I'm a film director. Just did The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, as well as I Am Legend, Water For Elephants, before that I did music videos and commercials for about fifteen years. I'm here with Victoria from reddit during my jaunt around the world for The Hunger Games to take your questions. Ask me anything.


Quite honestly, thank you for all the support. It's amazing to join something that has such an incredible fan base. It has energized and comforted me and I thank you. I have to stop answering questions now, but thank you.

Comments: 2523 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

brianstk2044 karma

I appreciated you showing the hovers grabbing the bodies! Missed that in the first movie. In the book I loved the visual of it.

FrancisLawrence1126 karma

Thank you!

FrancisLawrence1550 karma

It was important to set up in this movie because of the ending. One had to feel…


Because one has to feel when Katniss is being pulled up by the claw that she is being taken by the Capitol.

gunslingrburrito1424 karma

Is Jennifer Lawrence as quirky and fun on set as she is when making public appearances?

FrancisLawrence1696 karma

Yes. Absolutely.

t2b1231322 karma

The movie was absolutely phenomenal. Everytime Caesar Flickerman was on the screen I couldnt help smiling and laughing and then horrified that for just a moment I was sucked into it all. For just a moment the whole thing became entertaining and lighthearted. How did you approach depicting the people and leaders of the Capitol so that they were both the villains of the story but also still victims of their circumstance?

FrancisLawrence1564 karma

That's a good question. The trick is, when you're approaching a character, whether they are an antagonist or a protagonist, I think I always try to approach them as if they are the hero of their own story, and I try to never judge them, and think from their point of view. And so I think (as screwed up as it sounds) Donald's character President Snow or Stanley's character Caesar Flickerman think they are doing the right thing. And I think that helps.

aguabend1293 karma

Will Haymitch's backstory be mentioned in Mockingjay?

FrancisLawrence1030 karma

Not sure yet.

Sirskills1088 karma

Holy crap, an AMA and I'm here early. Better make this count. Love the movies and books, so... What did you have for breakfast?

FrancisLawrence1186 karma

Today I had a croissant in Berlin at the airport, one more croissant in Paris, and then nothing until I landed here in New York. Today was a flying day. So no official breakfast.

lizzieytish1003 karma

Hi. I wanted to know what was the reasoning behind leaving out the scene where Plutarch shows his watch to Katniss during the ball?

And what was the reasoning for completely changing the type of cat use for Buttercup? Yes, the THG: CF cat was closer to the correct type for Buttercup but he'd already been established as a different cat in the first movie.

FrancisLawrence1538 karma

There's a very easy reason. We shot the watch, we tried the watch in the cut, and we took it out. Because we don't have the option of having Katniss wonder and doubt the meaning of the watch in the film, it becomes way too clear what the watch means in the movie, and that would have been a mistake.

This was a request by both Suzanne Collins and Nina Jacobson that they wanted the cat situation to be fixed, to cast the appropriate looking cat, and I was happy to oblige.

Mrs_Damon991 karma

Hey Francis! I have to say, I thought Catching Fire would be alright like its predecessor, but holy bananas. It was MAGNIFICENT and that is greatly thanks to your direction. J-Law was pretty good too :)

Since death is such a huge theme in the film, I was wondering if you could have any quote from any film written on your tombstone, what would that quote be?

FrancisLawrence827 karma

"Or maybe it was Utah" from Raising Arizona.

pikkopots816 karma

Judging by Catching Fire, you seem like a really faithful fan of the books. What's your own personal favorite scene from the book and was there one favorite you wanted to bring to the screen but for whatever reason, couldn't make it work?

FrancisLawrence1228 karma

Again I've always been attracted to the first stop on the Victory tour. I think that's where the story really kicks into another gear and you start to understand that the stakes are far greater than just Katniss's. And there were some scenes with Peeta and Katniss on the roof of the Tribute center that I always liked from the book that we were unable to get into the film.

tinysaurus676 karma

I'm a huge fan of both the novels and the film adaptations of the Hunger Games trilogy – one of the most special parts of the series to me is Katniss' deep connection to music in the novels.

Are there plans to feature Katniss' musical interactions with the mockingjays in the coming films? (i.e. will she be singing "The Hanging Tree" like she does in the novels?)

FrancisLawrence1029 karma

I don't want to give anything away, but I will say it's one of my favorite scenes in the book.

rubywings649 karma

Will we ever see the story behind the second Quarter Quell in the movies?

