Dispatches from District 12 - A Hunger Games blog

Catching Fire’s Francis Lawrence answers fan questions

The director teased fans with ‘Mockingjay’ information and responded to comments in a special ‘Ask Me Anything’ thread on Reddit

COMMENT | If you're yet to see 'Catching Fire' or wish to avoid spoilers for 'Mockingjay' it's best to avoid this article!

With the opening weekend of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' firmly cementing the film as one of the most commercially viable movies of the year, many fans have now had time to comment on their favourite scenes, and niggles, with the adaptation.

For the most part, I was incredibly impressed, however I can't help but think on reflection that 'Catching Fire' should have been the two-parter of the franchise as many key moments were cut due to time restraints.

It seems that others have the same confliction - what was shown was adapted faithfully and portrayed realistically but there was a lot that was left unexplained to appease viewers who hadn't previously read the books. Gone was Haymitch's backstory, which was one of the scenes I anticipated the most, and in its place was a lot more kisses shared between Katniss and Gale, arguably a sign that romance is a key appeal to Young Adult adaptations.

In a recent 'AMA' discussion on Reddit, Francis Lawrence addressed some of the most prominent fan thoughts and answered questions about the filming process of the franchise. Here are some of the highlights from the Q & A session:

Was there one favourite scene that you wanted to bring to the screen but, for whatever reason, couldn't make it work? (pikkopots)

"There were some scenes with Peeta and Katniss on the roof of the Tribute centre that I always liked from the book that we were unable to get into the film."

Will Haymitch's backstory be mentioned in Mockingjay? (aguabend)

Questions about Haymitch's games being excluded from 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' were frequently brought up by fans during the Q & A and, for the most part, Lawrence remained coy. As well as saying that he was "not sure yet" about whether it would be included in 'Mockingjay', he later added "I would love to be able to tell that story" admitting that it was left out of the screenplay due to time restraints.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge while filming Mockingjay? (sergibby)

"It's a tough story emotionally for Katniss, whereas the first two films have been far more straightforward in terms of Katniss' emotional arc, tracking her emotional trajectory is my greatest challenge."

How did you approach taking over The Hunger Games franchise from Gary Ross? (logicatch)

"I knew there would be certain parameters I would need to exist within. I re-read the book and very quickly saw that there was going to be plenty of room for me to grow and, although I was going to stick to certain aesthetic choices Gary had made so the world would feel the same, I felt that Catching Fire offered me a lot of opportunities to grow and to create a world-build."

How do you intend to tackle the backstories of the other tributes in Mockingjay, such as Finnick? (unseentides)

"We will definitely get a sense of Finnick's backstory in Mockingjay, I don't want to divulge how, but there are very specific scenes where we learn about his past."

What was the reasoning behind leaving out the scene where Plutarch shows his watch to Katniss during the ball? (lizzieytish)

"There's a very easy reason. We shot the watch, we tried the watch in the cut, and we took it out. Because we don't have the option of having Katniss wonder and doubt the meaning of the watch in the film, it becomes way too clear what the watch means in the movie, and that would have been a mistake"

How did you approach depicting the people and leaders of the Capitol so that they were both the villains of the story but also still victims of their circumstance? (t2b123)

"The trick when you're approaching a character, whether they are an antagonist or a protagonist, is always to approach them as if they are the hero of their own story and I try to never judge them. I think (as screwed up as it sounds) President Snow and Caesar Flickerman think they are doing the right thing."

What do you think Sam Claflin brought to the role of Finnick that made him stand out? (FinnFan)

"I mean, to me, Sam has the looks, the beauty, the athleticism, the charm, but why I cast him was his emotional depth. Because I always knew where Finnick was going to go as a character, and what we were going to learn about him as the stories progressed, that drew me to Sam."

If the cast members were to be a part of The Hunger Games, who do you think would win and how? (hkwan)

"I would say Josh or Liam. They are both really smart and both very athletic. Liam might have a little more brawn but Josh is pretty fast and pretty damn smart. Jennifer is way to klutzy to actually survive."

Rachel MacGregor is obsessed with film. She's gone from believing toys really do come to life as a child to wondering if we're set for a dystopian future as an adult. Follow Rachel MacGregor on Twitter.

More movie articles by Rachel MacGregor:

The Hunger Games: As Jennifer Lawrence is praised, who else auditioned to play Katniss?

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire cast quiz each other in unscripted interview

New cast members bring the spark to Catching Fire