The world is still reeling from Oscar-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman being found dead in his Manhattan apartment over the past weekend, with the outpour of sympathy and praise by fans in admiration of the actor's impressive career still flowing at a steady rate. Unfortunately, the reality of Hollywood is that this business stops for no one, and thus we have to ask the question: How will Hoffman's death affect the upcoming blockbusters The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 & 2?
After issuing a public response to Hoffman's death, Lionsgate revealed that the actor had already finished reprising as Plutarch Heavensbee - a character introduced in Hunger Games: Catching Fire - for Mockingjay: Part 1, but still had a week of filming to complete for Part 2. Today, we have additional information on exactly what Hoffman had left to complete on the Hunger Games two-part finale.
THR has been informed that Hoffman had "one major, emotional scene" left to shoot for Mockingjay - Part 2, but that the necessary measures will indeed be taken accordingly to reconceive the sequence in a manner that both makes sense and is respectful of the actor. The Lionsgate executive who spoke on the matter did not reveal what the scene in question entailed - saying "Why would I want to give people something to look for two years from now?" - but assured that Hoffman's death shouldn't impact the film's release date (currently, Fall 2015).
"We’re all extraordinarily sad. But as it relates to production, it’s going to have no impact. Obviously, we're going to have a couple of work-around issues but the movie will be creatively whole. His performances in both [remaining] movies will be up to the best of his craft. We feel it will be a good tribute to him."
Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence is also calling the shots on Mockingjay: Part 1 & 2, so he'l be overseeing the task of working around Hoffman's death during post-production on the two films. According to THR's source, the plans for handling that issue are pretty straightforward, with miscellaneous editing tricks and digital tools to be used so as to avoid any obvious visual continuity errors; as they put it, "You can do digital things, you can have conversations where you’re not focusing on him but the people he’s talking to."
Following his introduction in Catching Fire, Plutarch become a more important player in the ongoing tale of Hunger Games protagonist Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) during the third book, but there's a decent possibility that the Mockingjay adapted scripts by Danny Strong (The Butler) play up his significance even more.
Obviously, Hoffman isn't so much a central part of this franchise as Paul Walker with Fast & Furious - hence his death delayed Fast & Furious 7 by a year - but regardless, his scenes in the Mockingjay films will now carry a heavier emotional weightiness than they would have before. Our hope is simply that the team behind these movies are able to work out what needs to be done in post-production, since it'll be uncomfortable enough during Hoffman's scenes as is (without the addition of awkward editing choices).
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 opens in theaters on November 21st, 2014, followed by Part 2 a year later on November 20th, 2015.