THANK YOU for doing such beautiful justice to this series

FrancisLawrence615 karma

Hard to say. I would love to be able to tell that story.

sergibby612 karma

What do you think will be the biggest challenge while filming Mockingjay?

FrancisLawrence1136 karma

It's a tough story emotionally for Katniss, whereas the first two films have been far more straightforward in terms of Katniss' emotional arc, tracking her emotional trajectory is my greatest challenge.

Bebo3476 karma

Hello and welcome to Reddit. I absolutely loved Catching Fire! So here's my question:

How did you manage to get such emotion in the movie? I was paralyzed the whole time because I didn't know how to feel. It was also a terrific book adaptation!

FrancisLawrence462 karma

Wow, how did I get emotion is a pretty tricky question. I think that I personally felt emotional towards the subject material. I emotionally connect to the characters in the movie and the situations they become involved in, so instinctually I shoot them in ways that make me feel the way I do when I read the story. It's hard to break an emotional scene down technically. But I will say that I think most of it has to do with the investment that one has with the characters, especially Katniss, and allowing time to sit and be with them as people while they're onscreen.

Frajer441 karma

Why did she have to eat that bacon in I Am Legend? He was saving that bacon

FrancisLawrence503 karma

I agree! This is why Neville got so pissed. He was saving that bacon.

That was the stuff I loved in that movie, the psychological damage that somebody has living by themselves for so long without any human interaction, you start to take on weird traits and habits. You'd think that someone would be so welcoming to someone in their house, but that would not necessarily be how someone would react after being alone for three years.

JZubaran411 karma

Hello! First of all, as a big fan of the books I must say I really appreciate (and am aware of how lucky this fandom is) having a director that really seems to understand and admire the story and the message in the saga. So, thank you!

Now, regarding Mockingjay: In CF you have already managed to show the Capitol "behind the cameras" with the added scenes of Plutarch, Snow and his granddaughter (excellent touch, by the way). In Mockingjay, how do you plan to achieve this balance of what Katniss can and can't see, does and doesn't know, specially now that she's so excluded in the far, underground District 13?

FrancisLawrence542 karma

Well we will be taking the same approach that we did with Catching Fire in terms of world growth. Like the scenes with Plutarch and Snow that did not existing in the book, there will be moments like that in Mockingjay, and even a slight more opportunity for that kind of growth because we've split the book into two separate movies. So there should be plenty of surprises for people that really know the books. What I WILL say is the rule for us, because the stories are so Katniss-centric, that whenever you cut away, it always has to be about Katniss. Either somebody talking about her, thinking about her, or seeing something that has happened or is happening because of her. It always has to be connected to Katniss, even if she's not there.

JZubaran245 karma

Thank you so much for the answer!

If it wouldn't be too bothersome, I just have another question: how is Katniss' realization of her love for Peeta (not just as silly teenage love affair, but her love for him as a person, her love for the peace he represents) being approached in Mockingjay? I understand it's a difficult relationship to portray, being that in the books the public has complete access to Katniss' feelings and even she isn't sure about her feelings.

FrancisLawrence850 karma

That's a very complicated question and I think that quite honestly the thing that interests me the most about her relationships with Gale and Peeta is that they're completely organic to the situations. That in the beginning of Catching Fire, she wants to forget her time in the games and go on with her regular life, which means she will be pushing herself away from Peeta because he's a reminder of the Games, and growing closer to her childhood friend Gale because he reminds her of home. But when she's thrown back into the Games, she's pulled away from Gale and pushed back towards Peeta, because she finds comfort in him having shared the trauma of the Games. But I never, for one minute, think that she sits around debating who she likes better.

She doesn't have time for it.

And the same will be true for Mockingjay.

Nertasher394 karma

Am I even doing this right? I have no idea how to use reddit

FrancisLawrence560 karma

Neither do I.

landita390 karma

Hi Francis! What was the most difficult scene? why?

FrancisLawrence869 karma

Anything around the water in the Arena was probably the most difficult to shoot because we shot a lot of that in Atlanta at a water park and it was nearing winter and very cold, and the water was 40 degrees, and so the actors had to spend some time in the water and it was very brutal. Just working around water is tough to begin with. It was supposed to be a tropical setting and there would be some mornings when we'd show up to work and there would be frost covering the set.

unseentides367 karma

Do you plan/how do you intend to tackle the backstories of the other tributes in Mockingjay, such as Finnick? His Capitol history is especially tragic and I am intrigued to see how it's handled on the big screen.

