On Thursday afternoon, following their panel in Hall H, the cast of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 sat down for a press conference to talk about the much anticipated conclusion to the franchise. Joined by director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson, the stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, and Willow Shields discussed important elements of the fourth installment and expressed their feelings about putting the franchise to rest.
Among the topics, the cast talked about the film’s focus on war, their character’s journey, and Lawrence touched on the pressures of landing a leading female role in Hollywood. The cast had some playful insights as well, with Lawrence sharing her experience of meeting Bill Murray for the first time. As usual, her compelling charisma was in full force, reinforcing all the reasons why she’s so beloved by fans everywhere.
Lawrence hopes that the film’s focus on war and its casualties, inspires young audiences to really think. Hutcherson added that the film not only deals with the consequences of war but also the efforts that were made to avoid it and ultimately led them on that path. It’s kind of a cautionary tale for the events going on in our world today.
- If you think the cast will miss each other now that the films are done, Lawrence assured that she is so close to her cast mates that missing them will not be an issue. “We’re best friends. We still see each other all the time.” Hutcherson for his part, said he will miss acting with Lawrence, “I think it’s because she acts so crazy and genuine that people around her aren’t afraid to be themselves.” He said, complementing his costar.
- Hemsworth called the end of the franchise, “extremely emotional.” He further explained, “We’re all pretty lucky to have made such good friends and share a special experience. I think about the person I was then and the person I am now. All of us have grown up so much,” he concluded, referring to the films as a very special time of his life.
- On growing up in front of the public eye and keeping a good image for fans, Hemsworth stated that the industry sort of forces you to do that. “We all care about setting a good example and being good role models. It’s something you get thrown into so quickly.”
When comparing the intensity of show business and Hollywood to The Hunger Games, Lawrence had a very honest answer. “There are people in Hollywood that are crazy characters just like in the Capitol,” she remarked. But Lawrence assured that the trio don’t really feel the pressure of Hollywood. “We’re just kind of always at Liam’s house in Malibu, drinking wine,” she joked.
- Francis Lawrence said the film focuses not only on the consequences of war but also the gray parts of it. “It’s never an easy decision whether a war is needed or not.” Jacobson added that once the story is disrupted, anything can happen and change becomes possible if people are brave enough to pursuit it. “During this revolution, who is in charge becomes enormously important to the outcome. It’s through defiance of the system that our characters can create change.”
- Lawrence had a fangirl moment with Bill Murray backstage and her excitement when asked about the encounter was clearly evident. “I’ve been a big fan of Bill Murray for a really long time. I sent emails to Woody, mostly when I was drunk, about things I always wanted to say to Bill Murray. So, he received them. The fact that Bill Murray knows that I exist was part one, part two was, he wanted to speak to me,” she admitted, covering her face and freaking out.
- During a fun moment, Lawrence continued her trend of talking about food by sharing with press what she’d had to eat. “I had a panini, some cheese and crackers, a wrap. I tried to grab french fries and this stern lady swatted my hand and said, ‘No!’” She then joked about not being talked to that way since the first movie came out, which made everyone in the room laugh.
Lawrence reflected back on her role, stating that Katniss was in survival mode at the beginning of her story. “Waking up in District 13 and losing Peeta changed things,” she said, “I believe that she grows into her position and takes control of her own destiny in the revolution.”
- When asked if she thought there were more opportunities for women to play lead roles, Lawrence had a hard time answering, admitting that sometimes she says things without thinking, “I’m starting this new thing. I’m trying to develop a filter. I’m working on it.” After careful consideration of her wording, Lawrence focused on the issue of weight and leading roles for women. She believes that the problem with actresses and weight is less common once you get to a certain place. The struggle is for those actresses who are unknown and are just starting out, “There’s a lot of pressure. I feel like I’m not at a place where I can complain or speak of not getting enough roles. I would be interested to hear from someone who’s not in two franchises answer that question.”