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Friday
Mar112016

Director Francis Lawrence, Makeup Artists Ve Neill, Nikoletta Skarlatos and Glenn Hetrick on Mockingjay Part 2

David Poland sat down with Mockingjay Part 2 director Francis Lawrence and makeup artists Ve Neill, Nikoletta Skarlatos and Glenn Hetrick to discuss the film ahead of its release on Digital HD (see where to get it HERE). 

The result is a video trio of wonderful behind the scenes tidbits and a great laugh attack by Ve and Nikoletta! I was laughing right along with them. Adorable! The interview with Francis is especially heartening to us major fans of both the book and the films. He talks about his desire to "make the books" and remain true to Suzanne Collins' themes at the potential loss of box office returns. 

Friday
Mar112016

“Seven Hours’ Worth of Movies Over Three Years”: Francis Lawrence on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

Filmmaker Magazine sat down with Mockingjay Part 2 director Francis Lawrence the day before the movie hit VOD and asked him to reflect on the whirlwind experience of the past few years. The result is a really interesting and insightful read for any Hunger Games fan. Here are some of the highlights:

Filmmaker: Let’s go back to your initial involvement with theHunger Games series. How aware of the books and first film were you when you came on board?

Francis Lawrence: I was very aware of the books – I had read and really enjoyed them, and I had just seen the movie. I was in New York shooting a pilot for a television show that didn’t get picked up, and my assistant and I went to see the movie on my birthday in 2012. While we were in post I got the call that Gary wasn’t coming back, so I reread the books —

Filmmaker: What did you respond to at that point, and did it change over the course of directing three films?

Lawrence: It never changed. The thing that made me want to do the movies is that I saw the first Hunger Games as a sort of stand-alone genre or exploitation movie – something you might find in the ’70s. But in the grand scheme of all the books there was something thematic about the consequences of war and violence, and the second story, Catching Fire, was where that started to blossom; the world was opening up, and those themes and ideas rose to the surface before reaching their full potential in the final movie. That’s what drew me in, and it’s what I talked about when I first met with the producers. Luckily, everyone was on the same page and wanted to truly make the books without making them more “fun,” which I think a lot of people might have wanted to try with a project like this.       

Filmmaker: What were those initial conversations with the producers like? Did you feel a lot of pressure to live up to what had been established with the first film, given that it was hugely successful?

Lawrence: Quite honestly, I never felt any pressure from the producers or the studio – I was very upfront and frank with them about what my approach to the movies was going to be, and they embraced all of those ideas and changes. The biggest pressure came on Catching Fire, and the pressure was that I was the new guy for the fans. Here are these people who love the books, who loved that first movie, and suddenly I’m there and they don’t know what I’m going to do. Hoping that they were going to like my take on these stories was really stressful, especially given the timing; originally I signed on for one movie, and in prep they asked me to stay for the next two. I said yes, and then realized that Catching Fire was going to come out after we had been shooting the Mockingjay movies for about five weeks – which meant there was still nine or ten months of shooting left. So there was a moment where I thought, if Catching Fire bombs, or gets panned, how am I going to show up on set? I was hoping people would accept Catching Fire just so I could make it through the shoot! Luckily, the world was happy with the movie and that gave the cast and crew a great energy going into the final two movies.

Filmmaker: Speaking of the cast, you inherited most of them from the previous film. I presume they already had pretty strong ideas about their characters, so what was your role in terms of helping them shape their performances? And how did you put them at ease with you after they had started the series with another director?

Lawrence: Certain people did have firm ideas about the characters, but there was still the journey those characters take, which changes from movie to movie. So my approach was to talk about each particular story and what was different about it – the character of Effie (Elizabeth Banks), for example, goes through very different things in Catching Fire from what she experienced in the first Hunger Games, so that gave Elizabeth and I a lot of ideas and material to discuss.

To answer your second question, when I got the job and started prepping I called all the actors and started meeting with them. I chatted with Jennifer while she was in Prague shooting, and then when she got back to LA we had breakfast together and had a great conversation. Elizabeth and I got together, Josh and I got together, Liam…everyone welcomed me fairly quickly, and I was thrilled because I was inheriting a lot of great actors. The only one who was a little tricky was Woody [Harrelson], who is very loyal but takes longer to warm up. I think he was uneasy with the situation of having a director thrust upon him; he had signed on to do these movies with Gary and suddenly Gary left. He was feeling disoriented and wanted some time with me, so I flew to New York where he was doing a play and we hung out and talked about the character until he was more comfortable. Everyone else got on board right away, which was a nice surprise.