Thank you for a superb film, Francis.

FrancisLawrence492 karma

Thanks. We will definitely get a sense of Finnick's backstory in Mockingjay, I just don't want to divulge how, but there are very specific scenes where we learn about his past.

helpmefindnemo5357 karma

Just wondering why there was no other mention of 'the baby' during the games. In the books Peeta was suppposed to play up the whole 'star crossed lovers....with a baby'. Other than that, the movie was spot on! Totally impressed!

FrancisLawrence582 karma

There's a few moments in the book where the baby gets brought up again, usually in a sarcastic manner and usually by Finnick. And it was scripted, but it was cut, usually during rehearsals, because we found that when approaching a scene and trying a scene that is scary and where the stakes are life and death, it was hard to work in humor in those moments and maintain any sense of reality. So some of those moments were cut.

Etienne209354 karma

Will we get Catching Fire bloopers on the DVD? :)

FrancisLawrence792 karma

Oh man, I wish! Jen is always after me for a blooper reel. There would be a lot of funny stuff that would happen before "Action" and after Cut, Jen would always be falling… She is still mad at me that the editors never put together a blooper reel for Catching Fire, but we could probably have a good one for Mockingjay, and we've only been shooting for five weeks.

logicatch345 karma

As a director, how did you approach taking over the Hunger Games franchise from Gary Ross? Did you feel an obligation to be respectful to choices Ross made in the first movie and continue that style, or do you try to distance yourself from it and proceed with your own vision?

FrancisLawrence632 karma

The decision to take on a sequel was probably the thing I had to think about the most. I had never taken on a sequel or taken on an episode of television where I did not create the pilot. So I knew there would be certain parameters I would need to exist within. So I re-read the book, and very quickly saw that there was going to be plenty of room for me to grow, and although I was going to stick to certain aesthetic choices Gary had made so the world would feel the same, I felt that Catching Fire offered me a lot of opportunities to grow and to create and to world-build. So I found it quite easy to take on this sequel. I inherited an unbelievable cast. I got to add a bunch of new amazing actors to the mix. I got to build a brand-new arena. I got to create new portions of the Capitol, New Districts, see District 12 in a brand-new way and especially see the characters themselves grow and change.

jcb0507314 karma

Congrats on the film, you and the crew did a great job! What would be your weapon of choice if you were in the hunger games?

FrancisLawrence852 karma

Hiding like the Morphling.

WoundedWarsong290 karma

Hi Lawrence! Saw the film couple a days ago, fan of the books.

I just wanted to mention that the final closeup of the film on Jennifer's face was so haunting that I have not been able to get it out of my head. I need to see it again! Was there anything about the final scene / shot that is noteworthy in mentioning or sharing? Thanks!

FrancisLawrence554 karma


The scene at the end of the film is straight out of the book, and was scripted (dialogue included) pretty much straight out of the book (maybe one additional line), and Katniss' response at the end of the scene was to break down in the book. And partway through shooting the scene, I caught a glimpse of Jen doing something different. I saw that she started to break down, and then shifted into anger, and defiance, and I liked it, I thought it was better, and I then came up with the idea of the final shot looking straight down with her look nearly into the lens for the final moment. So the ending beat of the film was a circumstance of happy, on-set accidents.

games820264 karma

Can we have a hint as to where you're going to end Part 1 of Mockingjay?

FrancisLawrence524 karma

No way!

jzzsxm254 karma

If the Lawrence were a unit of measure, what would it measure?

FrancisLawrence403 karma

It depends. Does this mean in terms of a Francis unit, or a Jennifer unit, because I think they measure completely different things.

This is such a creative question!

I think I would measure the amount of sweat on somebody's palm.

whenpushcomestoshove239 karma

Gale is my favorite character in the series (an unpopular opinion, I’m sure), and I’m worried about his portrayal in the Mockingjay films. Many fans who prefer Katniss and Peeta together disregard, even discard, Gale and villify him for a reason book readers can infer. I think that view has always been unfair to who he is as a character and what his motivations are.

I was wondering how he will be presented in Mockingjay - will it be a nuanced depiction, just as the message in the book is about war and collateral damage? Or will he be villified for simplicity’s sake? (I think that’d be a disgustingly gross cop-out.)

