Jennifer Lawrence The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

Jennifer Lawrence The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

Jennifer Lawrence The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Sam Claflin, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, Natalie Dormer
Director: Francis Lawrence
Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rated: M
Running Time: 137 minutes

Synopsis: The blockbuster Hunger Games franchise has taken audiences by storm around the world, grossing more than $2.2 billion at the global box office. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 now brings the franchise to its powerful final chapter in which Katniss Everdeen [Jennifer Lawrence] realises the stakes are no longer just for survival – they are for the future.

With the nation of Panem in a full scale war, Katniss confronts President Snow [Donald Sutherland] in the final showdown. Teamed with a group of her closest friends – including Gale [Liam Hemsworth], Finnick [Sam Claflin] and Peeta [Josh Hutcherson] – Katniss goes off on a mission with the unit from District 13 as they risk their lives to liberate the citizens of Panem, and stage an assassination attempt on President Snow who has become increasingly obsessed with destroying her. The mortal traps, enemies, and moral choices that await Katniss will challenge her more than any arena she faced in The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
Release Date: November 19th, 2015

About The Production

The Revolution is About All of Us
'Real. Because that's what you and I do – protect each other."
- Katniss

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 brings the global motion picture phenomenon to its thrilling and emotionally powerful last chapter as the stakes for Katniss Everdeen escalate from surviving the most deadly games ever devised to setting the course of the future.

he story picks up with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) back in the bunkers of District 13, still unable to emotionally reach a brainwashed Peeta as she watches the nation of Panem sliding into full-scale apocalyptic war. Though Katniss has warily accepted her role as the Mockingjay symbol of the rebellion, she can see that it is going take more than symbolism to turn the tide against the Capitol. Truly on fire now, she resolves to take action. Joining with Gale (Liam Hemsworth), an unpredictable Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Finnick (Sam Claflin), and the so-called 'Squad 451," she sets out for the once-glittering Capitol – transformed into a city of mayhem under attack by both rebels and peacekeepers – with a covert mission to assassinate President Snow. Snow still believes he's playing an obsessive game to outwit and destroy Katniss, but Katniss is no longer anyone's pawn, and to her, this is no contest. It is a battle for everything she has come to believe in and the people she loves. It is a battle for the final hope of a life of peace.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 builds on the momentum of each previous chapter in the blockbuster series to reach a fever pitch of both emotion and action, bringing Katniss full circle from the dismayed girl caught in a dystopian nightmare to leading the charge to remake her nation.

The first film, The Hunger Games, introduced audiences to Katniss, an independent-minded but anonymous 16 year-old girl living in District 12, one of Panem's enslaved districts, with little future of which to dream. Her life changes instantaneously when she volunteers in her younger sister's place for the annual Hunger Games, an intense gladiatorial competition of sheer survival between 24 adolescent warriors known as Tributes, broadcast live on national TV. Katniss and District 12's male Tribute, Peeta Mellark, are soon whisked to the Capitol, the center of tyrannical power, where a glammed-out populace feeds off lurid spectacles. There, separated from her family and best friend Gale, she is thrown into a glitzy makeover and grueling training, before entering the arena as an underdog in the 74th Annual Hunger Games. Forced to make harrowing decisions spanning life, death, friendship and love, Katniss discovers reserves of strength and willpower she never knew she had, and attains an unsettling new fame as 'The Girl on Fire" … but the costs to her spirit are high.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, rejoins Katniss as a victor of the Hunger Games, but one who is given zero chance to enjoy her promised rewards or to recover from the physical and mental toll of the arena. Instead, haunted by memories and craving her independence, she is compelled into a deceptive 'Victor's Tour" and a public engagement to Peeta. Then she's told she must do the unthinkable: re-enter the Hunger Games arena in the lauded Quarter Quell games, which President Snow declares will be the ultimate battle between former victors – a move aimed directly at Katniss. The stakes grow higher as Katniss now fights as much for the lives of her friends and family as her own survival. In the jungle-themed arena, Katniss makes vital new alliances, even as she becomes the unwitting idol of a rapidly spreading rebellion against the Capitol.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, begins as Katniss, extracted from the Quarter Quell games while unconscious, awakens in never-before-seen District 13, the dark, regimented underground realm where a plot to take over the Capitol is forming. Here, she is a legend. Yet Katniss feels more alone and uncertain of who to trust than ever. District 12 has been turned to rubble. Peeta is being held and forcibly indoctrinated by President Snow. Under pressure from District 13's steely leader, President Coin (Julianne Moore), Katniss must embrace a role she never really wanted: to embody the symbol of the Mockingjay, the symbol of hope. Even as she begins to open her wings, her path is unclear, as Peeta is rescued from Snow's grip in a hate-filled trance, the people of the Districts grow increasingly desperate, and Snow remains as despotically in control as ever.

Now, in the final chapter of The Hunger Games, with all the Districts united against the Capitol for the first time, tomorrow itself is on the line. For Katniss to truly be herself, she realises she must now fully take on the indomitable Mockingjay spirit in a last stand to set things right.

Says director Francis Lawrence: 'In this film, Katniss takes the action back into her own hands and goes after Snow personally. The movie really opens up as we go deep into the streets of the Capitol, coming full circle from Katniss's journey there in the first film. There's more action, more scope, more emotion and most of all, this film brings the story to its moving conclusion."

A Mockingjay's Last Hope

In four increasingly complex film performances, Academy Award® winner Jennifer Lawrence has taken Katniss Everdeen through a pendulum's worth of changes. She has metamorphosed from a disarmed girl trying to save herself and then her family to a deeply reluctant rebel hero and now finally, to a sharply-honed, fiercely determined leader determined to shatter a ruthless society for the good of all. Lawrence says she has enjoyed growing with the ever-evolving yet steadfastly true-to-herself character and is thrilled to bring Katniss to her apex in Mockingjay – Part 2.

