The day has come. The final day. The day that has brought out great sadness in the fandom. And great appreciation for the cast and crew.
Yes, today was the last day of principal photography on the Hunger Games movies.
Group hug time.
Knowing that the cast and crew have completed principal filming is a big deal. There may be reshoots. But 99% of the filming is inevitably done. And I’m sure it’s a very emotional day for those who were involved in the production of the movies.
Ok, another group hug for all those fine people.
But, while this is a huge milestone in the movie production, let’s be real. After they’re done hugging a lot of them will still have significant Mockingjay-related responsibilities. Francis Lawrence and the post-production team still have a lot of work to do, I’d imagine. Especially on Part 2. And the cast will be together again for the marketing blitz for the two remaining movies.
So yes, while this is the beginning of the end, the journey is not over. Don’t despair too much.
Remember, we’re still waiting on the FIRST trailer of Part 1! There’s a ways to go before you can truly call this THE END.
So, while we’re all sad, just think of all the good stuff yet to come! (When the hell did I become an optimist?)
FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY!
Lionsgate is done holding out on the fans and they’re making up for the wait in big ways!
Feast your eyes upon TheHungerGamesExclusive.com, which in its first incarnation includes..
- Six Mockingjay Set Photos
- A Video Interview with Julianne Moore
- A Roundtable with Francis Lawrence, Nina Jacobsen, and Peter Craig
- A Page from the Script (That You Can Win!)
- The Hunger Games Franchise Motion Poster
THIS. This is the glorious stuff we were looking for when we found ourselves totally underwhelmed with the sheer consumerism of Capitol Couture! Not that the fashions aren’t cool, but it’s great to see that there’s some more tangible facts about the themes and overall filmmaking processes this time around.
In that spirit, let’s discuss the five most important things we learned today!
1) Plutarch Heavensbee will not be a freaky animation!
We were seriously concerned with rumors immediately following Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death that stated he would be added into his final scenes via CGI. It just seemed wrong and… what’s the word? CREEPTASTIC. Thankfully, it’s just a rumor! Francis and Nina revealed that for PSH’s non-dialogue scenes, previously recorded footage of the other was cut into the scene (thank you, consistently monotonous D13 uniforms!) and his dialogue was written out, with some lines occasionally given to Haymitch or Effie when appropriate. There’s no mention of him missing out on a *major scene* as suggested in early reports.
2) Effie Trinket is in District 13, bitches!
Fulvia who?! Rather than work in Plutarch’s assistant, the script was repurposed to include Effie Trinket in District 13, at the request of Suzanne Collins! But don’t expect Effie is be a punchline– the filmmakers make it clear that while she brings some levity, Effie is NOT adjusting well and is not there for a higher moral purpose. We’re so glad with get more than one or two scenes of Elizabeth Banks in action!
3) The Capitol tunnels are NOT in Paris (at least not totally in Paris!)
In the intro to the roundtable, the indoor Atlanta set is described as being in part “filled with dingy tunnels”. And here we thought filming was going to Paris for the tunnels! It’s set possible that they will utilize the Paris tunnels to a degree, but it looks like a hefty part of that sequence is coming off a soundstage!
4) Danny Strong ain’t the only screenwriter up in here!
It turns out Danny Strong was not as involved in the Mockingjay films as we thought! Scripts go through multiple drafts and it looks like Strong only wrote draft numero uno. Obviously, that’s a damn important draft, but after that, things went into the hands of Peter Craig, novelist and screenwriter most famously known for his work on The Town. Not only did he finalize the script, he’s been a near constant presence on the set and works with Francis to help the script change and evolve as needed. In case you didn’t know, this almost NEVER HAPPENS. It’s like spotting a unicorn!
5) District 13 probably ain’t so techie in the film version!
In her interview, Julianne Moore described District 13 has a bomb shelter in which the citizens barely manage, which sounds like a far cry from the tech-savvy District 13 from the books. Sure, the look is minimalist and food rations are puny, but Book!D13 is still slick with both food and weapons technology. Movie version seems a bit bleaker, but we suppose they can develop double exploding bombs either way, right?
