Back to IndieWire

Francis Lawrence Admits He Needed More Prep Time For ‘Mockingjay’ Shoot, And Talks Future Of ‘Hunger Games’ Franchise

Francis Lawrence Admits He Needed More Prep Time For ‘Mockingjay’ Shoot, And Talks Future Of ‘Hunger Games’ Franchise

The day is finally here: the final instalment of Katniss’s struggle against President Snow and the Capitol arrives in theaters today with the premiere of the final “Hunger Games” movie “Mockingjay Pt. 2.” It’s a bittersweet moment for fans, and for those of us who consider the film to be one of the best YA franchises out there, but it also allows a little time for reflection, and to give its filmmakers and stars a chance to think about where things might go in Panem from here.

Speaking to Yahoo, director Francis Lawrence, who helmed the last three of the four movies, has joined the accidental trend started by Peter Jackson yesterday, of surprising honesty about the challenges of the schedule he was on. “Mockingjay,” the final book in Suzanne Collins’s trilogy, was split into two but shot back-to-back, with the first landing only a year after the release of the second movie, “Catching Fire.”

Lawrence admits that this proved difficult. “The thing that I’d have to think twice about,” he says, “is that not only were we doing two back to back, but we’d started to prep the two movie shoot while I was finishing ‘Catching Fire.’ So there was a minute where while shooting ‘Catching Fire,’ we were developing the scripts, posting ‘Catching Fire,’ and prepping two movies that we even started to shoot before ‘Catching Fire’ came out. Then you’re on a 155 day schedule in 3 countries and it needed more prep time and not to be prepped while posting. I think that was the hardest thing.”

It’s an impressive achievement to have pushed out three movies in 25 months on a compressed schedule like that, and it’s a wonder Lawrence survived it. But that being said, he also tells Yahoo that he’d be up for a return to the film’s universe, but on one condition. “If there were ever more stories, I think they’d have to come from Suzanne Collins. She has to have a new idea and theme that she’s interested in and think up new stories to tell around the world of Panem. She’s the mother of these characters.”

And Lawrence acknowledges, refreshingly for a blockbuster director, the downside of prequels and origin stories. “The obvious choice would be to go back to someone else’s games, like the Haymitch games or something. The problem with that is that you know the outcome, so you’ve got to figure out what’s interesting, what characters do you want to see, what’s the new idea?”

Even if the director were to return, though, his star and namesake Jennifer Lawrence is confident that she wouldn’t be involved. “They’ll get a whole new cast of young hot teenagers,” she tells the site. Regardless of its future, which the new film tracking to the second-lowest opening of the series, might not be entirely certain, you can check out the last “Hunger Games” for now in theaters (see some new images from the film below), and if you miss it that much, the GOP presidential candidates are currently doing their best to make the film’s dystopian future a reality.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: News and tagged , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox