As fall approaches, Hunger Games fans have the first part of the feature adaptation of Mockingjay to anticipate. The choice to split the book into two parts likely has fans wondering just how closely these films will stick to the source material. From what producers say, expect some surprises, but no major changes.
Wait, how would book fans be surprised by anything if the movies didn't include any major changes? The situation isn't quite as contradictory as it sounds. EW says director Francis Lawrence worked closely with screenwriter Peter Craig, producer Nina Jacobson and Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins to work some new elements into the story that should come as a surprise to book fans. But they aren't altering the core story -- the plot or characters -- just filling out the world to "show scenes that could have been happening at different times in the book," according to what Lawrence says. He doesn't go into specifics but he does vaguely mention additional locations featured, stating " We get to see some new districts this time and the scope gets quite large."
This sounds like it could be a bit like some of the things we saw at work into the previous movies... I'm specifically thinking of the arena control room in The Hunger Games, or a conversation between President Snow and Seneca Crane. The books tell the story from Katniss's perspective, so we don't get to see what's happening elsewhere. The movie filled in some blanks, which not only worked out nicely in developing characters like Snow and Crane, but also helped to compensate for the lack of Katniss's narrative to guide us through the story. Whether or not what Lawrence says goes beyond the kind of add-ons we've seen in the previous movies remains to be seen, but it's certainly interesting.
It also sounds like President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) will be featured and developed a bit more on screen in both movies than she is in the book. And that's to be expected, as Francis Lawrence notes, "What’s interesting is although she’s a huge character in Mockingjay the book, there’s actually very little of her in it." He goes on to add that "there's more of her in this than in the book and because of that, there's some development."
Given the role Coin plays in the final book and in Katniss's story in general, I think there's room for "development" there, and if it means more Julianne Moore in one or both movies, no complaints there. Though die-hard book fans might be wary of whatever this "development" entails.
We still don't know exactly where Part 1 will leave off and where Part 2 will pick up, but Francis Lawrence did tell EW that both movies will have "two different, very distinct stories." We'll get to see one of those different, distinct stories this fall when The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 arrives in theaters November 21, 2014. In the meantime, catch a new glimpse of Katniss looking gorgeous and ready for a fight after the jump...