Now When Do We Get MOAR Mockingjay News?!
The Girl With The Pearl
Sometimes, the best way to really review something is to gather ’round and discuss it! Which means it’s time for another Victor’s Village reaction post!
We’re laying it all down and getting a little crazy as we recount our latest Catching Fire binge! These posts get quite long, so look for most of it under a cut!
SCENES THAT SHALL NOT BE SEEN (EXCEPT ON DVD EXTRAS)
TGWTP: Let’s start with the deleted scenes, shall we? Which was your favorite?
JJ: Finnick with the Knots, no question for me.
Them There Eyes: It’s a toss between the Mockingjay scene with Snow and Plutarch, or the knot tying scene with Finnick and Katniss.
TGWTP: I’m torn on that one. I like the Finnick scene, but I get why it wasn’t used. The Mockingjay speech? I was like “WHY IS THIS NOT IN THE MOVIE?”
Them There Eyes: Both would have added a little bit more brevity, and a little more background to characters, and the story in general.
JJ: Yes, I think the sugar cube scene made the knot scene unnecessary. But I still loved it.
Them There Eyes: Yeah, but we like seeing more Finnick, it makes us happy in all kinds of places! Got that Sam? WE LIKE YOU!
TGWTP: CLEARLY. I mean, they essentially created a Best Shirtless MTV Movie Award for Sam Claflin. And Liam Hemsworth’s brother.
Them There Eyes: Truth be told… I pay no attention to MTV except to Josh Horowitz, ’cause he’s funny, and has slumber parties with Tom Hiddleston.
SWITCHING IT UP
TGWTP: The other scenes were cool but they just didn’t have any beef behind them (other than Liam Hemsworth… BAZINGA!)
JJ: You had to.
Them There Eyes: Can we do winky faces on this, or will I be smitted?
TGWTP: OH, winky faces are totally in!
Them There Eyes: Honestly though, the Plutarch switches the envelopes scene made no sense to me… granted I had just watched all the other blu-ray extras, so I was a little bit bleary, and confused by life in general… But… that one took me a bit to get.
JJ: I agree, the Plutarch envelope scene was just confusing. And long. You can see why they cut it.
Them There Eyes: Yes…. and also emotional. But for completely unintentional reasons.
TGWTP: It’s a theory in the book that the envelopes are switched. But considering that the pre-planned Quarter Quell envelopes are never expressly explained to movie audiences to begin with, it didn’t make sense to keep it in.
JJ: And really, do you need it emphasized that this was all a plot to kill the victors? No. But yes, all PSH scenes are loaded with extra meaning now. That was a really tough thing about watching the movie again.
TGWTP: And watching him talk about making the movie. I loved the “making of” documentary, but that definitely added some bittersweetness in there.
Them There Eyes: Yep, I hate to think that any scene with Philip Seymour Hoffman is now considered superfluous, but at least we know that the film makers were very focused on getting background information to the audience, even if it did turn out to be unusable.
WE’LL TAKE ALL THE STUFF, PLZKTHX
TGWTP: Speaking of background, what did you guys think of SURVIVING THE GAME? Did you learn anything super new and interesting there?
Them There Eyes: Not new per se, but interesting!
JJ: The fun thing was seeing all the behind-the-scene video
TGWTP: YES. I particularly loved Josh and Sam dance-fighting like they were straight out of West Side Story
JJ: So cute! And of course the famous pants splitting engagement scene.
Them There Eyes: Wait, which one was surviving the game? The nine part thing? So confused… ’cause there’s the three part extras on the Target Blu-Ray edition.
TGWTP: There was. And some of it is the same, but there’s much more in the full documentary
Them There Eyes: If it wasn’t clear yet… THE TARGET BLU-RAY EDITION HAS EVERYTHING… and a kitchen sink.
JJ: Yes. Lots of stuff. Some of which overlapped. Not that I’m complaining about that. Give me more stuff
BRB, DISTRACTED BY A CHILD’S TOY
TGWTP: Any things you loved about the doc?
