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The third installment of The Hunger Games franchise, Mockingjay — Part 1, primarily takes place in the rediscovered District 13. But the Los Angeles premiere of the film looked less like the subterranean military encampment and more like a glitzy Capitol cocktail party.
Sitting atop gold and white pillars were cauldrons of fire, all of which lined the glossy white walkway that acted as the night’s red carpet, where Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks and Donald Sutherland were joined by new castmembers including Julianne Moore and Natalie Dormer. Armored Capitol guards stood in front of the bleachers of fans, many of whom whistled the Mockingjay call as the stars walked by on their way into the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live, where the screening was taking place.
When asked what it was like to re-create District 13 for the screen, producer Nina Jacobson told The Hollywood Reporter: “We were always in parking lots and basements and warehouses.”
While Catching Fire boasted Hawaii as one of its shooting locations, much of Mockingjay’s principal photography took place in a far less tropical climate. Jacobson explained, “We were always in these cold, dank places during one of the coldest winters in Atlanta ever, so we really knew how the people of District 13 felt.”
On the unique filming conditions, actor Sam Claflin (who plays Finnick) said, “Everyone was trying to have fun but at the same time they realized the depressing nature of the scenes.” He then rationalized: “But at the same time we had Jennifer Lawrence on set, and she managed to put a smile on everyone’s face.”
Decorated with building rubble, steel-accented furniture and President Snow’s white roses, the afterparty had more of a distinct District 13 feel than the carpet. Lawrence, Hutcherson and many more of the movie’s stars were noticeably absent from the event, which was held on the L.A. Live event deck overlooking downtown Los Angeles. But several of the film’s other stars were in attendance, including Jena Malone, who plays the feisty victor Johanna Mason, as well as Jeffrey Wright, who plays the technologically adept Beetee.
THR talked to Wright on the carpet about how he has enjoyed working on a franchise that has such a strong, central female heroine and a passionate fan base. He said: “Many of [the fans] are young girls who don’t have heroes like Katniss by the dozens, so you really want to protect their sense of propriety over these characters and really want to serve them well.”
When asked why Lawrence makes such a good Katniss, Jacobson reasoned that “she just speaks from the heart and does what she feels is right to her, and then people identify with her authenticity.”
The producer added: “She doesn’t know how to be fake. She doesn’t know how to phone it in.”
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 is due out in theaters Nov. 21. See more pictures from the premiere here.
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