Director Francis Lawrence says he understands the mixed reactions to the fact that Mockingjay, the final The Hunger Games book, has been divided into two films. He even says he ‘absolutely regrets’ it.
The final book in The Hunger Games trilogy was split into two films, the first of which was released in 2014, and the second a year later in 2015. Lawrence notes that the team agreed at the time that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014) and Part 2 ‘had their own separate dramatic questions’, making for complete stories. But he also acknowledges why some fans weren’t thrilled with the long wait times between films. “What I realized in retrospect — and after hearing all the backlash and feeling the anger from fans, critics and people at the split — is I realized it was frustrating,” Lawrence said in an interview with People Magazine. “And I can understand it.”
If you have a cliffhanger in a television episode, you have to wait a week, or you can binge it and then you can immediately see the next episode. But making people wait a year seemed unfair to me, even though that wasn’t the case. We didn’t mean to be dishonest.
More from the books
The director also adds that this provided the opportunity to apply more from the books in the films. “In reality, we got more out of the book on screen than in any other movie, because you get almost four hours of screen time for the last book,” he explained.
Learned from the mistake
As for its upcoming prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2023), Lawrence indicates that the intention was always to make one film from Suzanne Collins’ book published in 2020, even though this meant the film would have a long runtime. “I would never let them split the book in half,” the director said. “There was never any real conversation about it. It’s a long book, but we got so much crap about splitting Mockingjay in two – from fans, from critics, from everyone – that I thought, ‘No way. I’ll just make a longer film.'”
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes draait vanaf 16 november in the cinema.
Beeld: Still ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’ via TMDb