Them There Eyes: Ve Neil, Trish Summerville, Jo Willems, the artists who made pretty much everything except Jennifer Lawrence’s amazing stare down. And I want the head film editors editing bay in my life.
JJ: I love that they touch on so much of what went in to production. They covered a costume, makeup, SFX, music. So much. It just made me appreciate the work they did that much more.
TGWTP: MINI JEN was my homegirl! Obviously a minor detail, but I live for those. You guys are all serious and I’m like “Did you see that action figure?!”
JJ: LOL, I did mention the pants splitting before.
Them There Eyes: I literally paused the doc. during the makeup scenes, turned to my room mate, and said… I HAVE THOSE INSPIRE PICTURES ON MY CAPITOL PINTEREST!
TGWTP: So you and Ve Neill have the same Capitol inspirations?! Why don’t you work in film, darling?
Them There Eyes: Because I only have ideas, and no ability to execute them without complaining constantly.
TGWTP: Fair ‘nough.
It’s almost here! Yes, Friday is the release day for the Catching Fire DVD (well, in the US/Canada at least). Exciting! Now we can watch the movie any time the mood strikes us. And watch those deleted scenes and behind the scenes featurettes. If you’ve been on Tumblr in the past week, I bet you’ve seen some pretty good gifs that hint at the awesomeness of those features. But the extra feature that I’m most looking forward to with the DVD release is the audio commentary.
In my recent purchases of DVDs of movies and tv shows within the past year or two, I’ve noticed fewer audio commentary features. To my disappointment, the Hunger Games DVD had no audio commentary. Whether it’s because of logistical difficulties (the people behind these movies are really busy MAKING THE MOVIES and just don’t have time) or a perceived lack of interest by DVD distributors (they think DVD buyers just don’t care so why bother) I would like to state for the record that I LOVE AUDIO COMMENTARIES AND PLEASE ALWAYS INCLUDE THEM.
Audio commentaries give you that unique opportunity to *kind of* watch the movie with the people behind it. Depending on the individuals involved, sometimes the participants take it seriously, sometimes it’s full-on joke-a-minute silliness, and sometimes you get the impression that the participants would really rather not be doing it at all (and then it’s just awkward). Regardless, the fans get extra little nuggets of information about scenes. Funny stories. A glimpse into their personalities and motivations. It’s usually interesting stuff.
So I am very pleased that the Catching Fire DVD includes an audio commentary with Francis Lawrence and Nina Jacobson. Because it’s the director and producer who have clearly put their heart and soul into this project, I have full confidence that the audio commentary will be worth a listen. I can’t wait to hear what extra bits of insight they have for us. Advance request for audio commentaries from Francis and Nina for Mockingjay 1 & 2 please!
And please wrangle Jennifer, Josh, Liam, Sam (and anyone else who wants in) for an actor audio commentary AT LEAST for Mockingjay Part 2 because you know that would be comedy gold.
We told you those annual nostalgia lists might find their way here! With only a day left in 2013, we thought long and hard about the embarrassment of fandom riches that has been 2013 and compiled our top moments! Prepare to get all sentimental!
Note that this is a general fandom list, because our personal list would include things like “Suddenly becoming mute when facing the actors” and “Walking like drunk idiots at the Catching Fire after party thanks to the devil’s shoes”. Not nearly as fun, now is it? We decided not to include actor moments here either, given that there’s too many good ones to whittle it down!
First Catching Fire Trailer - We didn’t know what to expect when we heard about a Catching Fire first look at the MTV Movie Awards back in April. The Hunger Games teaser was a :23 look at one scene, after all. But it was a FULL TRAILER that really set the tone. It. was. glorious.
Julianne Moore Cast As Alma Coin - All the Mockingjay casting news has been good news, but none more thrilling than the announcement of Julianne Moore portraying President Alma Coin. She’s got the chops that will make Coin a sharp, ambiguous character. Plus, every recognized actor cast proves this is more than some teen franchise.
