Buzzfeed Interview w/ Peter Craig, Main Scriptwriter for MOCKINGJAY, PART 1

Dear blog readers know how much self liked Mockingjay, Part 1.

It was a very, very good movie. And a large part of the credit for that has to go to the screenplay writer, Peter Craig.

Self is so tired of almost every

reviewer in the world prefacing their review with whether or not the last book of The Hunger Games trilogy was well-served by splitting the story into two films. Enough, already! The point is: it’s done, over, let’s move on!

Besides, when you’ve got Jennifer Lawrence committed to the role, Lionsgate (or any studio, really) would be crazy not to want to make the absolute most of her. Same goes for Julianne Moore.

SPOILER ALERT!

Self absolutely loved the fact that Moore’s character, President Alma Coin, was fully developed, that she was not just some straw man set up for Katniss to shoot down later.

In Mockingjay, Part 1, the thing that came through most clearly was Katniss’s desperation and fear and guilt.  We see that she wants so intensely to communicate with Peeta.  That is her private anguish. We see how depleted she is by self-sacrifice. Now, that’s powerful.

One of self’s favorite scenes in the movie was the one where the Capitol goes dark. Because, Peeta is there! He is in the Capitol. It’s such a bittersweet moment in the film because it follows the blowing-up of the dam, which is clearly a rebel victory. But you can’t enjoy this victory fully, because you understand what the consequences are — of course to Peeta, but also to Katniss. The audience’s response is necessarily layered. Which is grrrreat.

Self has been following The Hunger Games fandom blogs for almost a full year. Kudos to the fandom, they were 100% correct when they predicted the movie would end where it actually did end. But the filmmakers added something extra. It wasn’t just a case of — Oops! Peeta goes crazy. Fade to black. Instead, the film did something much, much more interesting. Self will not say how they did it. Go see the film, if you haven’t yet.

Here’s an excerpt from an interview on Buzzfeed with chief screenwriter Peter Craig that explains the reasoning behind the ending to the film:

“It wound up feeling like a really natural place to end the book, because after Peeta’s back, you have a whole different set of priorities,” said Craig. “There’s a whole different process that Katniss goes through with him once he’s back . . .  That look she gives Peeta, she’s looking at somebody who she really loves who isn’t just a pawn in this chess game the way he is to everybody else. I always really liked it ending sort of intercutting between Coin and Katniss there, and how their priorities have suddenly split at the end of the movie.”

Craig deserves major kudos for crafting a fine and nuanced screenplay, one that remains extremely respectful of the characters and never once settles for the usual YA hook of insipid romance. And BTW, Jennifer Lawrence absolutely does not sell the audience short. Because of her performance, the audience gets it. Gets that Katniss is damaged and confused, but also strong. J-Law is epic.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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