'This is the chapter when Katniss really starts to believe in the impact that she can have," Jennifer Lawrence comments. 'She's always been so reluctant and has always found herself in situations where all she can do is try to survive, but now she's turning the tables. I was excited for her to finally take her place as a leader. At the end of Mockingjay – Part 1, she was kind of numb, and genuinely unsure if she wanted to go on. In Mockingjay – Part 2 she starts seeing the bigger picture. She's looking beyond her own personal losses and gains to focus on making a better future."

Adds producer Nina Jacobson, who along with producer Jon Kilik, has been there from the start: 'For the first three movies, Katniss feels as if someone else is writing the script of her life and she has no choice but to either act or react to that script. In this final film, she makes her decision: that Snow must die and she's going to get him. You see her character fully in control now, fully realised."

Josh Hutcherson, who as Peeta has also gone through dizzying changes from a baker's son to Katniss' closest ally to a tormented instrument of the Capitol, says of Katniss's journey: 'What was a story about a girl who wants to protect her family and survive has now become the story of a girl who creates what once seemed an impossible uprising. It's the final push that culminates in a new world." Yet even as she turns towards the future, the past weighs on Katniss. A constant reminder of the high costs of her journey is there in Peeta's continuing inability to see Katniss for who she really is – and still harboring the relentlessly violent thoughts implanted by the Capitol towards her. Observes Jennifer Lawrence: 'Somebody being brainwashed to think that you're an evil mutt is a hell of a strain to put on a relationship. They have to start over."

Nina Jacobson notes that no matter what terrifying things Peeta says or does, Katniss cannot deny her urge to protect him – nor her hope to reconnect with him. 'She has her moments with Gale in this film, but even he can see through her," Nina Jacobson muses. 'Her heart is stuck on Peeta. She can't let him go, even now, and I think that's pretty poignant."

All her relationships are still shifting, but Katniss has a newfound clarity, including when it comes to Gale. 'It becomes clear between them that no matter what they might have, as long as Peeta is in the state he's in, Katniss is never going to be able to let Peeta go," Jennifer Lawrence says.

Katniss also begins to see President Coin in a more illuminating light. 'Katniss's relationship with Coin has become a bit more complicated and strained," Jennifer Lawrence notes. 'Katniss is starting to fear that she's seeing a lot of similar traits develop in Coin that she's seen in President Snow."

Now, Katniss's concerns are being channeled directly into action – taking the character for the first time into all-out combat beyond the controlled confines of an arena. Raising the stakes, Katniss's little sister Prim, long her motivation to fight against the Capitol, is now a medic in the battle zone. 'The action scenes in Mockingjay – Part 2 are incredible," Jennifer Lawrence says. 'Some of it was difficult – shooting in wet tunnels, in and out of the water and doing fight choreography with 20 pounds of waterlogged gear – but it was totally worth it because it is going to look fantastically real for audiences."

It all brings Katniss to the denouement of her world-changing tale. Concluding the series is bittersweet for Jennifer Lawrence, but she is intrigued to leave Katniss at the most promising juncture of her life. 'She's started to see the beauty in humanity in this film," Jennifer observes. 'In the beginning she had a short view of the way things are because of her upbringing. She did not have much hope then, and she felt alone for a lot of her life. During everything that has happened – in the Games, in District 13, in the Capitol at the end of this story – she found herself more and more connected to people."

Jennifer Lawrence has tremendous gratitude for being granted the chance to embody Katniss. 'I have loved being a part of a film that sparks some really cool conversations," she concludes. 'It's been an incredible chapter in my life, and the way the films have resonated with people has been amazing." For director Francis Lawrence, part of the beauty of Katniss is that no matter how much her world – and her responsibilities – have changed, her fundamental values have never budged. 'At her core, a part of Katniss has remained the same," he observes. 'Each of the movies has presented a complex character journey, with very different complications, but she is that same very real girl who still just wants to protect her loved ones."

That has come alive through Jennifer Lawrence's almost supernatural channeling of the character, says the director. 'All along, Jennifer Lawrence has had amazing instincts and on each film, it's been surprising to see what she does. This final journey is no different," he explains. 'It is a new kind of emotional journey for Katniss. She is determined to rectify what was done to Peeta, what was done to her personally, and what was done to the people of the Districts – and Jennifer dives into that."

Nina Jacobson sums up: 'Jennifer Lawrence has always brought a grounded emotional honesty to the role. But now she shifts, turning defiance, grief and rage into action and leadership. She does that extraordinarily well. Her performance in this film shows the complexity of a character who is searching for peace and happiness, but will always carry the scars of what we've seen her experience."

The Cast Speaks About The Closing Moments

The final chapter of The Hunger Games brings the film's expansive cast together one last time, with a team headed by Jennifer Lawrence and including Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Willow Shields, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Mahershala Ali and Natalie Dormer. The lineup for Mockingjay – Part 2 also includes Wes Chatham (Castor), Elden Henson (Pollux), Patina Miller (Commander Baylor), Evan Ross (Messalla), , Gwendoline Christie (Commander Lyme), and Stef Dawson (Annie Cresta).

Especially bittersweet for the filmmakers was the chance to incorporate Philip Seymour Hoffman's final performance as Plutarch Heavensbee – the Head Gamemaker who appears to be a power player in the Capitol until he proves to be a mastermind behind the rebellion. Says Francis Lawrence: 'Collaborating with Phil on the Hunger Games movies was a fantastic experience for all of us – just to have the chance to watch him work and to learn from him – and his portrait of Plutarch is very moving."