Peeta Gets Manned Up - Remember the big, controversial Josh Hutcherson quote in Entertainment Weekly and the fandom flip out that followed? We knew it meant that Peeta would get a bit of a do-over that put him more in line with Book!Peeta, but some others went into a panic mode. Now that we’ve all seen the movie, this is why we always tell you NOT to panic!
Global Fan Day - Press junkets and late night talk shows are fine and dandy, but on November 6, Lionsgate opened the questions up to fans via the social networks. Yes, there were still some uber fangirl “OMG I TOTES LUV U UR SO HAWT!” questions out there embarrassing us, but there was also a rarely afforded time for intelligent, fun celebrity-fan interaction.
Final Mockingjay Scene Announced - Who else freaked out when Francis casually mentioned that Jennifer Lawrence had already filmed the final scene in Mockingjay? Also, when he said that scene featured Katniss serenely hunting in the woods! Is it an extension of the book epilogue or did they cut the book epilogue all together? WE MUST KNOW!
Catching Fire Fan Camp - Three days of Hunger Games fans playing games, partying, red carpeting, watching movies, and getting visits from the people involved in the film? MAGICAL.
Catching Fire Premiere And Screenings - So many great quotes from the stars come during premieres, plus it’s basically a giant fandom lovefest! But Lionsgate also did a great thing this year in realizing that not all fans can make it to the premiere and holding 24 simultaneous red carpet livestreams and premieres in cities across the US!
Catching Fire Crushes Box Office Records - This franchise don’t mess around! Winning the single weekend box office was expected, but we also broke records for the highest grossing film in November– a popular, blockbuster-packed movie month– and had one of the highest grossing opening weekends of all time. As in EVER.
Francis Lawrence AMA Reddit - It takes a lot to make a movie, but it takes some serious guts to go on Reddit a couple days after the movie’s release and hold an “Ask Me Anything” session. Plenty of questions were along the lines of “I didn’t agree with something you did. Why did you do it?” Francis was beyond graceful and gave great answers that let us know he really thought this series through and tried everything (Many excluded book scenes were filmed but later cut for time or because they didn’t translate effectively.) It gave us a whole new respect for him!
First Look At Mockingjay Filming - A few pictures from the Mockingjay set have popped up, but nothing compares to actual fan filmed footage of Gale and Boggs busting into the Capitol set, confirming that the next movies will provide us with a deeper look into things happening outside Katniss’ POV and more action!
Looking back on this list, we know there’s still tons to look forward to in 2014.
Happy New Year!
The Girl With The Pearl
We know that the Holidays aren’t always fun and games, so we’re holding not one but TWO holiday contests to bring on the cheer!
CONTEST #1 – HOLIDAY CARD CONTEST
Gather up all your photoshopping/paint skillz to create a humorous, virtual holiday “postcard”. You don’t have to be a graphic design expert, just someone with a fantastic sense of humor!
All holiday postcards submitted will be featured on Victor’s Village. On top of that, we’re giving away an awesome prize to the creator of our favorite design!
1. BE FUNNY!
2. You can theme your holiday card after ANY winter holiday (including one you just made up, if you wish) or in just a general “Happy Holidays” format.
3. If you include photos of specific characters that have already been cast in the films, you must use the actor cast as the character! We get it: You wanted someone else to play Katniss or Peeta or Peacekeeper #56. But they’re not, so deal.
4. To keep things from getting too big and crazy, keep all holiday cards 600w x 350h or smaller!
5. All entries must be sent to email@example.com no later than Monday, December 23! The Victor’s Village staff will pick our favorites and announce the grand prize winner soon after!
- Catching Fire Fan Camp poster signed by Willow Shields
- One copy of The Panem Companion by V. Arrow
- Mellark Bakery poster by Blueleaf Creative
CONTEST #2 – DISTRICT PHOTO CONTEST
No matter where you live, you’ve probably seen glimpses of Districts! We want you to take a photo of the “district views” in your neck of the woods and let the world see how you view the districts or The Capitol!
