The late and acclaimed Hollywood actor Philip Seymour Hoffman makes a small, but meaningful, appearance in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.
When Hoffman passed away unexpectedly almost two years ago from a drug overdose, he was halfway through filming his role in the final two Hunger Games films. The actor played a major role in the films as game maker-cum-resistance leader Plutarch Heavensbee.
When he died, Hoffman had almost completed his work on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, which was released back in November 2014. However, a final scene between his character and Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, was as yet unfilmed.
— Scott Meslow (@scottmeslow) November 19, 2015
Many wondered how the director, Francis Lawrence, would handle the sudden passing of an actor who was playing such a significant role in the films, with many speculating they would have to resort to a combination of CGI effects and stand-ins to place Hoffman in that final scene and other Hunger Games scenes he had not yet completed.
In the case of an Oscar-winning and four-time-nominated actor who has often been called the finest actor of his generation, this was a tricky situation indeed and had to be handled just right.
As reported by the Inquisitr, posters for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 clearly showed Hoffman standing proud and tall in his role as Heavensbee. Naturally, with most of his work on that film already complete, everything went ahead quite nicely, with the actor appearing in the film as normal.
As reported in that article, after Hoffman’s death, director Francis Lawrence said they would use no CGI or robotic versions of the actor in the two films.
“We finished the majority of his work. I think he might have had eight to 10 days left on our schedule. In most of those scenes, Phil didn’t have any dialogue. We are going to put him into those scenes, but we’re only using real footage. We’re not creating anything digital or a robotic version of him.”
With The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Lawrence decided to rework the script so that the critical exchange where Heavensbee offers parting wisdom to Katniss at the film’s conclusion would now be in the form of a letter, read to her by Haymitch Abernathy (played by Woody Harrelson). While that might seem a rather awkward solution to the problem for fans of the Hunger Games franchise, this apparently did carry a special resonance for the cast and crew.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) November 20, 2015
Lawrence told the Los Angeles Times the scene in the Hunger Games finale “added an extra layer of emotion to the experience.”
Lawrence added, “To be shooting this scene that has this meaning, that’s important for the movie in terms of thematics and ideas, and was a scene that Philip was supposed to do… And also to end, after such a long time when we’ve been away from home for so long, with the lines, ‘What now?’ ‘We go home.’ It was really just strange and poignant.”
Lawrence told USA Today in a recent interview he would have liked Philip Seymour Hoffman’s role to be larger, saying, “Because obviously, there’s not quite enough of him in it.”
While in the final scheme of things, Hoffman’s appearance in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 was limited to only a few moments, both the actor’s memory and presence was firmly embedded in the film. A scene from Mockingjay Part 1 featuring Hoffman is included below.
[Photo by Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images Entertainment]