FrancisLawrence452 karma

No, I think it will be a nuanced depiction. But I think what people are picking up on is that both Peeta and Gale begin to represent very different ideals as the story progresses. Peeta starts to speak for peace, and Gale starts to speak for war, and both believe that their path is the right path, and each of those paths has consequences.

TheBitterParade234 karma

Do you think Jennifer Lawrence is the key to world peace?

FrancisLawrence398 karma

No, I doubt it. She's great though.

getyourcellon217 karma

Did you or any of the cast pull any great pranks while on set? Which was the most fun? Also, thanks for making a cool movie!

FrancisLawrence742 karma

There were lots of pranks onset. Josh is a great one for pulling pranks. But I think the best one was pulled by Jeffrey Wright who plays Beetee. This was after Jen won her Oscar. Jeffrey got a box from Tiffany & Co. and pretended to give her a present for winning the wayward, but inside the box was actually a bunch of crickets. And Jen is terrified of pretty much any kind of bug, and so she opened the box thinking Jeffrey had been really sweet and gotten her a piece of jewelry as a congratulatory gift but instead it was a whole mess of crickets!

Izze-bizzle214 karma

How hard is it to film a scene that is going to be 90% special effects? How do you know when the actors do well enough when you can't actually see the effects until later?

FrancisLawrence377 karma

Well you have to know the specific emotional value you're going for in the scene, you have to communicate to the actors as best you can what they are doing, seeing and how they are interacting with what's not there, and you have to be very carefully tracking what you're feeling from the actors. So when you shoot a sequence like the monkey fight over the course of seven days, it's a bit easy for the actors to become complacent in their choreography over those seven days, so it could start to look like they are anticipating where the monkeys are coming from or they're not as scared, so the thing to watch is the urgency and the fear to make sure that is maintained properly throughout the sequence.

Dave_Kun202 karma

Hi! thank you for taking your time on doing this AMA

Questions: Was it you who cleverly thought of placing that batman/superman poster in I am Legend? and what where the challenges behind changing so much from the book?

Also, what's it like working with Jennifer Lawrence?

FrancisLawrence532 karma

No, that was Akiva Goldsman the producer and writer of I Am Legend, who actually wrote a draft of Batman/Superman way back in the day for (I think) Wolfgang Peterson at Warner Bros. We had created Times Square for Will Smith to go running through, and we thought it would be fun to put that up, and he got permission from Warner Brothers.

There were no challenges in that we were truly making an adaptation, we were taking ideas from the book and expanding them. The regret that I have and have had since the opening of the movie is not just doing the book, especially the ending, because we should have done the ending. But I was really in love with the idea of telling a story about the last man on earth, which is why I think the first hour of the movie really works and the last 30-40 minutes doesn't work as well because I spent most of my time focusing on the psychological aspects of a guy who has spent 3 years living by himself having lost nearly everything.

Jen is awesome. She truly is. She's a great girl, she's really fun, she's really funny, she's very down to earth, she's super-humble and extremely talented and I work with her more than anybody on set because she works pretty much every day, and she never ceases to surprise me with her performance and her choices but never takes herself seriously and she's very endearing because of it.

sammmmtan179 karma

Congrats on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I was very impressed with the overall movie, as Catching Fire is probably my favorite story of all three books (not my favorite book though). Anyways, how was it like to work with such a talented cast? They seem like they have such great chemistry on and off screen.

FrancisLawrence211 karma

They definitely have great chemistry both on and offscreen and it was a pleasure to work with them all. I've never inherited a cast before, so I was very nervous when I first got the job and had to call all the various cast members and tell them how I was going to approach the film and introduce myself. But very quickly I was welcomed with open arms and warmth and enthusiasm, and became quite close with the cast quite quickly. I would say that on set, it's an amazing thing to be so friendly and comfortable with a large group of people and be surprised and amazed by the performances they give every day, especially Jen. She is truly amazing to watch.

FinnFan144 karma

What do you think Sam Claflin brought to the role of Finnick that made him stand out?

FrancisLawrence275 karma

I mean, to me, Sam has the looks, the beauty, the athleticism, the charm. But why I cast him was his emotional depth. Because I always knew where Finnick was going to go as a character, and what we were going to learn about him as the stories progressed, that drew me to Sam.

mchughtai93139 karma

Is Jennifer aware that half the internet idolizes her, and how does she response to it?

