The first Hunger Games film merely whetted the appetite for fans of Suzanne Collins‘ young adult trilogy of novels and its protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, “the girl on fire.” The stakes have been raised for the next adaptation, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Lionsgate put the odds ever in San Diego Comic-Con attendees’ favor Saturday with their panel. The cast and crew were on hand to represent, including director Francis Lawrence, and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Willow Shields, Lenny Kravitz, Jena Malone, Jeffrey Wright, Liam Hemsworth, and Josh Hutcherson. The panel was moderated by Fandango chief correspondent Dave Karger.
With the panel came the debut of a new trailer, which shows the most recent Hunger Games champions, Katniss and Peeta, in their post-winning life and the Victory Tour that followed. But now, the 75th annual Hunger Games is set to begin and this time, the circumstances have changed, as the tributes will now consist of all the previous champions against each other. Also, the Capitol isn’t too happy with Katniss and are plotting to get rid of her. We also see the love conflict with Katniss, Peta, and Gale.
Watch the new trailer here below.
Director Francis Lawrence was asked what it was like to walk on set the first day. He said his first day was working with Philip Seymour Hoffman, which was incredible. On the next day, he got to work with the entire ensemble. Hutcherson said Peeta at the start of the film has confused, complicated emotions, not knowing where he stands with Katniss’ affections, yet still wanting to protect her. Hemsworth described a torture scene he endures in the film as having been so repetitive during filming, being constantly whipped, so eventually it became fun to shoot. Francis Lawrence said going into the film wasn’t anything like he was expecting, but in a way a blessing. He’s pleased with the emotional scale of the film and the performances of the actors. Then they played a new, previously unreleased trailer.
Kravitz said Cinna is “a real cool cat,” bringing a sense of calm to the tension of the world, with a real interest in Katniss’ well being. Malone and Wright felt a little intimidated at having to match and surpass the expectations from the first film. Malone felt that getting picked to star in the film was like opening a golden ticket. She noted it was nice to be on a sequel where all the rules are flipped on their head from the previous film. Shields said she looked up to Malone most from the cast.
Jennifer Lawrence compared her experience at starring in the first Hunger Games film to her first acting experience, and being in the sequel as feeling more familiar and comfortable. When she first learned she would be playing Katniss, she was excited and scared, because it was one of her most favorite books to read, and she didn’t want to do the character an injustice. In training for Katniss, she did a lot of archery and running, along with parkour. The hardest stunt for her was basic running. In one scene, she had to run up a mountain for what seemed like all day. Lawrence said out of all the wardrobe she’s worn in the film, her wedding dress was her favorite to look at, but being five feet in circumference, it was unwieldily to walk in. She said the biggest difference between roles in big budget films and smaller indies is, it’s possible to have too much money, in that the films can be unwieldy to shoot, but the food is definitely better.
A Facebook fan asked of there would be hot kissing scenes between her and Hutcherson, and she described a kissing scene they shot where a huge line of snot got stuck between the two, and she almost accidentally swallowed it. Another Con attendee asked how the relationship was between the young members of the cast and the older ones. Hutcherson and Jennifer noted that because the games in the movie involve past contestants, there was an older demographic of co-stars, so the set was often, as Lawrence joked, like “a retirement home.” Wright praised Jennifer Lawrence and Hutcherson’s camaraderie and humor, making it always a pleasure to be around.
Jennifer Lawrence described the set as being “very physical”, so the cast didn’t have to starve themselves on set to look ‘hungry.” Kravitz is surprised to have fans of Cinna approach him on the street, completely unaware of his celebrity as a musician. Hutcherson feels working on this film was a terrific learning experience, as he would one day like to direct films. Jennifer Lawrence agreed that it’s been a very educational experience.
Catching Fire comes to theaters on November 22, 2013.
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