‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Director Talks Casting, No Shaky Cam & Love Triangles

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Hunger Games Catching Fire Katniss Flaming Poster Hunger Games: Catching Fire Director Talks Casting, No Shaky Cam & Love Triangles

The list of major blockbusters left to arrive in 2013 grows shorter and shorter with each passing weekend (especially, now that awards season is getting underway), but The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – the highly-anticipated followup to last year’s lucrative movie adaptation of author Suzanne Collins’ first Hunger Games novel – is one of the major titles remaining on that list.

Some things have changed for the franchise in the year and a half that has passed since co-writer/director Gary Ross’ Hunger Games film opened big in theaters, demonstrating that the success of the best-selling young adult books-turned movie franchise Twilight wasn’t just a fluke. Katniss Everdeen herself, Jennifer Lawrence, is now an Oscar-winner (for Silver Linings Playbook); more importantly (from a creative standpoint), the series is now being guided by director Francis Lawrence, who has finished his work on Catching Fire and is now preoccupied with directing both Part 1 & 2 of the finale, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.

hunger games catching fire director cast Hunger Games: Catching Fire Director Talks Casting, No Shaky Cam & Love Triangles

Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth on set with director Francis Lawrence

That is to say: seeing how Lawrence – whose directorial features to date include Constantine, I Am Legend and Water for Elephants – is set to steer the Hunger Games movie boat from hereon out until the ride is over, you might be interested in hearing some of his thoughts about the second installment, Catching Fire, and the series in general. We’ll begin with his feelings about the stellar cast for these films – including, mainstays like Jennifer Lawrence and new additions for Catching Fire (such as Philip Seymour Hoffman) – as he expressed them during a recent interview with NY Magazine:

“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 [Moore signing on for 'Mockingjay']. If you can just get those amazing actors, then that’s 80 percent of my job.”

Lawrence could’ve made an identical about the choice of screenwriters for Catching Fire, with Oscar-winners Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) being the people who were hired to adapt Collins’ source material. The director, for his part, decided to shoot certain portions of Catching Fire using IMAX cameras, so as to better capture the expanded scope and complexity of the second Hunger Games novel (among other reasons, naturally).

Speaking of filming style: will there be lots of herky-jerky camerawork in Catching Fire, like there is in Ross’ movie? Well, Lawrence said:

“No! [Laughs.] No shaky cam. I think a lot of people will be happy to hear that.”

hunger games catching fire katniss peeta1 Hunger Games: Catching Fire Director Talks Casting, No Shaky Cam & Love Triangles

Ross’ choice of cinematography on Hunger Games – a means to express how over-whelming the film’s events were for Katniss and her fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) – served an artistic purpose, but there’s no denying that it’s one of the film’s more controversial aspects. Another element of the film that aroused some anger from many of the original books’ fans was the way it handled the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) – something that Francis Lawrence agreed, could stand to be improved in the sequel.

In fact, when the interviewer for NY Magazine stated that “The first film skimped a little on showing us the strategy behind the Katniss-Peeta love story,” the Catching Fire director replied:

“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.”

Now, before anyone who hasn’t read the Hunger Games books misunderstands and panics about the movie sequel becoming more Twilight-like (read: saccharine), bear in mind: assuming the film’s trailers are a proper indication, then Catching Fire should continue to explore how Katniss and Peeta’s relationship is first and foremost a means for survival (not so much anything to do with romance). In fact, as Lawrence noted, there’s potential for the sequel to do a better job with that aspect of the story than its predecessor managed.

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens in theaters on November 22nd, 2013.

Source: NY Magazine

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TAGS: catching fire, the hunger games

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  1. Yes! No shaky can is great news. I found the first 30 minutes of the first film to be atrocious. Also the love triangle isnt necessary

    • The love triangle plays an important factor in the books, so yeah, it’s pretty necessary.

    • The Love Triangle is necessary, as it the backbone to the entire story. I also found it quite annoying, but it has to be there.

      Katniss is a self absorbed teenager who doesn’t want to be in love with anyone, but there are two dudes who get all possessive about her, so she has to tip toe through her relationships with them, and oh yeah there is an awesome dictatorship/rebellion/distopian thing going on in the background that really isn’t as important as the boring non-love love triangle.

      If the non-love love triangle was stripped away, the legions of fans would boycott it, and rightfully so. It would be a completely different (better?) story.

  2. I don’t mind shaky cam, Saving Private Ryan and Children of Men did it nicely and it’s inevitable for the camera not to shake a bit when following a long uncut sequence. But when someone literally waves the camera around like an idiot for ‘dramatic effect’, that’s when audiences start getting angry. Unfortunately The Hunger Games suffered from that (in both its action sequences and, for some reason, its slower scenes), so here’s hoping Catching Fire improves.

  3. Good! That will give the movie a better chance of seeing it. The most disturbing things that occurred to me during the movie is the camera shack and the love story. The action was good, and the story was good, but they didn’t made it a pure action-hack/slash movie that entertains people. All I found was love, less action, and a disturbing camera movements.

  4. The first time I watched The Hunger Games I thought the first half of the movie was …not my taste for direction. Then upon buying the blu-ray and watching what Ross had to say about the way it was filmed, my jaw hit the floor and I completely changed my mind and now absolutely love the whole style used.

    Either way, it’s a shame he isn’t directing the sequel.

  5. I jut hope they will not cut out some of the scenes of the movie it was really irritating because some of the scenes they cut out was an important roll in keeping either peeta or katniss alive.

  6. I liked the shaky cam in the first movie. It gave the movie gravitas and realism to make it seem like a bleak documentary at first.

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