Peeta/Josh Hutcherson:
Mockingjay – Part 2 sees Peeta Mellark – the former victor who was to marry Katniss in a Capitol spectacle – still in a haunting, dangerous fugue state after being brainwashed by President Snow during his captivity. Though his body has been freed, his mind struggles against nightmarish, instilled thoughts to kill Katniss, the very same person he once most trusted in the world.

Francis Lawrence says Josh Hutcherson's willingness to go the edge in this new incarnation of Peeta was impressive. 'He really blew me away in this film because he was so incredible at showing how tormented Peeta is in his current state. I know Josh so well, but watching him in these scenes, I didn't recognise any part of him," remarks the director.

Hutcherson sums up where the film finds Peeta: 'Peeta's going through a kind of rehabilitation process, trying to get back to his old self. He's being held in District 13, but he's still violently psychotic and his recovery is clearly going to be a very long, hard road. He has moments of clarity but he kind of goes in and out. With all these memories that were implanted in his mind by the Capitol, he has to constantly try to decipher what is real and what has been fed to him – and he has to rely on his peers to help him find that truth."

Peeta might be constantly asking 'real or not real" about things he suddenly remembers and feels, but Nina Jacobson notes that Josh Hutcherson's performance leaves no such doubts. 'The humanity that he brings to this role and the realness that he brings is extraordinary," she says. 'In this film, on the one hand, Peeta is completely lost in a hypnotic state of rage, but on the other, he starts reconnecting with Katniss, step by tiny step, is, in a way that is very touching. Your heart breaks for him, but you see that he has a chance to return to who he was, even if nothing will ever be the same."

For Josh Hutcherson, the film required a 180 from how he normally approaches the character. 'Peeta's always been known as being the down-to-earth, grounded, honest guy. But now he's out of his mind, I had to turn that inside out," he says. 'It shows a lot about the real feelings that Katniss has for Peeta that she still fights for him and believes in him even in this state."

When Peeta is sent by President Coin to join Squad 451 – consisting of Katniss, Gale, Finnick, Boggs, Cressida, Messalla, Castor and Pollux – it endangers everyone, but helps Katniss break through to him. 'Really, he should not be in this environment," Hutcherson admits. 'It has tons of triggers that could cause him to explode and, and lose control again, which actually happens multiple times."

Throughout, Peeta's true feelings for Katniss keep surfacing in ways that keep him bonded to her at an unspoken level. For Hutcherson finding those breakthrough moments with Jennifer Lawrence after the three previous films came organically. 'Jennifer Lawrence has this quiet strength about her," he says. 'A lot of people might have tried to play up the rebellious side of Katniss, but Jennifer saw from the start that's not who Katniss is. Jen has played Katniss' reluctance and groundedness so well, it always feels very real to me. It's one of the reasons why I think Peeta connects with her and why so many people have connected with The Hunger Games."

As for how Peeta has evolved since he first left to represent District 12 in The Hunger Games, Hutcherson concludes, 'Peeta always had a very realistic view of what was happening around him. He's more haunted now from having experienced The Hunger Games first-hand, and from witnessing the destruction that Snow's dictatorship can cause. But deep within, his mentality has always been you have to not let yourself be a piece in the game; you have to try to be yourself even as you fight to survive. That's still what he would say to this day."

Like Jennifer Lawrence, Hutcherson says he will miss his character, but he will take a lot from the long and rich experience of playing Peeta. 'I definitely will take away great friendships and memories from The Hunger Games," he says. 'I also hope I take away some of Peeta's values. When you do a project like this, people can get certain ideas about who you should be – and Peeta is a reminder that it's best to kind of break those expectations and simply be true to yourself."

Gale/Liam Hemsworth:
While Peeta is lost, Gale Hawthorne has found himself in the beginning of Mockingjay – Part 2 – and become one of Panem's most uncompromising warriors. Says Liam Hemsworth, who has taken his character from Katniss's boyish best friend and hunting partner in District 12 to a rebellious coal miner to a major force in the rebellion: 'Gale is more part of the action in this film and really gets his chance to make a difference to Panem. He has built up so much anger at President Snow and at the Capitol that he is ready to go to war at any cost."

The more Gale solidifies his philosophy that the ends justify the means in war, the more he finds a wall between himself and Katniss. 'Gale has a very different view from Katniss about what's acceptable in war and how far to go. Katniss cannot accept the risk of killing innocent people. Gale is prepared to have casualties if it means winning. He just wants to end all of this, whatever it takes," Hemsworth explains.

At the same time, Gale's personal feelings for Katniss, kept under wraps since she was first whisked to the Capitol, remain unresolved…and perhaps forever unresolvable given the circumstances.

Hemsworth says no matter what is in Gale's soul, everything seems to be conspiring to keep them apart. 'This chapter is where you really see that Gale and Katniss have developed very different ideas about the world. Gale has come to the conclusion at this point that Katniss truly loves Peeta, and the more Peeta needs her, the more Gale can feel her slipping away day by day," Hemsworth says, adding, 'And yet, Gale still deeply loves Katniss and he is still driven to look after her and protect her. That's what he's always been about."

Unexpectedly, Peeta's confusion and uncontrollable impulses even draw Gale's empathy. 'Gale knows that Peeta's not in control of himself," Hemsworth observes. 'Gale's still wary of him, but for the first time in this film, we actually get to see Gale and Peeta have a friendly conversation with each other – and connect around their mutual feelings for Katniss."

For now, however, it is Gale taking the lead in the action, and Hemsworth relished the chance to explore his character's pent-up physicality. He especially enjoyed leading the battle against the mutant 'lizard mutts" in the sewer tunnels of the Capitol. 'It was very physical, tough work, hunching through these dark tunnels, in freezing cold water. It's such a great fight scene and I love doing stunts so that was a true highlight for me."