Filmmaker: You’ve got such different levels of acting experience here, from newcomers who literally grew up on set to veterans like Donald Sutherland. Do you have to modify your approach to suit each individual performer?

Lawrence: Yes, but not because of experience but just because each actor has a different approach. Julianne [Moore] comes in with very specific ideas and doesn’t need to talk about it that much, but she’s happy to talk a little bit, especially about blocking; Jen is very instinctual and hates to rehearse but needs to discuss her emotional arc ahead of time. On the other hand, Philip Seymour Hoffman loved to rehearse and talk about it and grind away at the character.

Filmmaker: Did that create problems when you had one actor, like Jennifer Lawrence, who hated rehearsal, and another, like Hoffman, who loved it?

Lawrence: No, because this group was really good…with the wrong people you would definitely have that kind of problem, but it wasn’t the case here. Jenn hates to rehearse, but she would do it with Phil because she loved him and respected him. She wasn’t going to deny him.

Filmmaker: Getting back to the idea of what a massive, all-consuming endeavor this has been…now that you’re literally at the final stage of the process, putting the last movie out on Blu-ray and VOD, have you had any time to decompress and reflect on what the experience has meant to you?

Lawrence: It’s a long process – I don’t think there’s any one moment when you figure that out. There’s a lot of processing that one does when a movie is released; it’s a very vulnerable time for a filmmaker when the movie’s out there and everyone starts sharing their opinions, good or bad. You’re reading reviews and watching box office numbers come in and all that, and you start to think about this object that you’ve made and what it means to you and what it means to other people and what you could have done differently and how it’s perceived in the world…and was it worth it? That’s the strongest point of self reflection, the moment of release – there’s probably a thirty to sixty-day window when you’re thinking about it constantly. But I still think about it a lot. It was an unbelievably fulfilling experience for me doing three movies of this size so close together, directing basically seven hours’ worth of movie over three years and working with a story that I really believed in, with a cast and crew that had massive filmmaking talent and were wonderful people to be in the trenches with – you’re lucky in your career if those things can come together on one movie, let alone three.   

Read more at FilmmakerMagazine.com

Wednesday
Mar092016

New Extended Cut of a Katniss & Gale Scene From The Hunger Games

Gale Hawthorne and Liam Hemsworth fans rejoice! Here's an extended cut of a scene from The Hunger Games with Gale and Katniss talking about The Reaping. We get a little more of their conversation in the meadow than we saw in the original theatrical release. This clip is georestricted to U.S., unfortunately! Check out our friends at QuarterQuell for a non-restricted version of the clip if you're outside the US.  

The clip is apart of the bonus features in The Hunger Games Complete 4 Film Collection. You can get the collection on digital HD NOW, but some of the Bonus Features are only available on the DVD And Blu-Ray versions of the Collection. See the bottom of our post HERE for details on the digital download, and the end of the post HERE for where to buy the DVD/Blu-Ray on March 22nd -  with a list of all the special features included. 

 

 

Tuesday
Mar082016

Happy 'Mockingjay Part 2' Digital Release Day! 

It's time tributes! You can now watch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and special features in digital HD. Here's where to get it!

iTunes

HD - Theatrical film plus iTunes Extras $19.99:

Purchasing in HD on iTunes gets you the film, plus over 5 hours of special features in HD, including the “Pawns No More: Making The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2” 8-part documentary – an in-depth look at the making of the film from production design, costumes, hair, make-up, stunts, special effects and post production. The documentary also includes a touching piece – from the last day of shooting – in which the cast reflects on their experience over the entire series. Also included is a detailed look at Cinna’s sketchbook and a walk through the on-set photography along with audio commentary by director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson. Details:

“Pawns No More: Making The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2” 8-Part Documentary

  • Walking Through Fire (Concluding the Saga)
  • Real or Not Real (Visual Design)
  • High-Value Targets (The Acting Ensemble)
  • From Head to Toe (Costume, Make-up & Hair)
  • Navigating the Minefield (Production in Atlanta, Paris & Berlin)
  • Collateral Damage (Stunts, Special Effects & Weapons)
  • Tightening the Noose (The Post-Production Process)
  • A Different World (Reflections)

The Hunger Games: A Photographic Journey

Cinna’s Sketchbook: Secrets of the Mockingjay Armor

Panem on Display: The Hunger Games: The Exhibition

SD (film only) $14.99

Amazon 

Amazon has a "Bonus Features" edition for $19.99 which includes all of the features above. 

