Lionsgate UK has released the official production notes for the final film in The Hunger Games franchise, Mockingjay: Part 2.
As had been speculations for some time now, while there will be a movie score, there’s going to be no companion soundtrack.
The end credits will include ‘Deep in the Meadow,’ performed by Jennifer Lawrence.
Speaking of the ending, the notes have something about the final scene from Mockingjay book. (Emphasis HGN’s)
“One of the things that I’m most excited about is the film’s final scene,” says Francis Lawrence. “There was a really strong feeling on the set when we got to the scene – a feeling that all the history of all these characters through the course of these four movies had built up to this singular moment. I hope audiences really feel that history and also a sense of the future. Everything that has happened to Katniss and all the themes of the story have wound together to come down to this final glimpse of her world, so it was very important that we really get to live inside it.”
The ending remains as faithful to Suzanne Collins’ phenomenon-creating books as the beginning. As the journey comes to a close, one of the greatest satisfactions for Nina Jacobson is that the film franchise never strayed, the whole way through, from her promise to follow Collins’ vision. “I have such profound respect for Suzanne and I love the books so much and understand how fans feel about them,” Jacobson closes. “So from the start, we had a total commitment to do right by the books and deliver cinematic storytelling at the highest level. That was a huge thing to aspire to do, but I never could have forgiven myself if we’d gotten it wrong. We had an obligation to come through for people and it’s been an incredible experience. I hope we will continue to talk about all the incredibly relevant things this entire story is about: human society, the costs of war, the exploitation of tragedy for entertainment and the dangers of losing our individual narratives in tyrannical times. It’s a story for the ages.”
The notes include quotes from the cast and crew about the movie and filming these characters for years now.
Director Francis Lawrence: “In this film, Katniss takes the action back into her own hands and goes after Snow personally. The movie really opens up as we go deep into the streets of the Capitol, coming full circle from Katniss’s journey there in the first film. There’s more action, more scope, more emotion and most of all, this film brings the story to its moving conclusion.”
“All along, Jennifer has had amazing instincts and on each film, it’s been surprising to see what she does. This final journey is no different,” he explains. “It is a new kind of emotional journey for Katniss. She is determined to rectify what was done to Peeta, what was done to her personally, and what was done to the people of the Districts – and Jennifer dives into that.”
Jennifer Lawrence: “This is the chapter when Katniss really starts to believe in the impact that she can have. She’s always been so reluctant and has always found herself in situations where all she can do is try to survive, but now she’s turning the tables. I was excited for her to finally take her place as a leader. At the end of Mockingjay – Part 1, she was kind of numb, and genuinely unsure if she wanted to go on. In Mockingjay – Part 2 she starts seeing the bigger picture. She’s looking beyond her own personal losses and gains to focus on making a better future.”
Nina Jacobson: “For the first three movies, Katniss feels as if someone else is writing the script of her life and she has no choice but to either act or react to that script. In this final film, she makes her decision: that Snow must die and she’s going to get him. You see her character fully in control now, fully realized.”
“Jen has always brought a grounded emotional honesty to the role. But now she shifts, turning defiance, grief and rage into action and leadership. She does that extraordinarily well. Her performance in this film shows the complexity of a character who is searching for peace and happiness, but will always carry the scars of what we’ve seen her experience.”
Josh Hutcherson: “What was a story about a girl who wants to protect her family and survive has now become the story of a girl who creates what once seemed an impossible uprising. It’s the final push that culminates in a new world.
The cast also reflected on their characters, and coming to a close on this journey.
Peeta Mellark/Josh Hutcherson
Francis Lawrence says Josh Hutcherson’s willingness to go the edge in this new incarnation of Peeta was impressive. “He really blew me away in this film because he was so incredible at showing how tormented Peeta is in his current state. I know Josh so well, but watching him in these scenes, I didn’t recognize any part of him,” remarks the director. Hutcherson sums up where the film finds Peeta: “Peeta’s going through a kind of rehabilitation process, trying to get back to his old self. He’s being held in District 13, but he’s still violently psychotic and his recovery is clearly going to be a very long, hard road. He has moments of clarity but he kind of goes in and out. With all these memories that were implanted in his mind by the Capitol, he has to constantly try to decipher what is real and what has been fed to him – and he has to rely on his peers to help him find that truth.”
Peeta might be constantly asking “real or not real” about things he suddenly remembers and feels, but Nina Jacobson notes that Hutcherson’s performance leaves no such doubts. “The humanity that he brings to this role and the realness that he brings is extraordinary,” she says. “In this film, on the one hand, Peeta is completely lost in a hypnotic state of rage, but on the other, he starts reconnecting with Katniss, step by tiny step, is, in a way that is very touching. Your heart breaks for him, but you see that he has a chance to return to who he was, even if nothing will ever be the same.” For Hutcherson, the film required a 180 from how he normally approaches the character. “Peeta’s always been known as being the down-to-earth, grounded, honest guy. But now he’s out of his mind, I had to turn that inside out,” he says. “It shows a lot about the real feelings that Katniss has for Peeta that she still fights for him and believes in him even in this state.”