1. The photo must be an original taken by you. Anything else will be disqualified.
2. No Photoshop! If you want to get creative, stick to the Holiday Card Contest!
3. The photo does not have to represent the District you live in, according to the books. So if you live in Europe and take a photo of something that reminds you of District 12, enter it!
4. All entries must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Friday, December 27! The photos will be voted on by the viewers starting December 28. The winner will be announced December 31!
In order to score spots in the prestigious fan camp area of the Hunger Games: Catching Fire red carpet, I, along with the rest of the staff of Welcome to District 12, stayed two nights on Chick Hearn Ct. outside of the Nokia Theatre in LA Live.
Saturday started at 5:30AM, leaving early to make it to our 8:30 check in time with all of our stuff.
Our fansite friends, including fellow Victor’s Village staff members The Girl With The Pearl and Them There Eyes, arrived soon.
Good thing too since Willow Shields and Stephanie Leigh Schlund came to sign posters for fans.
There was also that Kindle Fire booth from the mall tour where we could take our pictures with Katniss.
After grabbing dinner, everyone took their camping chairs and blankets from the camping area to the square to watch the first Hunger Games movie. It was a pretty cool way to watch this movie we’ve seen so many times, considering it was a Saturday night and they were playing the movie in the midst of people heading to clubs and fancy restaurants.
The next day proved to be a big one, with even more Catching Fire people coming to sign posters for fans. We got to meet Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Jeffrey Wright, Josh Hutcherson, and Francis Lawrence, who are all awesome.
Throughout the day, the KIIS FM booth ran contests and giveaways, even a scavenger hunt that cause a kid to run up to us frantically asking for a belt (we thought at first he was trying to sell us one). The day ended with a dinner with the fansite runners that was delicious and fun.
At 5 AM the next day, we were all woken up by security to pack up and vacate at 6AM so they could set up completely for the red carpet later that day. Overall, the weekend was a lot of fun, and I would definitely camp again. It was great to be with the fans and to bond with others excited about The Hunger Games.
We won’t talk about the movie! We won’t talk about the movie! Won’t talk about it! Won’t! But OH MY GOODNESS, WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE. Some of you are seeing it right now (!!!!!!!!) and others are on their way to the theater soon, so we’ll keep our mouths zipped until then!
So let’s talk about something awesome, but also less spoiler-y. We attended the freaking Catching Fire premiere!
The title quote came from a teenage boy we encountered while walking from our hotel to Nokia LA Live, where Catching Fire Fan Camp was held, in our Victor’s Village t-shirts. We were less than a mile away, but apparently if you’re less than a few blocks away, you’re in an interesting section of town! Who knew? However, it may have been worth it for that quote!
Without getting into too much detail (because other VV writers will later), Fan Camp was a blast! I met both Them There Eyes and Twiffidy, along with several other fansite friends, for the very first time and all of them were incredibly fun! It feels so good to geek out with others who understand what it’s all about.
And then… PREMIERE DAY!
Let’s preface this by reminding everyone that I am from Boston. The city may get referred to as “Hollywood East” thanks to all the recent filming in the area, but what happened on November 18 felt just about as far from my hometown state-of-mind as I could get.
For starters, we had our own prep team! We headed to Capella Salon in Studio City, where Tate, Brendan, and Tina, the very talented friends of Amie and Sheila from HG Girl on Fire, made us premiere ready. It was all very Capitol, which I chose to embrace it for the day and just allow myself to get girly! Mostly because it’s kind of nice to have someone mold your unruly hair into perfection and then declare it “so Hunger Games.” I HAVE MY WEAKNESSES.
This was quickly followed by that dress I begged my fashionable friend to help me shop for before leaving and my killer red heels– No seriously, when I woke up to catch my flight home on Wednesday, I was pretty certain I would being losing my right foot in the name of the Catching Fire premiere.
