Jennifer Lawrence, Julianne Moore, Donald Sutherland and more attend The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Press Conference
It’s safe to say that emotions were running wild as these actors that we have come to love and know so well over the last 4 years took their seats. Recently, young adult fiction has consumed cinema as we know it and The Hunger Games is undoubtedly the most successful of them all. Returning for one last farewell as the epic conclusion to this dystopian tale hits cinemas later this month, the cast and crew were here in full force to speak about their experiences being part of such a successful franchise.
Interviewed by Radio 1’s Edith Bowman, loud applause flooded everyone’s ears as they eagerly waited in anticipation to hear the thoughts of everyone involved in such a popular series. Bowen starts the conference off with a question we were all dying to ask to Natalie Dormer who plays the spectacularly feisty tattooed rebel that is Cressida; ‘How did it feel to direct Jennifer Lawrence?’ As Dormer quickly replies with, ‘Really f-ing cool’ laughter bounced off all four walls. She continued to say ‘Francis was really great. He said if you want to tell Jen to move, stop, and start her then feel free. Which was very gracious of him and freeing for me as I was just pretending to stare at a monitor a lot…Jen was great too’. Miss Everdeen herself adds; ‘She was a great director too’.
It was then that it dawned on Bowman and indeed everyone there that we were in fact in the same room as President Snow. The oh-so-talented and charming Donald Sutherland donning a poppy for obvious reasons, rather than the white rose we are all so familiar with. After being asked a question and admittedly not being able to hear anything in the conference room, Lawrence kindly relayed the question being asked before Sutherland gave the most compelling answer of the morning. This a bleak and dark take on young adult fiction and as one member of the audience asked, ’What does it say about our current time?’ Donald’s voice echoed with, ‘It’s necessary. It’s the bleakest of times. I don’t think it’s bleak, I think it’s optimistic to be truthful. These times are bleak and this is an allegory of this time. It’s an effort of Suzanne Collins and everyone working on this film to inform young people, to categorize within them some political action that will challenge the status quo. We have wars, failed uprisings and a climate that is destroying the world – the only people that can change it, are young people or we are all dead. It’s up to you guys’. Such powerful words from such a politically astute man and quite rightly so, as Dormer points out, Francis has made a film that lacks in sentimentality and it’s not sugarcoated like Hollywood. To use Sutherland’s words, a necessity for what this franchise and indeed Collins stands for.
Jennifer Lawrence is very much the face of The Hunger Games, she is the Mockingjay and of course everyone wanted to get their quote from her. As Bowman asks her ‘What surprised you the most, apart from dating Donald of course about being part of this journey?’ you could practically hear the pens at the ready to take down her answer. ‘I was 20 when I signed on to this. It’s a long road, I thought to myself you are going to have moments of regret, but it’s the right thing to do. I am going to be 25 when this is over and what surprised me the most is how upset I was when I wrapped – so sad to go – I never had a moment of regret and generally loved being a part and never looked back’. Asked what her favorite moment was the first thing to come out of her mouth was ‘Oh god, it’s so hard! Josh and I always wanted to say Hawaii for Catching Fire, because it’s…Hawaii, but the whole group wasn’t there. It wasn’t as fun. Berlin, we had a great time, staying on the same floor in the same apartment, no one locked their doors. Woody woke me up one morning and I still had my mouth guard in. Josh and Liam got in a tug of war with their mouths that went on for 15 minutes!’
Getting back to the seriousness of this last installment, Co-star Josh Hutcherson is asked about his transformation as Peeta and the journey he took as an actor to make such a drastic change; ‘When I read the books, that’s what I loved about Peeta so much, the arch he has to go on, being from a trustworthy character than everyone can depend upon to this really twisted almost bi-polar on the edge kind of character. We spoke about what might have happened to him in the Capitol, the tortures he endured and when you think in that way, it just kind of became part of the character’. Another character that changes so much is Gale, played by Liam Hemsworth. As Liam commented, ‘He’s lost it, he’s gone too far’, these words couldn’t be truer and it becomes a very emotional goodbye for Gale and Katiness in the end.
Sitting next to Lawrence was Oscar winner Julianne Moore, the callus President Coin in this 2 part-er. Coin is such an interesting character, her intentions appear pure only to be thrown off kilter in the latter parts of the story. Moore expressed her love for the books and stated that her and the director, ‘talked about how to illustrate someone that is a true revolutionary and speaks to the people, she wants change. She becomes corrupt by power and revenge. Which is so interesting and wonderful to have in a character. This is a very personal journey for her, how does she figure out what’s right from wrong – I loved doing it…It makes you see how politically disillusioned you can be, oh it’s that way, not that way’. Tucked on the end was Nina Jacobson, the franchises producer and she added that, ‘Julianne brought a lot of her own ideas to Coin. From the beginning her ideas formed how we constructed the character, she became a more realised and dynamic character which Suzanne Collins was thrilled about’. Francis Lawrence continues, ‘We always knew the challenges we were dealing with, a complicated job… We lost an actor and had plenty of emotional times in the making of this – the adaptation was great.’
Throughout this series Woody Harrelson’s alcoholic Haymitch has well and truly stuck by Katiness and Peeta. Asked about, his motivation for sticking around with them the answer was simple; ‘Initially, I get to know them and I know they are going to die and eventually I fall in love with them, so I want to help them in this terrible world we live in – be a mentor. At the same time, I had this awareness there was going to be a revolution, they had it coming’. An answer with serious undertones, but one cannot fault the natural humor that comes to this man and this came across unmistakably throughout the conference. Sam Claflin who plays Finnick, also delivered some laughs and smiles and explained how tough it all was to end these characters they have brought so vividly to life. Talking about extensive training and spending lots of time in claustrophobe places but it was painfully obvious that these actors enjoyed every last minute of it and Sam will certainly miss his trident!
In between mistakenly referring to Woody Harrelson as Woody Allen (which he later went on to say was a compliment) and Claflin and Hemsworth expressing a loathing for that old sewer scene (spoilers alert) ‘It’s all I can think about…blood, sweat and tears’, it is truly a sad moment to see this epic conclusion unravel before one’s eyes. Bowman hits the nail on the head when she says, Ceaser Flickerman needs his own spin off show, which Stanley Tucci is more than up for doing and he needs his own clothing range for sure! To round up, Natalie Dormer exaggerated that this franchise has ‘well and truly re-written what can be commercially viable and it’s long over-due’. This has such powerful messages not only to young people and Mockingjay part 2 gives it the sinister tale it deserves. As Nina concludes, ‘It’s down to us to keep on inspiring, to raise the bar and don’t patronize – do it justice’.
Fantastic energy along with some insightful and moving answers from all cast and crew. The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 hits theatres on Thursday 19th November 2015.
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART 2 HITS CINEMAS ON NOVEMBER 19