Actors

Rallying Behind The Hanging Tree

(Small spoilers for the Hanging Tree sequence in the film)

The Mockingjay score is available to buy today, and after hearing it during the movie, I bought it first thing this morning and it’s been my musical buddy all day. The score, and in particular, The Hanging Tree, is the talk of the fandom, and we couldn’t be happier. With fan-created hastags like #BuyTheHangingTreeOniTunes flying everywhere, the song is rising on the digital download charts. It’s nice to see fans take hold of something from the movie they love and rally behind it. So why ALL THE LOVE?

It’s a great sequence in the MOVIE

From the earliest reviews, this was the scene that everyone was talking about. In a hugely positive way. Even the grumpy reviewers who couldn’t get over the fact that this movie was a Part 1 seemed to like the Hanging Tree scene, which is ironic, because this scene would very likely have never been filmed, much less make a final cut, in a one-movie-only Mockingjay. The way the song moves from Katniss’s thoughtful, quiet singing to a rebel anthem fits so well in the film. We like music that actually fits the film!

And it made a beloved scene in the book EVEN BETTER

It’s the best of both worlds when you can translate a tricky book scene like this so well in the film. This scene was a major call-out of what fans wanted to see in the movie. There’s a lot of ways this could have gone very terribly wrong. But somehow Francis & Co found a way to do it in a way that made it even more moving than it was in the book.

Jennifer Lawrence is singing, y’all

We’ve heard Jennifer Lawrence repeatedly insist that she’s an awful singer, but we all know that’s just some overly modest insecurity talking. She may not have the professionally trained chops of a Broadway singer, but that works for the song. Her bluesy tone and style feels real and honest and just right for that scene. Anything more polished would feel fake and too much like the choreographed propaganda that failed. There’s a definite novelty to hearing Jen sing, yes, but it’s not just because it’s Jennifer Lawrence, the big movie star signing it that we’re so enraptured. It’s the way she sings it – and the arrangement of the piece by the Lumineers and James Newton Howard.

And now we’ve got a tv spot with the song too.

We’re hoping Lionsgate pushes this song for awards contention. Even with all the lack of awards love this franchise gets, we think this song has a shot.

It’s going to be running through our heads for quite a while, but that’s just fine.

JJ

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My One Mockingjay Part 1 Gripe

It’s hard to believe it but after three films in The Hunger Games franchise, and after so many gripes about Gary Ross’s treatment, and then my barely there gripes about Francis Lawrence’s treatment of Catching Fire– I only have one, count it ONEMockingjay-gale-poster gripe about Mockingjay Part 1. And that gripe is this, Gale Hawthorne is effectively an orphan.

I know, I know there’s something wrong with me, ’cause my gripe is for all intents and purposes the stripping away Gale of pretty much everything that made him sympathetic in the first place. The fact that he had a family to take care of, not just Katniss, and Katniss’s family, but one all of his own. There was Posy, and Vic, and Rory, and his mother Hazelle. But like Madge Undersee, or Greasy Sae, or Delly Cartwright, Gale’s family was cut down to a brief mention of his “brothers” in The Hunger Games, and then a feigned responsibility to them in Catching Fire by taking up work in the mines, and then finally in Mockingjay Part 1, they’re just no where.

So what happened to Gale’s family? Were they seen as extraneous, or an unneeded distraction from the main points of the story? In my head I’d like to imagine that Gale’s family was on the story boards for a while, they may have even had thoughts of casting them. But then it got away from the creators of the franchise, that they figured Gale alone, stately, tall, and handsome would be enough, and that expanding his home life would not have made him more easy to love, and more of a rival for the affections Katniss has for Peeta. But from where I’m sitting, even though Gale is all of those things, stately, strong, handsome, and solo– he’s not an island, and knowing more about him as a person rather than just a hunter, and a soldier, and a friend– may have been a boon to the story, and perhaps to Liam Hemsworth as an actor. That being said, I loved Mockingjay Part 1 as a film, and if Gale’s family was the sacrifice they made to make it as good as I believe it is, I’ll take it.