Hemsworth, too, finds it difficult to believe the story is coming to a close and even more unsettling that he won't be returning to work with Jennifer Lawrence in the indelible role of Katniss.

'Working with Jennifer on this is something wonderful I'll always carry," he says. 'She's an incredible actress, but also so much fun. I'll miss her and all the cast and crew."

For Nina Jacobson, Hemsworth's rapport with Lawrence has been at the core of a star-crossed relationship that might have been, but never had a chance in the world Katniss, Gale and Peeta live in.

'Liam does a great job of representing Gale's revolutionary spirit, his belief in fighting fire-with-fire, in a very relatable way," she sums up. 'He reveals Gale as someone who has become comfortable with the costs of war in a way that Katniss nor Peeta never could, and he brings real depth to that. When it comes to Katniss, you really feel for him. You can tell he's in love with her, and may always be in love with her, but he knows there's no way now to win her back."

Haymitch/Woody Harrelson:
The former victor who became Katniss' savvy mentor remains as fiery as ever, even as the rebellion he's long awaited comes to its climax. For Woody Harrelson, who has taken Haymitch Abernathy from intoxicated cynic to realist to steadfast believer in the Mockingjay, it was a challenge to face up to the story's conclusion. 'I really don't want to be done with The Hunger Games," he admits. 'I wish it didn't have to end ever. The characters in the film have formed a kind of patchwork family – and that was equally true for us as actors in real life."

He adds: 'What's been so exciting is that each installment of The Hunger Games has been equally great. This last chapter, though, is absolutely the biggest in terms of scale and in terms of the lasting consequences for Katniss and everyone around her, including Haymitch."

Harrelson has especially welcomed the chance to get so close to Jennifer Lawrence over the course of the series. 'Haymitch comes to care deeply about Katniss in a way that maybe surprises him and shakes him up, and it's easy to get to that place with Jennifer," he says. 'She's so much fun to work with, but also so honest and true in her performance. You're always working at a high level with her." As for Haymitch, Harrelson concludes: 'He's known a lot of tragedy and he's struggled with his own vices and addictions. I think he'll always have that sharp attitude towards life, but he also dreams of peace."

Effie/Elizabeth Banks:
The outrageously fashionable and flitty social climber who Katniss first met as her 74th Hunger Games escort has undergone her own transformation throughout the series. Tough times have lent Effie Trinket more grit and guile, but she's never lost an ounce of her exuberant spirit or loyalty to Katniss. Says Elizabeth Banks who has always adored playing the character to the hilt: 'Effie has progressed so much over the course of these films, although she was never truly a rebel. As always, she is self-preserving but supports Katniss above anyone else."

In Mockingjay – Part 1, Effie was adjusting to life amid the gray conformity of District 13 but in Part 2, she gets to return to the Capitol in typical style. 'She's come to feel more free to express herself in District 13 which has become a 2nd home to her," Banks explains. 'But when Effie finally returns to the Capitol, her looks are as eccentric and beautiful as ever … yet more befitting of the official she has become."

After years of donning Effie's glam makeup and architectural gowns, Banks says she will miss not only the fashion but the people who helped bring Effie to life. 'I will miss collaborating with Ve Neill, Linda Flowers, Camille Friend, Judianna Makovsky, Trish Summerville and Kurt and Bart. These hair, make-up and costume designers were essential partners to me in creating the iconic Effie Trinket."

She will also miss Jennifer Lawrence and the thrill of being Katniss's confidante. 'Jennifer has shown such range across all four of the films. She's our leader and has always made going to work something fun I looked forward to every day," the actress says.

As for Effie's future, Banks sums up: 'Effie is a survivor. She will be fine. She's inspired by Katniss who will not only survive but thrive."

President Snow/Donald Sutherland:
In Mockingjay – Part 2, the battle between President Snow and Katniss Everdeen approaches a final reckoning. An increasingly cynical tyrant, Snow has become almost madly obsessed with destroying Katniss and, in his obsession, turns the entire Capitol into a Hunger Games arena of dirty tricks. Having been part of the franchise from the start, Donald Sutherland relished exposing Snow's contradictions right up to the very end.

'Snow's an old man and he sees this as a final, thrilling game of chess with a competitor who's up to everything he can handle," Sutherland comments. 'He is torn in a way, because he loves Katniss's spirit but of course he doesn't want her to actually succeed. Yet, he doesn't really want to murder her either. It was that complexity that interested me about Snow in the first place and now it comes to its climax. I've loved having a role that I could commit to passionately."

Says Francis Lawrence: 'Donald Sutherland brings the story of President Snow to a fitting ending. He has embodied this character with such wit and power throughout, and here you get to see Katniss gain the upper hand on him."

Finnick/Sam Claflin:
After facing the darkest moments of his life, in Mockingjay – Part 2 Finnick O'Dair is reunited with his one true love – Annie Cresta – but remains committed to the rebellion, joining with Katniss, Peeta and Gale in Squad 451's perilous trip to the Capitol. Sam Claflin, who has taken the sly but emotional character to heart, says of where the final chapters finds him: 'Finnick is really a new person after he reunites with Annie. He has a new lease on life and a newfound freedom. He sees their engagement as a chance to allow their love to be a powerful new symbol for the rebellion."

Love also leads Claflin back into war. 'This newfound passion drives Finnick to get back out there and do what's right for Panem," says Claflin. 'This is a different chapter for everyone. The stakes are a lot higher, the characters have more than ever to lose and it's much more real. It isn't a game anymore, even if the games were deadly. This is the future and they all have a lot to fight for."