FrancisLawrence215 karma

She and I don't talk about that. I'm sure she has some awareness what the world thinks about her but she and I don't really talk about it.

bigfatimac125 karma

Hey Francis, big fan of all your work. How was it working with IMAX cameras on Catching Fire?

FrancisLawrence253 karma

The results are amazing. Working with them was tough. We were working in the rainforest, which is a tough environment anyway, but then lugging these two IMAX cameras around the rainforest wasn't easy. They are big, heavy, they run through film really quickly, and they are very loud, so all dialogue shot using IMAX cameras has to be replaced. So it's tough, and it's slow, but the results are amazing.

torchika123 karma

What was your reasoning for leaving Haymitch's hunger games out of the book? Will you try to make up for his characterization at all in Mockingjay?

FrancisLawrence169 karma

Time. Hard to say yet.

hkwan98 karma

If the cast members (not the characters they portray) were to be part of the Hunger Games, who do you think would win and how?

FrancisLawrence210 karma

I would say Josh or Liam. They are both really smart and both very athletic. Liam might have a little more brawn, but Josh is pretty fast and pretty damn smart.

FrancisLawrence619 karma

Jennifer is way too klutzy to actually survive.

Universal_Sigh97 karma

Catching Fire was a great movie and it followed the books nicely. On what part of the book do you plan on ending the next movie? If you can't say, may you give a few hints?

FrancisLawrence242 karma

No! No hints! C'mon.

DoNotHateMe90 karma

Hello. Thanks for doing this AMA! How do you go about keeping the movies accessible to fans of the books series? I guess what I mean by this is, the books are mainly written for pre-teens into high school ages, but is about an exceptionally violent subject. Were you always conscious of needing to try and translate this on to the big screen while still keeping it "PG" enough for some of the younger audiences?

Thanks again for doing the AMA, I really loved the way you filmed Catching Fire - especially the first half with the Victory Tour, etc.

FrancisLawrence271 karma

I would say that I think Suzanne, when she wrote the books, intended to write a book about the consequences of war for teenagers, but didn't treat teenagers like children. Which is why I think it appealed because I think teenagers can smell being treated like children a mile away. I also think that's why the book has crossed over into the adult world. But the target audience is teens, and so therefore I have to be cautious of the rating, but the truth is I am much more interested like the theme in the books in the consequences of violence rather than the act itself. I would rather focus on the emotional intensity or loss rather than the shock value, graphic quality or gore of it.

Sygma_87 karma

How has it been working with Ms. Collins, and how has she influenced the movies?

FrancisLawrence165 karma

Suzanne is amazing. The source material is the thing that drew me to the projects in the first place. When I got the job, the first thing that I did was fly to New York, initially to sit with her for a couple of hours and pick her brain about the world of the Hunger Games, just to immerse myself in the world as much as possible. But what ended up happening was that we ended up sitting in an office in her publisher's office for three days straight, going through the book and creating a beat-by-beat outline of what we thought the screenplay should be. Nina Jacobson (the producer) would pop in and out, and we would pitch her our ideas, and at the end of those 3 days we gave that outline to the writer, and let him get started.

bennywelch86 karma

Hi Francis, firstly I am a huge fan of both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire movies! My question is were you a big fan of the books when they came out in 2008? And were you expecting the films to become as popular as they have?

FrancisLawrence164 karma

I was a big fan of the books. I was actually making Water for Elephants when I read the first book. And I enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was a really interesting world, really great story and great characters, but no one can ever guess that something is going to be as big of a phenomenon as something like the Hunger Games series. You can never predict those things. You really can't. I imagine you can guess a little from book sales and the kind of book sales data that can gather, but you can't really predict it, it's a mixture of themes, ideas, stories, the cast that is in the movies, all of that somehow comes together and either creates magic or it doesn't.

WoburnWarrior84 karma

Big fan of the trilogy. Saw Catching Fire yesterday. My question is do have any plans for the white lizard mutts in Mockingjay yet? Thanks and great job so far.

FrancisLawrence184 karma

I do have plans! I do have a design. And I think they're going to be really scary.

InfiniteFilms79 karma

how did you break into the industry and get your first big job?

FrancisLawrence183 karma

Like I said earlier, I lucked into the music video business, and for a while I represented myself and was sending my work out to record companies trying to get work, and after doing about 8 jobs on my own, I got real representation at a music video production company, and then a year or two later started to get larger and larger work with real established artists. My first big break was doing an Aerosmith video for their song "I don't want to miss a thing."

