“Mockingjay” hopes to meet high expectations


Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss in “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.” (Internet Photo)

Lauren Streitmatter, Staff Writer

Expectations are high for the soon-to-be-released movie “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.”  The movie features many of the same actors who appeared in the first two films in the trilogy, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, which were adapted from the first books of Suzanne Collins’ trilogy.

After deciding “Mockingjay” would be too long for one movie, producers decided to divide it into two parts; the second, which has already started filming, is scheduled to come out on November 20, 2015.  However, the director of both parts, Francis Lawrence is not revealing where in the plot he divides the movie.

Part 1 was filmed in many different locations, including Atlanta, Georgia, Paris, and Germany.  The actors are pleased that Lawrence, who also directed “Catching Fire,” is directing both parts of “Mockingjay.”

According to Woody Harrelson, who plays Haymitch, a former winner of the games from District 12, Lawrence has a comprehensive directing style.

In an interview with MTV news, he says, “I like the way Francis is very thorough, very on top of everything. I really feel great,” Harrelson said of Lawrence’s direction.

One significant difference between “Mockingjay” and the earlier movies is that there are no actual Hunger Games, a ”game” in which 24 teenagers selected from the 12 districts are put into an arena and have to fight to the death.  Instead, the story focuses on the conflict between the rising rebellion in District 13 and the Capitol.  Even between the two parts of “Mockingjay,” Lawrence says they will have “two, very distinct stories.”

The actors in “Mockingjay” had to read the books to get to know their characters and to learn their relationships with other characters in the novels.  Some of the actors have had to change how they portray their roles to keep up with how the characters have evolved throughout the books.

Francis Lawrence says that because Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence, has “gone through the games one more time and having lost Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and having been run through the wringer, she’s even more damaged. So you find her in a more agitated place. She’s distraught, confused, angry,” Lawrence said.

The late Philip Seymour Hoffman, who played Plutarch Heavensbee, had finished filming his parts before his death.  A Lionsgate executive said the performance is a tribute to his career.  In an interview with screenrant.com, he says, “We’re all extraordinarily sad. But as it relates to production, it’s going to have no impact. Obviously, we’re going to have a couple of work-around issues but the movie will be creatively whole” the executive said.  “His performances in both [remaining] movies will be up to the best of his craft. We feel it will be a good tribute to him.”

Boxoffice.com predicts the film will make $155 million dollars for the opening weekend alone, and $393 million total.  These are predictions similar to what the two earlier films made; The Hunger Games made $152.5 million the first weekend.  “Mockingjay Part 1” will thrill fans and please audiences all over the globe.