For Finnick, helping to forge the future also means helping Katniss reconcile with Peeta, no matter how savage his brainwashing might appear. 'Finnick knows that Katniss loves Peeta, even if she is still unsure," says Claflin. 'That's the beauty of Finnick: he observes things that other people can't, and that comes out of the horrible experiences that he has been through himself."

Claflin had a chance to wield Finnick's famed trident in battle, a skill he has been honing since he first took the role, but that he had to take to the next level against the Capitol's mutant lizard mutts. 'I've spent hours and hours with broomsticks," he muses. 'I also had an incredible team of people helping me to get adept and I learned that you have to make the trident work as if it was an additional limb."

Although Finnick was a master of the games, this was Claflin's most physically challenging outing. 'It felt like we were running marathons every single day – whether it be sprinting away from oil or through hordes of lizard mutts," he recalls. 'What was inspiring is that every single actor was raring to go, wanting to make these incredibly well-designed sequences the best they could be."

Still, he says perhaps the biggest challenge of all was having to dance at Finnick's glamorous wedding. 'I hate dancing with a passion," Claflin laughingly confesses. 'It was tough, maybe even tougher than the sewers! But it was also beautiful and I tried to make the most of it."

That sentiment of making the most of everything was true for Claflin right up to his final scenes. 'This whole series has been incredible," he concludes. 'I feel so honored and blessed to have been a part of it, as a fan and for the fans."

President Coin/Julianne Moore:
With the Capitol's citizens under fire and President Snow on the defensive, it seems that District 13's rebel leader, President Coin, is getting everything she wanted. Coin also remains suspicious of Katniss's growing power, and prefers that the Mockingjay stay more passive symbol than active participant in the battle. Returning for a second time in the role, Academy Award® winner Julianne Moore says: 'Coin wants to keep Katniss as a powerless figurehead, as the emotional, intellectual momentum behind the revolution. This is also the point where Coin starts to see Katniss as a serious potential threat to her own leadership."

Coin's personal agenda as a rebel leader has always been slippery, but Moore's aim was to keep the character balanced on that razor-thin line between savior and villain. 'I tried to give her a kind of evolution," she explains. 'She's very inscrutable in the book, but I saw her as being a political animal. She's someone who thought she was one thing in the beginning, fighting for the people, but became something else, as the war progressed, something not necessarily positive. Despite having seen all the destruction Snow has set in motion, Coin herself becomes infatuated with the possibility of authoritarian power and might. As they say, power corrupts … and we've seen throughout history that bold leaders can often later become despots."

She continues: 'I also always saw the story of The Hunger Games as being about growing up; about Katniss figuring out what her own moral responsibilities are and making her own choices. So one of the things that happens as you grow up is disillusionment with the people who you once believed were doing the right thing. Coin plays that role in Katniss's life."

After seeing an early cut of Mockingjay – Part 2, Moore was deeply moved. 'I think the whole series is amazing," she concludes. 'It's a wonderful entertainment, with great young actors, and it's been something everyone can relate to. This last film is very much about the costs of warfare – what it does to families and communities and ordinary people. That is something voiced in the books and it comes across very powerfully in this film. I've found all of the movies to have emotional endings, but this one might be the most touching."

Johanna/Jena Malone:
In the final moments of Mockingjay – Part 1, Gale and Boggs lead a siege in the Capitol, rescuing former victors Johanna and Annie Cresta, who have been held by Snow since the Quarter Quell games. In Mockingjay – Part 2, Johanna, scarred by her experiences, scarcely resembles the woman who brazenly removed her clothes in front of Peeta and Katniss in Catching Fire.

Jena Malone explains that Johanna is now in the throes of a post-traumatic confusion, and learning to embrace her unexpected freedom. 'This is the first time in her entire life that she hasn't been asked to be something that she's not," points out Malone. 'Johanna was forced to be a Tribute and learned to use her sexuality, but now she's been stripped of all of those devices of manipulation. She's a little bit deranged by this lack of awareness of what she should be doing, so she's barely holding on. She's reaching out to dangerous outlets and anything that might make her emotions disappear."

For Malone the challenges of portraying this broken version of Johanna were also physical – requiring 3 hours daily in the makeup chair. 'It was a feat," she recalls. 'We had these genius prosthetic artists doing their thing. They would bring down my hair, then put the bald cap on and then do all of the flesh toning and prosthetic work around the neck, adding cuts and bruises."

The effect was staggering for Malone. 'I really think this is the first time in her life that Johanna isn't about looking pretty," Malone points out. 'That was kind of liberating as an actress, but it's definitely a whole different side to Johanna."

Though Johanna is going through a dark time, Malone notes that her light has not gone out. 'The Capitol wanted to break our spirits, really turn us over, and make us mutts", Malone summarizes. 'They did a hell of a job on Peeta, and they tried on Johanna, but I think it was impossible."

Malone is also thrilled to see Katniss coming full circle in Mockingjay – Part 2. 'I believe that all Katniss ever wanted was to go back to District 12, and live her own life in her own way – and I think her journey is really beautiful in this film. She learns to listen to her own voice."

Primrose/Willow Shields:
From the opening moments of The Hunger Games franchise Katniss Everdeen has been driven by her deep love for and desire to protect her younger sister, Primrose. It was Prim who was originally meant to compete in the 74th Hunger Games until Katniss volunteered to take her place. Since then, young Prim has grown into a strong, compassionate young woman. She and Katniss are quite different, but as sisters so often are, they are connected so deeply that one is in trouble, the other knows it. As Mockingjay – Part 2 kicks off Prim has become a full-fledge wartime medic, but Katniss knows the danger for her sister is growing and would do anything she could to keep her safe, even if might be impossible.

