The Hunger Games fans came out in droves last spring for the first installment of Lionsgate's young adult franchise, with the studio taking in just under $700 million worldwide. Despite the massive reception, the fans did have some concerns regarding the love triangle between Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), her fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and her hunting partner Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth). Mostly because the love triangle was absent from the narrative.
Director Francis Lawrence, who took over directorial duties from Gary Ross, reveals that he echoed the fans' concerns, and that this love story will be finally be featured more prominently in his sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
"I felt the same. I felt the love story in general was, um, a bit buried in the first one. I wanted to bring the love story to the surface. And when I say love story, I mean the triangle."
Another aspect of The Hunger Games that fans complained about was the use of 'shaky cam' during the action sequences in the battle area. The filmmaker put those worries to rest, saying that won't happen in the sequel.
"No! [Laughs.] No shaky cam. I think a lot of people will be happy to hear that."
"She said she always made this stupid face when she ran, and I had to specifically watch out to make sure she didn't. So I was always checking. I would tell her, 'You made the stupid face!'"
"No. No, he's not. He and Jen get much closer in height when she's in flats, which is a good thing. You throw her in some heels, and it's all over."
He also talked about the improvements in the special effects department, teasing a "monkey-mutt" attack that was handled by the Australian special effects house Weta.
"I think the effects are phenomenal. If you know the book, there's a monkey-mutt attack, and Weta, who did Rise of the Planet of the Apes and King Kong, did the monkeys for us."
There are several new additions to the cast, including Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, Jeffrey Wright as Beetee and Julianne Moore, who appears in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 as Alma Coin. The filmmaker spoke about how these actors' love for Suzanne Collins' books brought them on board.
"If you can have Philip Seymour Hoffman, get Philip Seymour Hoffman! And he loved the books, so he signed on. Same with Jeffrey Wright. Same with Julianne. If you can just get those amazing actors, then that's 80 percent of my job."