance, so we rewrote those scenes to give to other actors… The rest we just didn’t have him appear in those scenes. There’s no digital manipulation or CG fabrication of any kind.”

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