Willow Shields has played the role since she was 12, and has literally grown up with the character. She says that in this precarious moment of Prim's life, she feels that Prim has at least become who she wanted to be. 'Prim has grown up immensely by Part 2," Shields observes. 'She is training to become a doctor, fulfilling her destiny. As a medic, she can finally contribute to the rebellion herself. This is her role in the fight, one that she is good at, and one that shows what a brave young person she has become. She sees the consequences of war all around her, but she believes in the fight, what its value is, and she believes in her sister as a leader."

She also enjoys that she has slowly but surely earned something beyond Katniss's love: her admiration. 'In the first Hunger Games Katniss protects Prim from their harsh world – but now the relationship has shifted," Shields points out. 'Katniss is still protective of Prim, but now she has come to respect Prim's abilities, awareness and wisdom. They are much more equal in Mockingjay – Part 2."

Katniss will always be inspired by Primrose says Shields. 'They have really had little else they could count on but each other. It's no wonder they were so close," she notes. 'Katniss saw qualities in Prim that help propel her forward. Prim has an inner strength that is used to heal and nurture others – and these qualities help Katniss aspire to a future that is kinder and more nurturing for everyone."

The future for Shields is wide open, but she is grateful for the extraordinary experience of portraying Prim. 'I have spent a third of my life making these films," she muses. 'It has been a very personal experience, going so far beyond the job of making films. I am thrilled to have been a part of Suzanne Collins' amazing creation – and part of a fanbase that is so inspiring and loving. I was also a part of a cast that has all of Prim's greatest traits: loving, kind, nurturing and supportive. In other words: The Hunger Games Family. It's been an amazing family to be a part of and I will never forget any of it."

Cressida/Natalie Dormer:
The guerrilla filmmaker Cressida faces the biggest challenge of her offbeat career in Mockingjay – Part 2: returning to the Capitol with Squad 451 to advance the rebellion, and realising that Katniss aims to go far beyond her symbolic role and assassinate President Snow. For Natalie Dormer, who first took on the indelibly defiant character in Mockingjay – Part 1, it was a thrilling chance to show her character's mettle. 'Mockingjay – Part 1 introduced Cressida and her camera team. But in Part 2 we get to see her and her team really push Katniss because the revolution is in process and it's time to consolidate the message to the masses," says Dormer. 'Of course, Katniss has no intention of simply being a poster girl, and Cressida and everyone else on the Squad gets drawn into her mission."

That mission meant Dormer finding herself at the forefront of major action sequences. 'Me and my camera crew really become warriors with the Star Squad down in the sewers," she explains. 'It was very physically demanding work. But we all kept each other going morale-wise and it was rewarding, too, because the payoff was being part of this very exciting climax to the story."

The film's atmospheric European sets further inspired Dormer. 'The level of detail in the art design on this movie is so incredible," she muses. 'Whether it's massive architecture or the pitch black of the sewers, the audience will be fully absorbed into it."

Dormer also loved watching Jennifer Lawrence up her game again. 'Jennifer brings a new layer to Katniss every time she plays her. In this movie she goes to even deeper psychological depths. You see Katniss acting on the idea that it is time to finish this story and time to end the violence in Panem."

Endings are never easy, but Dormer was thrilled to be in on bringing The Hunger Games saga full circle. 'This is what we've all been waiting for," she sums up. 'This film is the culmination of everything that has happened so far, and it lives up to that scale. It has everything that the books were about: the galvanised passion of people fighting against tyranny along with the fine-tuned details of the personal relationships that mean so much to Katniss. I'm proud of the way the film has found that balance."

Boggs/Mahershala Ali:
As the action picks up in Mockingjay – Part 2, Katniss, Peeta and Gale are under the command of President Coin's right-hand man, Boggs. Though he is the head of Squad 451, he is not fully aware of the secret plan to subvert the propaganda operation into an assassination. Returning to take the role to its conclusion is Mahershala Ali who sees Boggs as torn in his shifting relationship with Katniss. 'On the one hand, Boggs feels a kind of paternal connection to her where he wants to protect her and make sure she's OK," Ali explains. 'But now he also is developing a new respect for her. He sees how selfless she has become, how willing she is to put herself on the line for other people. It makes him want to look out for her even more – but maybe also to trust her more."

As the war against the Capitol escalates, Boggs can't help but think of Katniss's future. 'He's become loyal to her to the point that he truly wants to see her accomplish her task. Ultimately, he realises taking down Snow is something she has to do on a personal level," Ali observes.

For Ali, the spirit of Squad 451 is built on the close connection forged between the actors. 'We were able to bring that great camaraderie that is part of the spirit of The Hunger Games – one that starts with Jennifer and Francis, who bring so much passion to it," he says. 'All of us on Squad 451 spent a lot of time together so that made it feel completely real to us. We laughed a lot but we also were motivated by how big and important this final chapter will be to the audience."

Ali especially enjoyed the all-out action in the film. 'This was different because we were dealing a lot more with weapons, tactical armor, gas masks… even rappelling down a building. There was a lot of training to learn to move in a coordinated manner and that stuff is really fun," he comments.

Yet, there was also a sense of authentic change come to Panem. 'This chapter is completely unique," Ali concludes. 'There's always been oppression in The Hunger Games but Mockingjay – Part 2 is a true story of war. Freedom is right there on the cusp and they can taste it. It's really exciting to not just bring these characters to an end but to also see how that leads up to a new beginning."

The Capitol On Fire

Mockingjay – Part 2 unveils the Capitol as it has never been seen before in The Hunger Games franchise – entering the city's once lavishly glittering streets amid the erupting chaos of wartime. The whole metropolis transforms into an arena more real than any before as Snow attacks Katniss and the Squad 451 in some of his most epic and creative ways yet.

The result as Jennifer Lawrence says is 'sets that are absolutely insane. The spectacle of this film is really incredible."