Kornillious76 karma

What's the best part about your job? (And worst?)

FrancisLawrence251 karma

This may sound weird, but one of the favorite things about my job is location scouting. Because when you tell people you're with a film crew, almost anybody will let you in almost anywhere. And you can see the most incredible things that are off the beaten path or historical and hidden. It's like having a magical key. And I just feel so lucky and privileged to have seen some of the things that some people will never see. That is one of the most fulfilling things. Part of what's fulfilling about it is surprising. Many people would think it's having a successful movie or releasing a film, but to me the best part is the process, and one of my favorite things is that location scouting and getting to see those cool secret places.

The worst thing about my job is dealing with time, money, and schedules. And bad reviews.

Chernabogsays76 karma

Hey Francis, what was your favorite music video to direct?

FrancisLawrence245 karma

Lady Gaga's Bad Romance for a combination of reasons. I found it to be one of the most fruitful collaborations I ever had with an artist. She loves music videos as an art form and that really helps. I really liked the song, and she was working with an amazing stylist so we had really amazing clothes to deal with. And the video just seemed to come together really organically and seemed to connect to people in some odd way. Because I thought it was so weird and so out there, and yet so many people seemed to like it.

Close second would be Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me A River."

skoalbandit1575 karma


FrancisLawrence307 karma

Only 6 times?

The movie's been out since Thursday night! You should easily be at 9 or 10 viewings by now!

I would have to say that I loved shooting the entire movie, but I think the cast and crew got along so well and we spent half the movie shooting in Hawaii. The time spent shooting in Hawaii was really bonding and really fun, and we got to do a lot of amazing things together, so one of my favorite moments was when some of the cast and crew went swimming with sharks off the north coast of Oahu together.

terpsnfins33363 karma

Hi Francis, I got 3 questions for you:

  1. My girlfriend and I want to know what your favorite scene in Catching Fire was.
  2. How would I go about getting a kissing scene with Jennifer Lawrence in the next movie?
  3. Can I have her number?

FrancisLawrence151 karma

  1. Well I like a lot of the scenes in the movie but if I have to pick one, it's when Katniss and Peeta make their first stop on the Victory Tour in District 11 and Katniss gives the speech to Rue's family.

  2. Not possible. All parts are cast.

  3. No. But thanks for playing.

pugs878758 karma

Where is district 13 going to be set?

FrancisLawrence103 karma

We've already shot 5 weeks inside of District 13. We're shooting most of the movie in Atlanta, and a lot of it is sets.

Such_A_Nice_Guy57 karma

You've directed Constantine and I Am Legend, both of which were adapted from books (admittedly, I Am Legend was somewhat of a loose adaptation.) Is there something that you prefer about directing adapted screenplays? Any big differences from original scripts?

FrancisLawrence106 karma

The truth is I've never directed a film based on an original script. I would love to but it just so happens that the material I respond to comes from novels or graphic novels. And yes, I am Legend was very much more using the novella as inspiration rather than adaptation.

DoNotHateMe56 karma

Hi, Mr. Lawrence! Thanks for doing this AMA!

I have a lot of questions, but I'll just stick to this one. What are your thoughts on how movies are able to represent a story versus how TV can. It seems that these days, some of the very best visual and storytelling work is being done on television - à la Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, etc. I loved the work you did with the IMAX cameras to enhance the scenes in the Arena - do you think these stunning visuals are the only thing keeping people going to the cinema?

As an addendum to that question - I know you have been a producer on tv shows, as well as directed some episodes of some. Would you consider signing on as a director with one of the "big" tv storytelling shows like Game of Thrones, or a mini-series you may not have seen - Top of the Lake, which had some truly excellent storytelling and visuals. How do you believe the job of directing a movie versus an episode of television is different/similar? Thanks again for doing this AMA!

FrancisLawrence82 karma

Whoa, that was a lot of questions. I would say I'm always interested in television. Not so interested in just doing an episode of someone else's show, but always interested in doing a pilot, and if I've done the pilot, doing more episodes. The biggest difference between TV and movie directing is time. You have far less time to shoot an hour of television than you do for an hour of movie. And the idea that each story is built to continue typically. I don't think necessarily that large format filmmaking is the only thing keeping audiences going to the theater. I still believe that there is a joy in communal viewing and there is nothing like going to a movie on opening weekend and seeing it with a full theater and sharing in the energy of the crowd and being with people and it being a social event. That being said, I do think there is unbelievable work being done on television, and I find myself being influenced by television shows all the time now. But I will say too that I think for true visual storytelling there's a way of making truly cinematic stories work for the big screen, and that's really interesting to me.

immagingerkid54 karma

Hello Francis. I love how you've done the movies! What's it like being apart of one of the biggest movie franchises and biggest movies this year?

