Part of what makes The Hunger Games so fascinating is that it has been able to capture the world by storm through its stories about love, friendship, and political allegory. There are also some pretty thrilling action sequences that make for an exciting read. So now these trilogy of books have been transformed into film. Directed by Francis Lawrence, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is part two of The Hunger Games trilogy, which finds Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mallark (Josh Hutcherson) forecd to participate in 75th Hunger Games or the Third Quarter Quell, a special kind of game which gathers from a pool of previous winners from all the districts into one game. Think of it as a Hall Of Fame game. The two will have to contend with previous victors like Finnick Odnair (Sam Caflin) and Johanna Mason (Jena Malone),who have the brawns to overpower and kill; and older and less imposing winners like Beetee (Jeffery Wright) and Wiress (Amanda Plummer) who use their brains to take out the enemy.
While the press day could have been just another day at the office, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire press conference proved to be anything but. There were a lot of things that were said during the film’s press conference, but these are the top ten things that we learned about The Hunger Games: Catching Fire during the press event.
10. Newcomers, Jena Malone and Sam Caflin, bring different and dangerous skills to the arena in the sequel, skills and techniques that Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson‘s characters never have experienced in the first film. Malone said that her character “doesn’t sugar coat,” and that “she is hardcore and truthful and violent and angry.” She added “I don’t think that’s like a badass thing, I think it’s a survival technique. That’s a really interesting thing for young women to talk about and understand. That they can take on tools and personality traits that may not be their own but they can use them in forms of survival – to elevate in the world.” On Finnick, Calflin said “He’s described as a God, I suppose. I embraced the challenge. Even though there was a fair bit of negativity when I was cast, my goal is to topsy-turvy the world.”
9. During the press conference, we learned who had the best bladder. Liam Hemsworth had to respond to a call of nature that required him to take a bathroom break in the middle of the press conference. Lawrence jokingly chided Hemsworth, saying ““I knew it! I feel like his mother sometimes. I saw that empty orange juice container and thought, ‘he’s gotta pee!’” To add insult to injury Banks chimed with “My two-and-a-half-year-old can hold it longer than you.”
8. On using their star power to change the world, Lawrence said:
“So many wonderful things can come from this, when you have a voice, saying the right things. It takes me 10 minutes to sign a hundred posters that can raise thousands of dollars for charity, and it’s so simple.”
7. Director Francis Lawrence took over directorial duties, replacing the film’s first director Gary Ross. So He and producer Nina Jacobson addressed some of those differences, and what we would see in Mockingjay. In regards to what he though of Ross’ vision, Lawrence thought he did a great job, in fact he brought the same production designer to work on the sequel. “I wanted to make sure of was that there was still an aesthetic unity to all the movies. I thought Gary did an amazing job with the world-building in The Hunger Games, so we worked with the same production designer to make sure that it was still all built from the same architecture, that District 12 still almost had the same 1930s Appalachian feel” said Lawrence. “We’re going to do the same with Mockingjay. The fun thing about Mockingjay is that we actually get to see the Capitol in a very new way. We’ll actually be down in sort of the middle of the streets of the Capitol which will be fantastic. But we worked with the production design team to make sure there was an aesthetic unity all the way through,” he added.
“I think the heart of these movies is Katniss’ point of view, and we remained firmly in her shoes,” Jacobson chimed. “I think that’s what will always be the consistency throughout because she’s a complex character, she changes but she sort of grounds us throughout the series.” Jacobson added, “this movie opened up a lot of new opportunities for us because we spent so much more time in the Capitol and we have an arena which is itself the opponent as opposed to the characters being each other’s opponents.” The producer then praised Lawrence’s work saying that he stayed “very true to what was that character based emotionally honest approach that the first movie took.”
6. Jacobson then talked about how she wanted the film to raise questions and ask the audience what if this happened to you. Not in the sense of the events of the book, but in a sense of how an audience would react to a similar scenario. “We try to ask ourselves really how would you be affected by these events if they happened to you? Not if they happened to you in the book, not if they happened to you in the movie, but if they actually happened to you.” said Richarson, “subsequently you see the effects on them as human beings, the way that humans are effected by violence and by war.”
5. Lawrence also talked about how much fun it was to figure out how the adapt the more difficult and complex portions of the book. “I knew very early on that the arena in this was a place that would have to be really figured out,” the director said. It’s a place that doesn’t exist anywhere in the world and so we were going to have to build part of it and shoot in different parts of different locations. We ended up building the island and the cornucopia in Atlanta and unfortunately in 40 degree water.” He added “I always take those kind of moments in filmmaking as a really fun challenge.”
4. When talking about one of the more difficult stunts in the film, Lawrence misspoke and talked about how she would wear “morning sickness” bracelets to prevent her from her sickness getting worse. “We had a real spinning cornucopia that was going about thirty miles per hour and Jena and I both had our morning sickness bracelets on.” Realizing what she had actually said, Hutcherson came to the rescue to ask, “Morning sickness or motion sickness?” And embarrassed Lawrence said, “Oh… And that’s what my publicist is going to be dealing with…MOTION SICKNESS.”
3. The political allegory in Catching Fire is more prevalent than it was the first film. Lawrence shared her thoughts on that and how the novel has helped shaped the political views of young minds. “I think it’s a wonderful message to show just how powerful one voice can be. It’s very easy as a society for us to just kind of follow the feet in front of us, and history does repeat itself – and I think that it’s an important message for our younger generation to see how important they are in shaping our society and our future.”
2. Proving that YA novels are just more than teenage fans yelling and screaming, but also words of inspiration, Jennifer Lawrence talked about one particular extra, who was covered in scars after being burned, and how the books helped her gain the courage to go return to school. “On the first movie, there was a girl who was an extra, and she was covered in scars – she had been burned. And she came up to me and said that she was too self-conscious to go to school when she was younger. And then when she read ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Catching Fire,’ she was proud of her scars and her friends called her the ‘girl on fire.’ As she continued, you could start to see the tears welling in Lawrence’s eyes. She added, “I remember crying and calling my mom – I can’t really still remember the story without tearing up. And I said to my mom ‘I kind of get it.'”
1. Catching Fire was practically in the middle of production after Lawrence had won the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook. As you can imagine, winning one of Hollywood’s most prestigious awards your fellow cast members aren’t going to make things any easier on the set. “When I saw everyone on set the next day, everybody was like ‘Hey, how are you? Nothing? Okay.’ It actually made me a target from somebody… Woody.” She added “every time I’d mess up my line, he’d say, ‘Oh better give that Oscar back.'”
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens in theaters on November 22.