So, that’s my one gripe– Gale Hawthorne’s is a storyboard orphan.

Them There Eyes

Mockingay Part 1 Premiere Day Fan Frenzy

It’s another milestone day. The LA premiere! Reddit AMA, Twitter Chat, Facebook Fan Events! So much goodness all at once, it’s hard to pick just one.

mj la premiere starsWe were very excited to see the Facebook Fan event, because we saw previews of it from when it occurred on Saturday. It did start, how should we say, fashionably late so we haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, because it was PREMIERE TIME.

But while we waited for the Facebook event and the Premiere Livestream to start, we noticed something interesting. Music that seemed very much to be the Mockingjay Part 1 Score started playing. And then that theory was cemented when a female voice started singing The Hanging Tree. At first it was confusing. Who is that singing?

OMG THIS IS JEN SINGING THE HANGING TREE.

Yes, I kept listening because it was on and IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. So beautiful. I can’t wait to see it on film. The score beyond that sounds great, with tones from the previous films.

More bts stories!

More bts stories please!

But onto the Premiere! The WHITE carpet looked super cool and everyone was there. New faces like Patina Miller, who wanted to keep her Commander Paylor boots because it helped her immediately get into character. Mahershala Ali told us that Francis Lawrence made blooper reel that documented how things were so wacky off camera and then would immediately become serious at the word “action.” WE MUST SEE THIS. THIS MUST BE A DVD EXTRA PLEASE.

The livestream hosts kept asking about pranks. It seemed to be their go to question. So we learned that Jeffrey Wright had a close call when Jennifer tried to push him in Beetee’s wheelchair. Liam shared that he tries to be zen when around the Jen and Josh craziness. Jen’s favorite costume was her tribute parade costume in Catching Fire and Josh wanted to keep Finnick’s trident from Catching Fire. A lot of soundbites given. A lot of pictures taken. But the best thing about today is that we can now say this is the week the movie opens!

It’s almost movie time!

JJ

Mockingjay Cast Late Night Antics

The time of interviews and MORE interviews is here, and the leading cast has been making the late night talk show rounds in New York (and the morning show talk show rounds, these guys are busy). The “late night” shows are actually taped in the afternoon/early evening and are just aired later at night, but anyway, the cast is everywhere and bringing the funny.

Jennifer stopped by Letterman and she had 4 segments of the show (which really really rarely happens) where she shared some funny stories about meeting her friend Lauren for the first time and trying to get a (platonic) couples colonic with Josh. If only Letterman didn’t phone it in so hard and gave her a little more to work with. But ah well, he’s heading towards retirement, and to get Jen ready for the next CBS late night host, she also visited Steven Colbert at The Colbert Report. He had no problem understanding that Mockingjay Part 1 is “the third installment in the rare four part trilogy.” And he has big plans for either leaving it all to fight crime with her. Or have a downward spiral. Let’s scrap those plans for now, eh?

Meanwhile, Josh Hutcherson stopped by Jimmy Fallon to answer Twitter questions. We know Josh doesn’t tweet much, and he admits that he doesn’t do the daily tweet stuff like “Gettin my Starbucks. So sad. #Frappuccino.” Which I’ve been seeing all over twitter all day now in various forms.

He also displays his awesome talent of gibberish and did a repeat of the eerily accurate cricket noise (how?). The guy is talented. Thanks to a cool fan question we also learned about a new Catching Fire easter egg.

Though Josh has lots of talents, he may need to work his at beer hockey skills. But in beer hockey does anyone really lose?

No, I don’t think he was at all unhappy about that.

Now on to the other 39,452 more interviews.

JJ

Beware of Hunger Games Premieritis!

Traveling to several countries around the world is everyone’s dream, but most of us don’t intend to do it over the course of ten days or so. You’ve got to hand it to The Hunger Games cast, they take it in stride, especially considering… THE DISEASE!

Maybe it’s that November chill, as it’s only seemed to take hold during Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1 premiere and press seasons took place, but oh, does it hit the cast hard!

Hunger Games Premieritis!