FrancisLawrence88 karma

I'm just excited to be part of something that I think is really about something that happens to connect to loads and loads of people. That is really exciting to me.

ivraatiems33 karma

What, if any, do you think the actual underlying themes in The Hunger Games series are? I've heard them compared to 1984, to Battle Royale, to a lot of other things.

Why is Mockingjay being split into two parts, if you know?

FrancisLawrence51 karma

For me, Suzanne Collins set out to write a series of books about the consequences of war and the consequences of violence, and to me those are the overarching themes throughout the entire series. Beyond that there are facets of the books and the movies that definitely one can see in the world around us. These themes may not be happening necessarily in our own backyard but we are all so globally conscious now because of social media that we know these ideas exist around us, like totalitarian governments, haves vs have-nots, the exploitation of celebrity, surveillance, post-traumatic stress, etc. And it's these ideas and the fact that they exist in the world around us right now that makes these stories so powerful.

FrancisLawrence61 karma

The decision to split the book into two parts was made before I signed on to do the films, but I liked the idea. Whenever one adapts a 400+ page novel down to a 2 hour-ish movie, there's a lot of loss. By splitting this into two movies, more of the book can be maintained and more world growth can be added, so more surprises for the fans of the book.

Carrotsyummy30 karma

Does katniss have to wear extensions?

FrancisLawrence69 karma

She does now!

oztheterrible26 karma

I have a question or two: What resources did you tap when directing Katniss (and Peeta) in scenes that involved PTSD/traumatic flashbacks? I think the use of triggers was very on-point and it's a small detail I appreciated.

Also, which scene moved you the most in CF? Personally, the scene on the Victory Tour with District 11 made me tear up pretty hard.

FrancisLawrence36 karma

We spoke to some experts and I had some experts in PTSD speak to each of the actors so characters like Joanna, Peeta, Haymitch, Katniss, they all spoke to experts in the field. But it was something that I had read about but that was also evident in Suzanne Collins' work so we wanted to make sure it was in the screenplay.

You win! My favorite scene.

Chartlecake22 karma

Are you related to Jennifer Lawrence?

FrancisLawrence72 karma

No. In fact, in almost every article you read that mentions the two of us, it lists next to my name "no relation." I've seen it so many times in print that I feel like it should be part of my name. I was excited to see in an article today that they put the "no relation" next to her name. I liked that much better.

mnmcutee21 karma

What was the hardest set to find in real life?

FrancisLawrence37 karma

The hardest set to figure out was the Arena because it doesn't exist. So we had to split it between Atlanta and Hawaii. We shot anything around the Cornucopia and the Island and the Spokes in Atlanta at a watermark in Mid-November, and anything on the beach or in the jungle in Hawaii, and married the two together using visual effects.

usachan2910 karma

Hello Mr. Lawrence! I'm waiting right now to watch Catching Fire for the second time this weekend. It's excellent and I loved I am legend.

Here's my question though: What future projects can we look forward from you? Or if you can adapt any book to a movie, what would you pick now?

FrancisLawrence29 karma

Well you can look forward to two Mockingjay films, since those will take up the next two years of my life! And after that, it's a mystery. I gave up all of my development when I took these sequels on.

veghead959 karma

How will ratings (PG-13, R, etc.) affect showcasing the violence in Mockingjay? Will Mockingjay 1 end with Peeta attacking Katniss?

FrancisLawrence17 karma

Don't know yet, but I have no plan on being gory. I just want it to have the most emotional impact. No comment.

Nertasher3 karma

It's 2:37 in England, please let me sleep and answer one of my questions :P I won't give up! Who's your favourite character throughout the whole books and is it different in the film due to the actors representing them? PLEASEEEEEEEE REPLY :D

FrancisLawrence13 karma

No, it's Katniss. Definitely Katniss. She is the center of the Hunger Games universe, she's the one I am focused on 95% of the day, and she's the one I think I relate to the most. And she's whose eyes we see the story through.

You should go to bed now.