‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay’ Director Francis Lawrence Promises Two Distinct Stories

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is now less than 100 days from theatrical release and in a recent interview by Entertainment Weekly, the Mockingjay director Francis Lawrence talked about splitting the books and new surprises for book fans.

The final two Hunger Games movies are split into two parts and are based upon the novel Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. The location of the story’s split has been a hot topic of conversation for Hunger Games fans for months. Unfortunately, Lawrence remained tight lipped about the exact location of the split, instead opting to tease fans by saying it will be “one of the really good surprises” of the films.

Lawrence stated that there wouldn’t be any major changes to the book’s story, “Instead of changing the plot and changing characters what we did was have the opportunity to show scenes that could have been happening at different times in the book.” The Hunger Games books are told solely from the perspective of protagonist Katniss Everdeen, somewhat limiting the scope in which readers can experience the story.

“For us it’s world expansion instead of changing things. I think it’s exciting for the fan[s] to see certain things. So we’ve been able to open the world up in this and see some new places. We get to see some new districts this time and the scope gets quite large.”

Many stories have a love triangle, and The Hunger Games is no different. Francis Lawrence acknowledged that there were some challenges with the love triangle story for Mockingjay. “With Mockingjay – Part 1 it’s tricky because Peeta is out of reach for her. Obviously he becomes an objective for her, but Gale is right there, so that’s always a tricky situation.”

Showing that he understands the importance of the message of the books, Lawrence assured fans that he’s very motivated to bring that across accurately in Mockingjay. “This is where the meaning of the entire [Hunger Games] series comes into play. The answer to why these books exist exists in Mockingjay, and that’s really been exciting to me. That’s been kind of what I’ve hung on to through these stories.”

Lawrence also talked about how actress Julianne Moore approached the studio about the role because of her kids’ interest in The Hunger Games. Moore will play District 13’s President Alma Coin on both Mockingjay films. “She didn’t audition. Once we knew she wanted it, that was it—done,” Lawrence says, laughing. “I sat down with her, she had great ideas, we got along and that was it.”

Marketing for the first film has begun to ramp up, with the first still of Katniss released last week and the teaser trailer released at San Diego Comic Con last month.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 hits theaters November 21, 2014.