Nina Jacobson observes: 'In this final movie, you get the epic scale of Katniss's return to the streets of the Capitol, which has great power to it. Francis has brought to life the Capitol sequences in a way that is truly something, and will be incredibly exciting in the immersive experience of IMAX®. It's everything that you hope to accomplish on a big screen – something that is emotionally and thematically powerful, but also cinematically enormous. '

Adds Sam Claflin: 'On a film set in another world you might expect to have to do a lot of imagining as an actor. Yet the team managed to find these incredible locations and build amazing sets that literally transport you and take your breath away. That really adds to the flavor of the piece."

For Julianne Moore, the new Capitol sets were an eye-opening change. 'After being in District 13's gloomy, claustrophobic underground, it was so fun to come up into the grand scope of the Capitol."

To fully bring the Capitol to life in a new way, Francis Lawrence and production designer Philip Messina knew they would have to look beyond Atlanta, home to much of the production. They took advantage of historic and futurist locations in France and Germany that could be found nowhere else. 'We really wanted to capture the feel of being on the ground in the Capitol and we needed the kind of backdrops that lend themselves to pretty epic action scenes," says the director. 'Phil and I wanted to keep the idea of the Brutalist/Classical architecture that makes the Capitol so imposing but shooting at real locations allowed us to do that in a more immersive way. Phil found some amazing places in Paris and Berlin that were a phenomenal match with the story," says the director.

Adds producer Jon Kilik: 'Shooting the Capitol scenes in Europe allowed us all the size and scale that we envisioned. The team was able to create a look that is both very layered and gigantic."

Just outside Paris, near Versailles, the production set up camp at Château de Voisins, a stunningly aristocratic 1903 estate, which stands in for portions of President Snow's mansion. The Chateau served as home to some of the film's most vital scenes, including a major turning point involving a meeting of former Hunger Games' victors.

Messina envisioned a spare but power-laden set for President Snow's office. 'For the office, we used a mausoleum-style room clad in stone. Phil was very inspired by that room because it was so cold, harsh and dictatorial," says set decorator Larry Dias. 'I had a 45-foot long rug loomed in China that had the Capitol on it and we used this crazy desk at the end of the room. It's a really bold, amazing set."

One of the most remarkable sets in France was created from the wildly post-modern apartment buildings in Noisy-Le-Grand known as 'L'espace Abraxas." Built in the 50s, 60s and 70s, these massive, square, stone structures surrounded by pillars, plazas and triumphal arches hearken back to the Greek Empire but, at the same time, they also nod to a future of immaculately planned cities. This is where Katniss, Gale, Peeta and Squad 451 are inundated with a deadly, towering tidal wave of 'goo" in another twisted attempt by President Snow to stop them.

The cast was in awe of Abraxas. 'In IMAX®, it's going to look so crazy -cause you're going to be able to see up and down these huge structures," says Josh Hutcherson.

Says Liam Hemsworth: 'It's very Panem-looking – it's everything you imagine the Capitol to be, and it felt like the perfect place for us to shoot these street scenes."

For the exterior of Tigris's shop, Messina turned to another French public housing project: Jean Renaudie and Renee Gailhoustet's series of eight concrete, triangular buildings in Ivry sur-Seine. Moving on to Germany, the production took over an abandoned factory in Rudersdorf, which serves as the backdrop for Katniss and Gale's attack on a Capitol hovercraft. Berlin's locations include a return to Tempelhof Airport, one of the world's oldest surviving airports and the former core of Nazi air power in WWII, also seen in Mockingjay – Part 1.

'Francis and I were drawn to Tempelhof because of the impressive scale of it," Messina explains. 'The size of the structure was perfect for many of Mockingjay – Part 2's most exciting locations including the rebel encampment in District 2, Commander Lyme's control center and the train station."

For the cast, Tempelhof was transporting. 'Berlin is architecturally one of the most interesting cities in the world," Jeffrey Wright says. 'There is a very powerful, complicated history expressed through these buildings – and I found it really inspiring to shape these historical places for the purposes we have for the film. The train station scene reminded me of something out of a Cecil B. De Mille movie. It was operatic even, and wildly exciting and impressive."

From Tempelhof, the production moved to an abandoned Russian military facility in Krampnitz, which was formerly in East Berlin. This was rejiggered into the bombed out Capitol building where Katniss and her Star Squad team are waylaid. Messina recalls the first time he scouted the location, which had was overgrown with greenery. 'When we first saw pictures of it, it had been abandoned for a couple of decades. It looked like these buildings were coming out of the forest. Francis and I went and blocked it out and laid out the pieces to turn it into a city street. It was an amazing transformation."

But Messina's biggest challenge of all was constructing Mockingjay – Part 2's most complicated set: the dark, sodden network of tunnels where Squad 451 comes face-to-face with an army of 'lizard mutts," mutated reptiles that can take down enemies in a single chomp. Described in the book as 'a mix of lizard and human and who knows what else," the mutts are brought to life via a mix of actors and CGI.

'The lizard sequence evolved between Francis, visual effects, stunts and myself coming up with how to lay it all out," Messina describes. 'We started out with larger-scaled sewers but Francis said -No, I want them really small. I want them compact.' So we made all the ceilings about five feet tall. It looks amazing, but I want to write an open letter to the crew formally apologising for all the bumped heads!"

Last Looks: Hair and Make-Up

Throughout The Hunger Games, the look of the characters has gone through many incarnations, from humble and raw to the most outrageously ostentatious. Now that the Capitol and all of Panem are in the throes of all-out battle, the look is new once again in Mockingjay – Part 2, brought to life by costume designers Kurt and Bart; makeup designer Ve Neill and co-department head Nikoletta Skarlats; along with key team members Glenn Hetrick, who has done the film's prosthetics from the beginning, key makeup artist Conor McCullagh and hair designer Camille Friend and co-department head Kim Santantonio.