Throughout, Peeta’s true feelings for Katniss keep surfacing in ways that keep him bonded to her at an unspoken level. For Hutcherson finding those breakthrough moments with Jennifer Lawrence after the three previous films came organically. “Jennifer has this quiet strength about her,” he says. “A lot of people might have tried to play up the rebellious side of Katniss, but Jennifer saw from the start that’s not who Katniss is. Jen has played Katniss’ reluctance and groundedness so well, it always feels very real to me. It’s one of the reasons why I think Peeta connects with her and why so many people have connected with The Hunger Games.”
As for how Peeta has evolved since he first left to represent District 12 in The Hunger Games, Hutcherson concludes, “Peeta always had a very realistic view of what was happening around him. He’s more haunted now from having experienced The Hunger Games first-hand, and from witnessing the destruction that Snow’s dictatorship can cause. But deep within, his mentality has always been you have to not let yourself be a piece in the game; you have to try to be yourself even as you fight to survive. That’s still what he would say to this day.” Like Jennifer Lawrence, Hutcherson says he will miss his character, but he will take a lot from the long and rich experience of playing Peeta. “I definitely will take away great friendships and memories from The Hunger Games,” he says. “I also hope I take away some of Peeta’s values. When you do a project like this, people can get certain ideas about who you should be – and Peeta is a reminder that it’s best to kind of break those expectations and simply be true to yourself.”
Gale Hawthorne/Liam Hemsworth
While Peeta is lost, Gale Hawthorne has found himself in the beginning of Mockingjay – Part 2 – and become one of Panem’s most uncompromising warriors. Says Liam Hemsworth, who has taken his character from Katniss’s boyish best friend and hunting partner in District 12 to a rebellious coal miner to a major force in the rebellion: “Gale is more part of the action in this film and really gets his chance to make a difference to Panem. He has built up so much anger at President Snow and at the Capitol that he is ready to go to war at any cost.”
The more Gale solidifies his philosophy that the ends justify the means in war, the more he finds a wall between himself and Katniss. “Gale has a very different view from Katniss about what’s acceptable in war and how far to go. Katniss cannot accept the risk of killing innocent people. Gale is prepared to have casualties if it means winning. He just wants to end all of this, whatever it takes,” Hemsworth explains.
At the same time, Gale’s personal feelings for Katniss, kept under wraps since she was first whisked to the Capitol, remain unresolved…and perhaps forever unresolvable given the circumstances. Hemsworth says no matter what is in Gale’s soul, everything seems to be conspiring to keep them apart. “This chapter is where you really see that Gale and Katniss have developed very different ideas about the world. Gale has come to the conclusion at this point that Katniss truly loves Peeta, and the more Peeta needs her, the more Gale can feel her slipping away day by day,” Hemsworth says, adding, “And yet, Gale still deeply loves Katniss and he is still driven to look after her and protect her. That’s what he’s always been about.”
Unexpectedly, Peeta’s confusion and uncontrollable impulses even draw Gale’s empathy. “Gale knows that Peeta’s not in control of himself,” Hemsworth observes. “Gale’s still wary of him, but for the first time in this film, we actually get to see Gale and Peeta have a friendly conversation with each other – and connect around their mutual feelings for Katniss.”
For Nina Jacobson, Hemsworth’s rapport with Lawrence has been at the core of a star-crossed relationship that might have been, but never had a chance in the world Katniss, Gale and Peeta live in.
“Liam does a great job of representing Gale’s revolutionary spirit, his belief in fighting fire-withfire, in a very relatable way,” she sums up. “He reveals Gale as someone who has become comfortable with the costs of war in a way that Katniss nor Peeta never could, and he brings real depth to that. When it comes to Katniss, you really feel for him. You can tell he’s in love with her, and may always be in love with her, but he knows there’s no way now to win her back.”
Haymitch Abernathy/Woody Harrelson
For Woody Harrelson, who has taken Haymitch Abernathy from intoxicated cynic to realist to steadfast believer in the Mockingjay, it was a challenge to face up to the story’s conclusion. “I really don’t want to be done with The Hunger Games,” he admits. “I wish it didn’t have to end ever. The characters in the film have formed a kind of patchwork family – and that was equally true for us as actors in real life.”
He adds: “What’s been so exciting is that each installment of The Hunger Games has been equally great. This last chapter, though, is absolutely the biggest in terms of scale and in terms of the lasting consequences for Katniss and everyone around her, including Haymitch.”
Harrelson has especially welcomed the chance to get so close to Jennifer Lawrence over the course of the series. “Haymitch comes to care deeply about Katniss in a way that maybe surprises him and shakes him up, and it’s easy to get to that place with Jennifer,” he says. “She’s so much fun to work with, but also so honest and true in her performance. You’re always working at a high level with her.”