At least that’s what we’re calling it! It’s a combination of various illnesses including colds, the flu, strep throat, stomach viruses, etc. and sheer exhaustion. And simply, we’re in awe of the cast for powering through it like absolute champs!

What's a little strep throat between co-workers?!

What’s a little strep throat among friends?!

Jen and Josh are the main sufferers this year so far, but last year it seemed to have swept through the majority of the cast in its many forms. At last year’s LA fan camp, we were lucky to have Josh, Sam, Jena, and Jeffrey all come out to sign for the fans. However, LA stands as the final leg of the CF and MJ1 press tours and it was clear to see that the cast was ready to crash. They were super friendly and gracious, but they looked utterly exhausted and Josh was bundled up in a big leather jacket and a knit cap on a day where the weather was a bit over 70F. And because we’re all sympathetic human beings, there’s a part of us that says “I feel so freaking bad for them.”

But that right there is why we all need to give this cast a million gold star stickers and lollipops to make them feel better. Surely they don’t enjoy being rushed around the world with various stages of premieritis cramping their style, but you know what? They do it. For us! Because we lap up all of this press and stand in line for days at the premiere venues, they push through it even when they probably just want to cuddle under the covers all day. They go on the red carpets and the tv shows where the occasional pundit will try to shame them for “not looking good” as they try not to cough a lung up, because the fans are also in the same vicinity hoping to see them. And that is fucking dedication!

Might we even call them badasses? We say yes, as Elizabeth Banks hosts a YouTube segment called “Ask A Badass” that an unknown female from the cast recorded with her in the midst of all the insanity. GIF PREVIEW TIME!

VictorsVillage

Hopefully those cast members who have been mostly immune to premieritis so far (We’re looking at you, Sam Claflin and Elizabeth Banks!) will remain so and the rest of Mockingjay Part 1 promotion can go on relatively painlessly for the cast. In the meantime, let’s recognize this condition and give the cast a big thumbs up for all they do!

Because We’d End Up Fainting On That Red Carpet, Bro.
The Girl With The Pearl

Human Flesh, Christmas Carols, and Mockingjay Press

Despite the veritable plague that has over taken half of the principle cast, everyone seems to be putting their best foot forward, and in Jennifer’s case Strep Throat diagnosis or not, she’s stepping foot on nearly every stage, carpet, or otherwise, in a stylish black and white ensemble.

Today I was home in the morning, this was an unprecedented occurrence as I’m usually up and out to work by 8am most days. But not today, today I had the morning off, which meant one thing: I was able to catch Josh Hutcherson on Live with Kelly and Michael, AKA the second most irritating couple on morning American TV next to Hoda and Kathy Lee! So, while I figuratively bit my hand so I wouldn’t fling the remote at Michael or Kelly’s giant heads, I was able to watch two sugary sweet segments of Josh being regaled with pat questions about hair conditioning, and then less sugary sweet subjects like his desire to try human flesh if it was ever offered to him. This only made me think one thing, maybe Josh really wants to do a remake of Alive, the 1993 film about the Uruguayan rugby team that survived after a plane crash in the Andes by resorting to eating the bodies of their dead friends, and fellow passengers. And, none of that can be considered a spoiler any longer, because it came out in ’93, twenty or more years in my humble opinion is ample time to know the plot of films like like Alive. Yes, Josh is a weirdo, but he’s our weirdo– which brings me to Jennifer’s appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.

As of when I am writing this article on the west coast of the United States, Letterman has not aired yet. However, a two-minute clip of Jen’s appearance was released well before air-time of the show in its entirety. And this is what we learned from the clip: Jen and Dave still have an unshakable rapport. Jen looks amazing even though she’s probably still sick as a dog. Dave tried to get her to sing, but Jen was Jen– and ended up demonstrating her singing chops with an anecdote involving her father’s merciless teasing, and a guttural rendition of Holly Jolly Christmas. The most important thing to be learned from this clip however, is that apparently Jen’s voice will be the voice we’ll hear when Katniss sings The Hanging Tree in Mockingjay Part 1. So from the horses mouth, or the girl who likes horses mouth, we now know it’s true– Jen’s singing for reals in Mockingjay Part 1.

