1. Hunger Games Returns: Better CGI, a Steamier Love Triangle
Francis Lawrence—director of the forthcoming Catching Fire, the second installment of the Hunger Games series (out November 22)—on taking over a juggernaut and appeasing its rabid fan base.
A few popular YA books have struggled recently as film adaptations, like Mortal Instruments and Beautiful Creatures. Why does Hunger Games work?
Author Suzanne Collins was raised in a military family, so she grew up learning about the consequences of war. Even though it’s sort of an alternate world, it’s still relatable.
You have all these pedigree actors coming in, from Philip Seymour Hoffman in Catching Fire to Julianne Moore in Mockingjay. You could have had no-name actors, and the fans would have accepted that.
If you can have Philip Seymour Hoffman, get Philip Seymour Hoffman! And he loved the books, so he signed on. Same with Jeffrey Wright. Same with Julianne. If you can just get those amazing actors, then that’s 80 percent of my job.
Does Jennifer Lawrence still do the karate-running? She hated how she looked running before.
She said she always made this stupid face when she ran, and I had to specifically watch out to make sure she didn’t. So I was always checking. I would tell her, “You made the stupid face!”
Will you be using the shaky cam, like in the first movie?
No! [Laughs.] No shaky cam. I think a lot of people will be happy to hear that.
The first film skimped a little on showing us the strategy behind the Katniss-Peeta love story.
I felt the same. 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.
Will this one have better CGI?
Uh, yeah. I think the effects are phenomenal. If you know the book, there’s a monkey-mutt attack, and Weta, who did Rise of the Planet of the Apes and King Kong, did the monkeys for us.
Is Peeta [Josh Hutcherson] still going to be the shortest person onscreen?
[Laughs.] No. No, he’s not.
It’s fine, actors can step on boxes.
[Laughs.] He and Jen get much closer in height when she’s in flats, which is a good thing. You throw her in some heels, and it’s all over.