Director Francis Lawrence Talks about the Death of Philip Seymour Hoffman

In a recent report from USA Today, director Francis Lawrence has finally broken his silence in the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman (Feb. 2, 2014), who held a very important role in Mockingjay movies. 
Philip Seymour Hoffman (L) with co-star Woody Harelsson
director Francis Lawrence

“It was obviously very rough for all of us,” Lawrence tells USA TODAY. “He was a friend. He was an amazing actor, an iconic actor. He was someone I really looked up to.”
“We shut down for a day to give people time to deal with the sudden shock of it all. And to try and sort of figure things out a little bit,” says Lawrence.
“We as a cast and crew definitely honored him,” says Lawrence. “We gathered everyone together and had a big moment for him. We still think about him every day. It’s hard not to imagine him being here.”
“It’s something so sudden, so shocking,” Lawrence adds.
Lawrence says Hoffman was “mostly finished” with his work on the Mockingjay set.
“There was very, very little that was left,” says Lawrence. “Even if (Hoffman) had a number of days left, most of those moments were appearances in other scenes. Most of his dialogue was done.”
Clearly, working with the loss of the key character will lead to some continued difficulties.
“We’re still figuring some of that out,” says Lawrence.

Director Francis Lawrence Reveals How He Got Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch and other Cast in Catching Fire

Watch the video below (from MTV) or read the transcript about how director Francis Lawrence was able to convince award winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman on board The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as head gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee. Director Francis also talked about casting Johanna, Beetee, 

“We came up with the idea for Phil pretty early on,” Lawrence said. “He was the biggest role to cast and the most important role for the entire series if you think in terms of new additions. He was the first one we went after, but he was in the middle of ‘Death of a Salesman’ and wasn’t really interested in entertaining anything until he was kind of done and wrapped with that.”

“We did a fair amount of invention with him and [President] Snow [Donald Sutherland], so these are scenes that could possibly have happened in the background,” Lawrence said. “They’re not deviations, they’re additions to the book. Because it’s an antagonist-driven story, it was really important to see the scenes between Snow and Plutarch and to see the two of them kind of plotting and maneuvering.”

Video of the Facebook Live Chat of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Cast

For those who missed the Facebook Live and Tumblr chat of our favorite Catching Fire cast, see the videos below:

Facebook Live Chat with Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and director Francis Lawrence https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10100818016909353

Global Fan Day photos (Instagram, Tumblr, Yahoo, and Google Plus) – https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.790145041002149.1073741838.159746560708670&type=1

Director Francis Lawrences Talks Love Triangle and CGI Effects in Catching Fire

In an interview with New York magazine, director Francis Lawrence opened up about the love triangle, shaky cam, and CGI effects of Catching Fire. Find out below:

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.

Empire Magazine Features The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Lead actress Jennifer Lawrence and director Francis Lawrence were featured in the November 2013 issue of Empire Magazine. Read the excerpt from their interview below:

Jennifer on fame:

It’s hard to say you identify with someone who’s facing life and death and war,” she shared. “It’s not like, ‘Oh my God that’s, like, totally how I feel’.

“But there is the connection in that she doesn’t feel like just part of the town anymore. Now everyone treats her as a celebrity… Whereas she still feels like she’s part of them.”
 
“I get that a lot,” she admitted. “I’ll go to get a coffee where I always get coffee and all of a sudden there’s this weird mood, and I’m like, ‘Come on, I still get coffee here, just say hello’.”

Director Francis on the changes he made for Catching Fire

“I thought there was a real opportunity to open up the world … I didn’t get enough of a sense of place in the first movie. I thought we could grow visually because we were seeing more of the Districts, the Capitol and the whole arena.”

Jennifer on bringing on Francis

“I was consulted about who the new director would be, yes … but I’m not delusional. I’m sure that if I’d said I absolutely hated Francis they’d have hired him anyway… Fortunately I think Francis is the smartest decision any studio has ever made.”

Francis on the cast

“This cast all work incredibly hard … but if you had a scene with Jennifer, Josh and Woody Harrelson then it was pretty much a disaster. They would not keep a straight face.”

Jennifer on not getting bored playing Katniss

“I still love playing Katniss and am really looking forward to being her again. There’s honestly no part of it that I’m bored with…” she pauses for a second and then adds, mock-furiously, “Actually that’s not true. I am so bored with her braid. I keep asking, ‘Cant I just wear my hair differently?’ But they keep saying no.”

Director Francis Lawrence Reveals Changes for Catching Fire

In a recent interview with EW, director Francis Lawrence has revealed some changes that were made for the film adaptation of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Despite the changes, he said that the movie will still remain true to the book.

1) “We made some changes to Peeta’s narrative,” says Lawrence. “We manned him up a little. And by the way it didn’t take a lot, just little choices to make here and there. The story doesn’t really change, his relationship with Katniss doesn’t change, he’s just a different kind of character.” For instance, in the book, the Hunger Games kicks off and Peeta is paralyzed when the other all-star tributes dive into the water. “The option is for either me drowning or sitting there like a cat batting my paw into the water,” says Josh Hutcherson with a laugh. “Either way the visual is horrible.” Easy fix: Let Peeta swim.
2) Goodbye Bonnie and Twill. In the book, Katniss stumbles upon the District 8 refugees in her father’s hunting cabin. There they reveal to a stunned Katniss the existence of District 13 and news of the spreading revolution our hero unintentionally sparked with her act of rebellion at the end of The Hunger Games. So the movie had to find a new way to introduce the news of District 13. “That’s fun,” says Lawrence, “figuring out new ways around things and new ways of doing things.”
3) Darius, we hardly know ye. District 12′s youngest peacekeeper, who pays dearly for intervening during that terrible scene of Gale’s public whipping, didn’t make the jump from page to screen. It’s another instance of storytellers having to drown one of their kittens. “It’s as agonizing for us to lose things from the book as it is for a fan,” says producer Nina Jacobson. “I want every single thing in there. But you know what? If you have to give up something in order to give more time to Katniss and Gale or to Effie as she starts to feel a conscience, you make the sacrifices in order to serve the characters and themes that are more essential.”

Cannes Film Fest Photos of the Cast of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Our favorite cast of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss), Liam Hemsworth (Gale), and Sam Claflin (Finnick) were at the Cannes Film Festival. They were joined by director Francis Lawrence for the event. Take a look at the photos below – from the red carpet to the after party. I don’t own any of these photos.