Have a holly jolly Christmas guys! Oh wait, it’s November!

Them There Eyes

The Big Big Big Mockingjay Part 1 World Premiere

It’s Mockingjay Part 1 World Premiere Day! And the lucky attendees are watching the movie RIGHT NOW. We really want to be those people. A lot. But we’re stuck telling ourselves that it’s ok – once we see the movie, we’re stuck back to waiting 365 more days to Part 2. And that brings its own struggles.

Hello Glamorous People

Hello Glamorous People

The part of the premiere that we COULD see was livestreamed on Yahoo UK, which is a mix of the host repeating herself ad nauseum to kill time while awaiting someone to arrive, watching the stars pose and sign things for the excited fans, and some super-quick interviews. All very shallow and silly sure, BUT WE LOVE IT and wait all year for this craziness.

Some highlights from the livestream:

  • Francis Lawrence teased that yes, there is one remaining scene to film. And Jennifer later said that he had promised her it would involve a horse. We’re not so sure about how that’s going to work, but we’ll let the two of them work that out.
  • Nina has enjoyed interacting with fans on twitter. So continue being nice to her so she keeps tweeting us little teases. She was the saving grace of the long winter of no Mockingjay news in 2014.
  • We want to listen to Jeffrey Wright discuss the books for hours, not just a minute. Let’s make that happen. He can bring anyone else from the cast too.
  • Jena Malone is aware of the fanart and fanfiction. Does she read the fanfiction though? We want to know.
  • The host tried to say that Effie and Katniss were “best friends” and Elizabeth Banks found a way to graciously find a way around that completely wrong comment without making the interviewer aware of how dumb it was.
  • Josh Hutcherson was well enough to attend the premiere, but still not fully recovered. It didn’t seem to scare away any of the screaming fans though (we get it – I GOT JOSH HUTCHERSON GERMS is a fun story to bring home with you. Just maybe stay away from your friends for a while to keep from passing it along).

mockingjay premiere photo call

 

Finally, this cast is gorgeous and appreciates us, even when we scream and shove things at them to sign. We really love them for that.

Can we see the movie yet?

JJ

 

 

 

Mockingjay Press Has Begun!

Over the last several years of covering all things and everything Hunger Games, there are a handful of things that always remain the same. Two of them are that when there’s no news, it’s like a desert wasteland. However, when there is Hunger Games news and/ or press, it’s like a crashing avalanche down a mountain side. I can’t keep track of all the press, and the announcements for press that have come out within the last couple of days! I know that the majority of the cast are in Europe in preparation for the world premiere of Mockingjay Part 1 this coming week in London. So when Liam and Jennifer show up on German television sans Josh, ’cause Josh is ill– I’m not in as much of a clamor as

Perfectly coiffed, and fresh from the ER, that's our Jen!

Perfectly coiffed, and fresh from the ER, that’s our Jen!

I maybe should be, ’cause if I am at level 100 on the excitement scale every single time these people show up on TV over the next few weeks, I think I’ll die of exhaustion, or an aneurism, take your pick. All that being said and done, if anything is like how it was last year during and after the whirlwind press for Catching Fire, the cast are going to be sick as dogs by the time they get to Los Angeles– and in perfect Jennifer Lawrence fashion, she’ll be whisked off to the emergency room with acute abdominal pains, then show up to the premiere looking coiffed, and refined in Chanel.

I suggest you start somewhere though, press coverage wise– because following it all as it unfolds is near impossible unless you spend your life on Twitter, or your phone– or both. Most of the top Hunger Games fan-site are keeping track of everything for us lazy lots though, so if you get lost– go here, and just start clicking! You can’t go wrong with watching a few of the interviews that have come out, or will be coming out, but mix it up a bit, because they are going to start repeating them selves, ’cause journalists have a tendency of asking them same questions over and over again. So if Josh Hutcherson starts to look glazed over, and not just from the fevered illness he’s already infected with, and he starts sounding incredibly robotic, switch to something else! Like perhaps Jennifer Lawrence drawing horses on cakes.

