The December issue of Sci Fi magazine contains some great interviews on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire from director Francis Lawrence as well as new-comer Jena Malone, who plays Johanna Mason.
They check in with Francis about taking on a sequel. He explains that what drew him to the project was the ability to not just go back, but to create, pointing out that for him, the story of Catching Fire is where everything really starts to take off.
“The characters are very different because they are changed by the games,” he says.
“The world is very different. It’s winter in District 12 and we see different parts of it like the Victor’s Village. We also go to districts we haven’t been to before. The Arena is completely different.”
Not only that, but Francis Lawrence says he saw Catching Fire as an opportunity to humanzie Haymith and Effie. He also relished the thought of where the triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale was going to go.
“In Catching Fire, the emotional core of the film revolves around Katniss transitioning from just being a single-minded survivalist as she tries to sort out her attachments to both long-time friend, Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta.” Lawrence explains, “we see what each of the boys represents for her: the eloquence and peace of Peeta and the rebellion and fight in Gale. How they weigh with Katniss is getting set up here and is so important for the next movie.”
Franics is also asked about splitting Mockingjay into two films:
“I think they are two distinct stories. I think the objectives are very distinct. One is about getting Peeta back and one is about revenge, which is why I think they easily separate out. It allows us to explore what we need to explore within each of those stories instead of jamming them both into one.”
Jena Malone talks about discovering Johanna and trying to break out of her on set.
Jena describes her time in Atlanta as as feeling like a bit of a loner, not hanging out with everyone becuse she wanted to get Johanna right. She goes on to talk about the relationship between her characater, Johanna Maon and fellow Victor, Finnick Odair:
I think the relationship between Finnick and Johanna is so important that any little moment we have together we went for it because they are sole survivors. They’ve grown up together and I think they’ve bonded because of that. I think it’s one of the last beautiful relationships in Johanna’s life where it’s someone she can actually rely on.