As for Haymitch, Harrelson concludes: “He’s known a lot of tragedy and he’s struggled with his own vices and addictions. I think he’ll always have that sharp attitude towards life, but he also dreams of peace.”
Effie Trinket/Elizabeth Banks
After years of donning Effie’s glam makeup and architectural gowns, Banks says she will miss not only the fashion but the people who helped bring Effie to life. “I will miss collaborating with Ve Neill, Linda Flowers, Camille Friend, Judianna Makovsky, Trish Summerville and Kurt and Bart. These hair, make-up and costume designers were essential partners to me in creating the iconic Effie Trinket.”
She will also miss Jennifer Lawrence and the thrill of being Katniss’s confidante. “Jennifer has shown such range across all four of the films. She’s our leader and has always made going to work something fun I looked forward to every day,” the actress says.
As for Effie’s future, Banks sums up: “Effie is a survivor. She will be fine. She’s inspired by Katniss who will not only survive but thrive.”
President Snow/Donald Sutherland
“Snow’s an old man and he sees this as a final, thrilling game of chess with a competitor who’s up to everything he can handle,” Sutherland comments. “He is torn in a way, because he loves Katniss’s spirit but of course he doesn’t want her to actually succeed. Yet, he doesn’t really want to murder her either. It was that complexity that interested me about Snow in the first place and now it comes to its climax. I’ve loved having a role that I could commit to passionately.”
Says Francis Lawrence: “Donald Sutherland brings the story of President Snow to a fitting ending. He has embodied this character with such wit and power throughout, and here you get to see Katniss gain the upper hand on him.”
Finnick Odair/Sam Claflin
Sam Claflin, who has taken the sly but emotional character to heart, says of where the final chapters finds him: “Finnick is really a new person after he reunites with Annie. He has a new lease on life and a newfound freedom. He sees their engagement as a chance to allow their love to be a powerful new symbol for the rebellion.”
Love also leads Claflin back into war. “This newfound passion drives Finnick to get back out there and do what’s right for Panem,” says Claflin. “This is a different chapter for everyone. The stakes are a lot higher, the characters have more than ever to lose and it’s much more real. It isn’t a game anymore, even if the games were deadly. This is the future and they all have a lot to fight for.”
For Finnick, helping to forge the future also means helping Katniss reconcile with Peeta, no matter how savage his brainwashing might appear. “Finnick knows that Katniss loves Peeta, even if she is still unsure,” says Claflin. “That’s the beauty of Finnick: he observes things that other people can’t, and that comes out of the horrible experiences that he has been through himself.”
Claflin had a chance to wield Finnick’s famed trident in battle, a skill he has been honing since he first took the role, but that he had to take to the next level against the Capitol’s mutant lizard mutts. “I’ve spent hours and hours with broomsticks,” he muses. “I also had an incredible team of people helping me to get adept and I learned that you have to make the trident work as if it was an additional limb.”
Although Finnick was a master of the games, this was Claflin’s most physically challenging outing. “It felt like we were running marathons every single day – whether it be sprinting away from oil or through hordes of lizard mutts,” he recalls. “What was inspiring is that every single actor was raring to go, wanting to make these incredibly well-designed sequences the best they could be.”
Still, he says perhaps the biggest challenge of all was having to dance at Finnick’s glamorous wedding. “I hate dancing with a passion,” Claflin laughingly confesses. “It was tough, maybe even tougher than the sewers! But it was also beautiful and I tried to make the most of it.”
That sentiment of making the most of everything was true for Claflin right up to his final scenes. “This whole series has been incredible,” he concludes. “I feel so honored and blessed to have been a part of it, as a fan and for the fans.”
Primrose Everdeen/Willow Shields
Willow Shields has played the role since she was 12, and has literally grown up with the character. She says that in this precarious moment of Prim’s life, she feels that Prim has at least become who she wanted to be. “Prim has grown up immensely by Part 2,” Shields observes. “She is training to become a doctor, fulfilling her destiny. As a medic, she can finally contribute to the rebellion herself. This is her role in the fight, one that she is good at, and one that shows what a brave young person she has become. She sees the consequences of war all around her, but she believes in the fight, what its value is, and she believes in her sister as a leader.”
She also enjoys that she has slowly but surely earned something beyond Katniss’s love: her admiration. “In the first Hunger Games Katniss protects Prim from their harsh world – but now the relationship has shifted,” Shields points out. “Katniss is still protective of Prim, but now she has come to respect Prim’s abilities, awareness and wisdom. They are much more equal in Mockingjay – Part 2.”
Katniss will always be inspired by Primrose says Shields. “They have really had little else they could count on but each other. It’s no wonder they were so close,” she notes. “Katniss saw qualities in Prim that help propel her forward. Prim has an inner strength that is used to heal and nurture others – and these qualities help Katniss aspire to a future that is kinder and more nurturing for everyone.”
If you’re interested, you can find the full notes here.