Pace your selves guys! And remember to hydrate. BTW, props to Jen for still doing press while she feels like death warmed over!

Them There Eyes

Mockingjay’s Iffy Cliffy

It’s been debated, questioned, and mulled over for months upon months now: Where exactly will Mockingjay Part 1 end?

Movie splits are usually pretty high tension, some everyone had their theories. Realistically, it broke down to two: 1) Peeta and Katniss’ reunion in District 13 in which things get a little choke-y or 2) After Katniss has become fully aware of Peeta’s condition, feels hopeless, and begs to be sent to District Two. There are a few others, like after she gets shot in Two or after Finnick and Annie’s wedding, but we don’t see those as being quite so likely.

While Mockingjay Part 1’s ending still technically remains a cliffhanger, Jennifer Lawrence has got us thinking that there can only be one real scenario after she spoke to Cineplex Magazine about the ending:

cover

“Oh God, I don’t want to tell you that. It’s a really great ending, and you guys are going to be pissed.”

If audiences are really going to be as pissed off as J-Law seems to be suggesting… OH MY GOODNESS, WE’RE SO HAPPY!

Like 30 seconds after this shot, probably! *sobs*

Like 30 seconds after this shot, probably! *sobs*

Out the the two above scenarios, the truly justified RAAAAAAAGE scenario is the screen blacking out just as Katniss blacks out, while being choked by Peeta. It’s the ultimate WTF moment of the series. If the film ends there, there’s no explanations, understanding, or time for Peeta pity. There’s just confusion and rage for fans who don’t already know what’s coming (and even for some of us who do) and the outrage will be beautiful!

Outrage and anger is what this series is going for, but sometimes that’s easy to forget. The Capitol’s manipulations, the ones that turn people against each other so they can maintain power, are the major atrocities of this book. What better way to make people feel like that to have Peeta inexplicably turn against Katniss?

Also We May Be Sadomasochists,

The Girl With The Pearl

Final Trailer Reaction Post

The final trailer was released this morning, and that means one thing– collective fandom flailing across the globe, and a patented Victor’s Village reaction post featuring all three of us. So without further nattering, here’s the trailer, and under the cut will be our lovely non politically correct reactions!

BURNING AND STUFF
JJ: Yep let’s talk burning!
Them There Eyes: First off, everybody state where they watched the final trailer! JJ: In my office cube, with headphones though.
TTE: Grocery store parking lot!
The Girl With The Pearl: Hiding in the work bathroom. ALL TIME LOW.
TTE: The Girl With The Pearl wins!
JJ: You gotta do what you gotta do
TTE: Exactly, plus I warned not to have food stuffs around me, in case I flailed, screamed, or choked on anything.
TGWTP: Winning, in the worst way possible.
TTE: Hey, at least your not Peeta! Which brings us to the fact that today was yet another day of extreme Peeta-Feels.
TGWTP: Poor Peeta! That line delivery was beautiful though!
JJ: Every shot of Peeta we see gets worse for him. Thanks, Francis. But Josh totally owned it. So well done!
TTE: I know, but we’re total gluttons for tortured Peeta. And yep, Josh is winning all the emotive awards today.
JJ: He’s mastered the teary eyes. I imagine we’ll see more of that. And it will destroy us even more.
TGWTP: But the feeling bad is a good thing! No one can say they don’t understand Katniss’ Peeta-Feels.
JJ: We all feel Katniss’s pain!
TTE: I’m looking forward to feeling destroyed by Josh Hutcherson’s acting abilities.
JJ: Yes, let him shine, especially since his screen time will be limited.
TGWTP: I feel like Josh deserves much more acting credit than he gets.
TTE: He’s been making us cry since Bridge to Tarabithia.
TGWTP: This movie could open a major doorway as he’s an adult actor now.
TTE: You mean it could turn him into the next Ryan Gosling? Or maybe Jake Gyllanhaal?
TGWTP: I could get behind that!
JJ: I approve of all these.
TTE: If he’s going to base his career on anything, I’d hope it would be those two.

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