From the start of the epic series, Academy Award® winning makeup designer Ve Neill has been a major force behind the creative design and evolution of the character's visages. For Mockingjay – Part 2 she kept many of the whimsical elements that have always been part of the Panem universe, but brought them down to earth as reality descends on the Capitol.

'It's not as fantasy-oriented as the earlier films because now we're down to the nitty-gritty," she observes. 'Now we're fully into wartime and this is really different for all the characters. You also start to see the people in the Capitol in a way you haven't seen them before. Of course, you always want the look to be very cool, but at the same time to me this chapter is really a tear-jerker."

It's also set amid battles. 'In this film, Katniss, Peeta and Gale are now soldiers trying to get to the Capitol and kill Snow so we see them in a new way and we also see the Capitol in a new way," says Neill. 'One of the most interesting things about shooting the Capitol scenes in Europe, is that we used German and French makeup artists who bring a whole different style and flavor that really gives the Capitol a fresh look. There is glamour and finery, but in a way we haven't seen before."

Several characters also get a fresh take in Mockingjay – Part 2. To switch-up the ever-changing Effie's appearance, Neill gave her makeup design to partner Nikoletta Skarlatos. 'It was a sure way to get something different from the earlier films," Neill explains. 'Nikoletta's Effie is still very stylized but she's more down to earth, more mature and elegant – it's really cool to see her in this new styling."

Meanwhile, Neill transformed Julianne Moore's look as the pressures of Coin's ambitions catch up with her. 'Her character is really changing in this film so her look also starts to progress. It's very subtle, but it's also very striking. Julianne is so beautiful but you see her with a more fierce look here."

As for Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss, Neill says: 'In Mockingjay – Part 1 she was in trauma, but now she has found her own natural strength as a leader. When you see her in this film in the Mockingjay costume you see that she's grown so much, she's really matured emotionally. So the makeup is not really high-fashion but emphasises the womanly strength to her face. She looks fierce and beautiful yet relatable. Jennifer is so stunning you only need a little bit of makeup to do that."

Neill admits she already misses the close rapport with Jennifer and the rest of the cast. 'I feel like I've watched them all grow up over the years," she reflects. 'We're all still in touch and good friends, but I miss them so much. This was such a unique series of movies. For me it was a chance to do every kind of makeup – from battle wounds to high glamour to fantasy – but it's also been about friendships."

Upping The Action To The Very End

With Squad 451 headed to the Capitol determined to stop President Snow for good, Mockingjay – Part 2 brings Katniss into epic, full-scale action on a level beyond the cleverly manufactured sieges of the Hunger Games arenas seen in the first two Hunger Games films or the early rumblings of war in Mockingjay – Part 1.

'In Mockingjay – Part 2, the action is based in reality as Katniss and her team move to the Capitol," stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave says. 'Because of the intense action, it required a lot more out of all of our actors. It's chaos, so they had to be really -on it' physically."

Fortunately, by the time cameras rolled on Mockingjay – Part 2, Jennifer Lawrence had become highly skilled in the ancient art of the bow and arrow, Katniss' iconic weaponry. 'This character has become such a part of Jennifer that our training process was much narrower," Hargrave comments. 'She knew what was expected of her, and whatever we asked of her she was gung-ho to try it."

Mockingjay – Part 2 also gave Liam Hemsworth more of an opportunity to show off his capabilities as an action star. 'Liam is a very talented guy. He kickboxes and trains on his own so he brought in a lot of physical assets before we even began the specific training," Hargraves observes.

Perhaps the most ambitious action sequence of the entire franchise is the film's harrowing battle against the gnashing teeth and the talons of the supernaturally fast lizard mutts in the claustrophobic sewer tunnels.

'The whole scene was very complicated, so we had to storyboard it all and get all the fight choreography established long before we went in," explains Francis Lawrence. 'There was a lot of technical difficulty – we were dealing with real fire and real water – and it was quite honestly a miserable set for the actors and crew. But it's a scene I'm really proud of. It's a very cool sequence."

For the cast, the experience was a taste of what their characters are going through as they reach the Capitol at the height of the rebellion. 'The sewer tunnels were tough for everyone, being wet and cold all day long," says Josh Hutcherson. 'But the results are there in one of the coolest scenes in the whole Hunger Games story."

Yet for all the film's high adrenaline and suspense, the director says it is the emotions of the film's stirring, hard-won final moments that will linger most of all.

'One of the things that I'm most excited about is the film's final scene," says Francis Lawrence. 'There was a really strong feeling on the set when we got to the scene – a feeling that all the history of all these characters through the course of these four movies had built up to this singular moment. I hope audiences really feel that history and also a sense of the future. Everything that has happened to Katniss and all the themes of the story have wound together to come down to this final glimpse of her world, so it was very important that we really get to live inside it."

The ending remains as faithful to Suzanne Collins' phenomenon-creating books as the beginning. As the journey comes to a close, one of the greatest satisfactions for Nina Jacobson is that the film franchise never strayed, the whole way through, from her promise to follow Collins' vision.

'I have such profound respect for Suzanne and I love the books so much and understand how fans feel about them," Jacobson closes. 'So from the start, we had a total commitment to do right by the books and deliver cinematic storytelling at the highest level. That was a huge thing to aspire to do, but I never could have forgiven myself if we'd gotten it wrong. We had an obligation to come through for people and it's been an incredible experience. I hope we will continue to talk about all the incredibly relevant things this entire story is about: human society, the costs of war, the exploitation of tragedy for entertainment and the dangers of losing our individual narratives in tyrannical times. It's a story for the ages."

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
Release Date: November 19th, 2015