Exclusive: Interview with Francis Lawrence at Tennessee Screening Friday 22 November, 2013



On behalf of
Hunger Games Fireside Chat, Hunter Phillips attended the Tennessee Benefit Screening of Catching Fire and interviewed Francis Lawrence. Check out his thoughts and video below!

I’ve ridden through the Appalachian Mountains many times — but traveling through them this time, through the very same geographic area where District 12 is said to exist in The Hunger Games trilogy, was a completely different experience. I felt as if I was on the train to the Capitol from District 12, on my way to meet the most influential people of Panem, on my way to the craze and glamor of that city — and in a sense, I was.

On Tuesday evening, November 19, I was given the incredible opportunity to attend the Tennessee Benefit Screening of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire! Regal Entertainment Group partners with Variety, The Children’s Charity every year at the Regal Pinnacle in Knoxville, bringing a star or two from the film they premiere to the event. The profit from the screening goes to the charity, which in turn helps children around the world with special needs. It’s a wonderful organization.

Liam Hemsworth and Francis Lawrence attended the screening, drawing fans from all over. The red carpet was rolled out for them, the media anxiously awaited their opportunity to briefly speak with each of them (we were told two questions each), and the crowd went wild in a Capitolesque frenzy of screams – in particular, “Marry me, Liam!” and one apparently very passionate fangirl shouted, “Liam, my husband is out of town this week!” I’ve got to say, that evoked quite a few laughs!

Mine and Matt’s interview with Francis almost didn’t happen! He was literally walking into the cinema when I said, pretty loudly, “Francis!” to call him back to the red carpet for an interview. That’s not too big of a faux pas, right? Right. He had some great remarks.

‘Hunger Games’ Fireside Chat:

“From what I’ve seen so far of the trailers and TV spots, the feel of ‘Catching Fire’ is much broader, much more aesthetically pleasing than ‘Hunger Games.’ Is that from your direction or from the story itself?”

Francis Lawrence:

“Well, I think it’s both. The story is what influenced my direction. And so, you know, it’s definitely a story where the world opens up. I love to build worlds, so when I took the job on, one of the things I wanted to do even if we didn’t go anywhere new, it was I wanted to see more of the world. So I wanted to see more of District 12, we had a chance to see more of the Capitol, a brand new arena, newer districts, you know, so it was really fun to kind of expand the world.”

‘Hunger Games’ Fireside Chat:

“Obviously, production is underway with ‘Mockingjay’ now, and is it going to maintain the feel of the first two films? Or is it going to have a distinctively different feel as it does in the books?”

Francis Lawrence:

“I mean, it does have a little bit of a distinctively different feel just because we’re in different environments and I think that because of that, the people feel different, their clothing feels different, the environment. So yeah, there’s a slightly different feel, yeah. But not reinventing anything necessarily.”

Liam actually skipped most of the press (including all of the fansites), so we did not get to interview him, unfortunately. I’m sure he was thoroughly exhausted from the European tour and the Los Angeles premiere!

As far as the film goes, it is everything The Hunger Games wasn’t. My reaction to Hunger Games was, “Yeah, that was a good movie!” My reaction the Catching Fire? “Wow. That was a great film.” Another difference was that I could speak after watching Hunger Games — after Catching Fire, words actually wouldn’t come out of my mouth.

Thanks so much to Savanna and Adam at Hunger Games Fireside Chat for allowing me to represent them at the screening — it is an experience I will not soon forget! Also, a huge thanks to Matt and Jeff Francis, my cameraman and editor, for joining me in this unexpected journey.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

You can follow Hunter on Twitter at @PhillipsHunter.


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