We were asked to take part in the Yahoo! Catching Fire livestream, which seemed really cool even though we didn’t quite know what it entailed. Turns out not having your phone on the red carpet for security purposes and not knowing exactly where to meet Lionsgate reps to go on air don’t mix well, but after half-running around a building in said killer heels, we made it into the red carpet! There’s I proceeded to do the “I don’t know what to do with my hands” dance in front of an international audience at about the 7 minute mark. The questions were mostly what I expected them to be, which is pretty simplistic as to not be spoiler-filled. It’s hard not to look like a vapid fangirl when answering those types of questions, but we pulled it off okay!
SKIPPING THE MOVIE. Because because because I have to. I’m doing this for your own good!
The after party. It was something out of this world. Them There Eyes always says “If you’re going to go Capitol, GO CAPITOL.” Well, they listened. The party took place in a giant tent with the Mockingjay symbol lit up on top. The entrance was a red carpet surrounded by timpani drummers like those used during the Tribute Parade scene. Lights shined down and danced around the room. White roses floated in massive glass columns and lined the walls in fancy bouquets. For a better visual, check out this video!
I spent most of the after party gawking alongside Arianna and Aldrin of Down With The Capitol. At one point, we realized we were a few feet away from Francis Lawrence. We wanted to thank him, but there’s this funny thing in Hollywood where almost everyone but us had no real problem interrupting his previous conversation to grab him and start a new one. We literally stood two feet from Francis for about 20 minutes before getting a chance to say something without completely interrupting a previous conversation, which could have been with studio reps, for all we know. We thanked him for the what he did with the movie (we think we will too, once you see it!) and he seemed so genuinely pleased to hear we liked it, which was brilliant.
Also stopping to have a brief chat with Francis was Alan Ritchson. To confirm all your suspicions: Yes. He is, in fact, a real life Ken doll. It’s like he’s right out of Life-Size, guys!
We caught Bruno Gunn by the bar, where he was drinking water and I was drinking liquid courage. He talked to us about loving the books and why he chooses to be so active among the fans. It comes down to this: This man really recognizes what a wonderful, unique experience this is and he wants to delve into every moment of it. He was so enthusiastic about the fan base that it kind of blew my mind. It’s not something you see everyday.
Then we saw the crowd. There were two couches forming a circle and in the middle of it all, Sam Claflin. But not just Sam! He was accompanied by Stef Dawson, who will play Annie in the Mockingjay films! For the record, Stef is so small and adorable. She looks so young that I maaaaaay have mistaken her for some rich execs’ little daughter at first. Shhhhhh! But she was just about the sweetest thing ever and now we’re even more excited to see her in Mockingjay!
It took a lot of patience, but eventually we were able to snap a photo with them and talk. Poor Sam was obviously exhausted, but he handled the social aspects like a champ: Talking about the movie, giving love to the fanbase on behalf of the whole cast and telling us how bummed he was that we couldn’t meet the other leads (who were whisked away to promotional gigs on the other side of the country almost immediately after finishing with the red carpet). He joked about not being hot enough, to which Amie calmly replied “I’m going to give you a minute to take that back.” I admitted to him that some parts of the movie had me physically shaking (a bit embarrassing, in hindsight) and he cheered “Then we did our job!”
We know that celebrities are just people, but they’re people who don’t normally talk to me. So it was really freaking cool and also surprisingly intimidating, even though they’re all really nice.
We didn’t find out until after the fact that Suzanne Collins was also in attendance. From wherever you are reading this right now, you can probably hear our hearts breaking into a thousand tiny pieces. She’s the one person we REALLY need to thank, since she inspired all this from the very beginning. We think she already knows, though.
We get jaded about the fandom sometimes, we’ll admit it! It’s not perfect, for sure, but we are so damn lucky to be a part of it. Not just because of “perks” like these, but because the fansites were able to share it all together. This fandom has so many amazing people in it. Some of them are (semi) untouchable actors, sure. But some of them are you and I.
Thanks For Always Making This Worth It,
The Girl With The Pearl
P.S. There’s a couple more after party photos under the cut!
Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch Clip
Facebook Live Event
Jennifer Lawrence and Francis Lawrence Tumblr Chat