The Hunger Games are again, and it is a return to type for the franchise. As The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes hits the plenty this week, might the percentages be ever in your favor of lasting the 157-minute size with no toilet break. At least a gifted solid, catchy songs, and occasional humor will assist hold you glued to your seat. It’s directed by Francis Lawrence, who additionally helmed Catching Fire and the 2 Mockingjay installments. The acclaimed new Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes characteristic is anticipated to high the field workplace this weekend, and we not too long ago caught up with the veteran filmmaker to be taught extra in regards to the newest entry in The Hunger Games universe.
Exploring a Villain’s Origin Story
Just like Harry Potter and different hit franchises, it began with the books. Suzanne Collins has continued to put in writing novels for The Hunger Games saga, with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes hitting the cabinets in 2020. “Coming again was actually thrilling,” Lawrence informed us. “I feel it was a shock for each Nina [Jacobson, producer] and I that Suzanne wrote one other e-book. She did not inform us that she was planning on it. She solely informed us when she was virtually finished, and we learn it and liked it. And we have been simply prepared to leap in.”
Lawrence continued to element the largest hurdles in bringing this recent new content material to life on the massive display screen:
“I feel the brand new problem was: It was very a lot a Hunger Games film however a really, very totally different sort of narrative. We’re doing a villain’s origin story. And I feel that the enjoyable problem was actually ensuring that we will get the viewers behind and rooting for and empathizing with the man that they know is the villain and the antagonist from the opposite films. But it was a enjoyable problem and tremendous thrilling.”
Lawrence additionally reunited with an Oscar-winning screenwriter for this newest Hunger Games characteristic: Michael Arndt, who additionally lent his masterful hand to business hits like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Toy Story 3. “We labored with Michael Arndt for an extended, lengthy whereas,” mentioned Lawrence. “He and I developed one thing a very long time in the past. And I simply love the way in which he works and the way in which he thinks, and he and Suzanne get alongside rather well. They’re each actual structuralists when it comes to narrative.”
Related: How Did The Hunger Games Start?
Given the novel’s 2020 launch date, the filmmakers began work on the script on the top of the pandemic. Lawrence shares, “We labored for a very long time, all by way of the pandemic, truthfully. There have been days and days and days the place we simply spent hours on the telephone and Zooms and issues. And then we additionally introduced in Michael Lesslie, who did the form of remaining draft after which was with us on set. And he additionally simply did an exceptional job.”
Enlisting Fresh, Young Actors Along with Veterans
Fans of the Hunger Games will acknowledge sure characters on this newest characteristic — however not the actors taking part in them. Since The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel, we see a brand-new solid, a brand new array of each youthful vitality and extra veteran, seasoned performers.
We needed to herald form of new sorts of younger, recent actors, which is sort of what occurred on the unique ones, after which fill the film in with form of legacy actors. And that is what we did right here.
When it involves veteran actors, it does not get a lot better than the legendary Viola Davis. Lawrence says, “When we received Viola — who I’ve a relationship with, we have been creating one thing else collectively — we had a fantastic Zoom and crammed her in on the thematics of the story and the way her character pertains to these themes and references for the character. And I feel she was simply actually excited to be in one thing business, very thematic, and to play a sort of function that she’s by no means actually finished earlier than. I feel she actually had enjoyable with it.”
Related: Explained: The History of Panem from The Hunger Games
In addition to EGOT-winner Viola Davis, Lawrence’s new movie is graced with two different acclaimed actors: Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) and Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore). Both are knockouts of their supporting roles and depart us wanting extra, particularly given Dinklage’s restricted display screen time. Speaking on the contributions of those sensible performers, Lawrence provides,
“[Peter] simply actually took to the function and took to the fabric and the thematics and that character, and he was actually sport, and identical with Jason Schwartzman. Actually, when he joined, we had a Zoom and I mentioned, ‘Look, I feel your character has been actually underwritten. Will you be part of me and the author and assist develop extra concepts and jokes and issues for the character?’ And so we spent plenty of time working collectively, and plenty of what you see within the film is definitely created by him.”
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is chock-full of thrilling sequences, each contained in the match and out. Watch out for the “snakes” which might be maybe extra clever than you may suppose, for instance. We needed to ask if Lawrence had a selected scene he was most happy with. “I do not wish to spoil an excessive amount of for folks, however there’s the bombing sequence, which was in all probability one of many extra difficult issues to shoot,” he informed us. “The snakes have been simpler to shoot, extra difficult when it comes to the form of visible results. I feel that took the longest of something within the film to get the form of visible results proper and to get that each one form of choreographed and dealing.”
From Lionsgate, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes hits theaters Friday, Nov. 17.