Film only: SD $14.99

VUDU

HDX & HD $19.99

Includes the HD bonus features above (like iTunes)

PLUS The Hunger Games: The Phenomenon, an extended 13-minute look back at the previous three films in the franchise and a new look at Mockingjay Part 2, featuring both new behind-the-scenes clips and brand new film footage. This previously aired across NBC TV channels back in November.

*** It also includes a featurette called Picturing Panem. A "never-before-seen" featurette from the bonus features of The Hunger Games: The Complete 4-Film Collection. 

SD $14.99 (film only)

XBOX

Includes the HD bonus features above (like iTunes) $19.99

The film only, without the bonus features, is also available to stream/download at the following outlets:

MGo

CinemaNow

Google Play 

The Hunger Games: The Complete 4-Film Collection is also available as of today at most of the retailers above, BUT is just the 4 films bundled together and does not have the same bonus features as the Blu-Ray will have.

EXCEPT for on VUDU! Their Complete 4-Film Collection Bundle ($39.99) looks to include most of the bonus features you'll find on the DVD & Blu-Ray. The only bonus features we're not seeing listed are the never-before-seen deleted scenes that are supposed to be coming (12 from The Hunger Games and 1 from Catching Fire). We'll update this as we learn more. 

The movie arrives on DVD/Blu-Ray on March 22. For what you'll find on each platform and where to buy the DVD and Blu-Ray, see our post HERE

Enjoy your movie day!!

Special thanks to Whitney for confirming the Amazon bonus features and Quarter Quell for the XBox ones!!

 

Tuesday
Mar082016

New Clips From the 'Mockingjay Part 2' Bonus Features

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is finally available TODAY on Digital HD platforms (and March 22 on Blu-ray/DVD)! To celebrate, Lionsgate has been releasing some exclusive clips from the bonus features to different websites over the last couple of weeks. (See more here and here). 

KidzWorld has this clip on Katniss' special effects makeup featuring interviews with make-up supervisor Ve Neill and special effects make-up guru Glenn Hetrick.

Fangirlish posted this clip with Francis Lawrence talking about Suzanne Collins' Role in The Hunger Games films. Plus a little snippet of Josh Hutcherson, which is always a plus! 

Fandango MovieClips has a featurette called Significance of The Hunger Games featuring Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci on how meaningingful the books and movies are worldwide:

Where should you purchase your digital copy of Mockingjay Part 2 today? See our buying guide here

Sunday
Mar062016

Newly Redesigned Cover Art for The Hunger Games Films

Check out the gorgeous, newly redesigned cover art for all 4 of The Hunger Games films from the iTunes store. 


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 will be available Tuesday, March 8th on iTunes Digital HD and March 22 on Blu-ray/DVD.

Find out everything you need to know about the home entertainment release of Mockingjay Part 2 and The Hunger Games: The Complete Four Film Collection - including what's on each format and where to buy -  in our post here 

Thanks to QuarterQuell for the tip! 

Friday
Mar042016

Never-Before-Seen Extended Cut of the President Snow & Seneca Crane Scene from The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games: The Complete 4-Film Collection arrives on Digital HD on Tuesday, March 8th and Blu-ray on March 22. We're starting to get advance sneak peeks of some of the deleted scenes that will be included (see another deleted scene featuring Katniss and Peeta HERE).  

Check out a never-before-seen extended cut of the President Snow and Seneca Crane scene from The Hunger Games:

Check out another The Hunger Games extended scene of Katniss and Peeta in the training center from MTV News here until we can post an embeddable version. 

Check out everything you need to know about the The Hunger Games: The Four Film Collection in our post here (scroll down to the end the post for the lowdown).

Friday
Mar042016

More New Behind-The-Scenes Clips From The 'Mockingjay Part 2' Bonus Features

Image via Buzzfeed

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 will be available Tuesday, March 8th on Digital HD platforms and March 22 on Blu-ray/DVD! To celebrate, Lionsgate has been releasing some exclusive clips from the bonus features to select websites this week. (See more here). 

Access Hollywood released a great clip with Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Willow Shields and Julianne Moore talking about the cast saying goodbye to The Hunger Games:

Images via Buzzfeed

Buzzfeed released a clip featuring interviews with Jennifer Lawrence​, Josh Hutcherson​ and Willow Shields​ talking about Josh's transformation into Hijacked Peeta​:

Parade released this clip featuring Francis Lawrence, Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik explaining why they split Mockingjay into 2 films:

USA Today Released a clip featuring Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth, plus Production Designer Phil Messina discussing how they created the bombed-out Capitol sets. 

Check out everything you need to know about the The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2  and The Hunger Games: The Four Film Collection home entertainment releases - including what's on each format and where to buy -  in our post here