The most-awaited first part of the penultimate chapter of the world’s bestselling YA novel adapted to screen “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay –Part 1” stands to be the top movie choice at the box-office this coming week and is expected to earn at least US$150 million on its opening weekend in a report by Hollywood Reporter since becoming the top-selling title of the year to date from ticket sales reports from Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com.
Likewise, www.boxofficemojo.com predicts that “Mockingjay” will be the highest-grossing movie of the year at the domestic (US) box-office and is further predicted to earn $385 million when it finally opens November 21 (in the US). The movie opens a day earlier in the Philippines- November 20.
In this latest instalment, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,” the story begins as Katniss has just been rescued from the destruction of the Quarter Quell. She awakens in a shocking world she didn’t even know existed: the deep, dark underground of supposedly annihilated District 13. She quickly learns of the devastating reality she must face: District 12 has been turned to rubble; and Peeta is being held, manipulated and brainwashed by President Snow in The Capitol. At the same time, Katniss’s eyes are opened to a secret rebellion rapidly spreading from District 13 throughout all of Panem – a rebellion that will place her at the center of a daring plot to hack into The Capitol and turn the tables on President Snow.
Acclaimed actress Julianne Moore adds to the amazing stellar cast in the movie as President Coin, as Katniss takes on the public role of the Mockingjay, she is asked by President Coin to appear in a series of “propos” – viral propaganda videos that District 13 uses to communicate with and inspire rebels across Panem.
District 13’s steely leader is the enigmatic Alma Coin, a major new role taken to its full potential by one of today’s most sought-after dramatic actresses: Award-winning actress Julianne Moore. “What amazed me about what Suzanne Collins did with the books is that she wrote a story that has so many substantive things to say about who we are as human beings, how we relate to one another and what standing up for what’s right means,” says Moore. “I was intrigued by Coin because I was very interested in her evolution as a leader.”
Like so many Hunger Games fans, Moore has come to feel a deep connection with Katniss. “What everyone responds to in Katniss is that she carries this moral ambiguity. She doesn't always know what the right thing to do is, so she must act more from her impulses,” she observes. “She’s very much about the idea that you can change your destiny – and other people’s destinies – through your actions.”
Katniss and President Coin start off on shaky ground. Katniss doesn’t trust anyone in authority anymore, but Coin is equally skeptical of Katniss. “Coin is reluctant,” Moore explains. “In the beginning, she’s reluctant to use her as a mouthpiece because she believes that Katniss is too damaged as a person to be able to do the things that they need her to do, but she also identifies this girl as someone who’s done quite heroic things and has galvanized the revolution.”
Because Coin is largely seen through Katniss’s eyes in the books, Moore had the freedom to create much of her interior from scratch. “In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, Coin sees herself as a very practical revolutionary, someone who is focused on making the best decisions for her people and for the people in the other Districts. Francis and I talked and while we wanted Coin to feel very real, we also wanted her to be someone who is really hard to get to know.”
Director Francis Lawrence was thrilled with how Moore fused with Coin in her performance. “Coin’s singular vision to unite all of the districts in a massive rebellion is no small undertaking, especially when most of the districts have no idea that District 13 still exists. She has to be a tough leader,” the director notes. “Her relationship with Katniss is very complicated as well. Julianne has done an amazing job shaping the character.”
“She goes into the propos feeling like a pawn, like the Mockingjay is just a symbol she’s not connected to or passionate about,” Lawrence says. “The whole idea of the propos is to get people fired up, to band together – so Katniss faking at being something that she’s not doesn’t work. It’s only when she sees the human cost in District 8 that a true spark is ignited. The more she sees, the more it becomes a personal fight for her.”
Lawrence was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Julianne Moore in the role of President Coin. “When I heard she was going to play Coin, it was the most exciting, unbelievable news in the world. I think Julianne is one of the greatest actresses of all time, just absolutely phenomenal. She was even more impressive in person. She is such a sweet family woman and also hilarious. Working with her was a dream come true.”
While Lawrence and Moore got along, their characters have a cool tension between them. “Their relationship is complicated. They share similar ideals, but with all she’s been through, Katniss feels she cannot fully trust her,” Lawrence comments. “President Coin can see how important Katniss is to leading this rebellion, but she also doesn’t believe Katniss can actually do it. She’s still suffering from post-traumatic stress and President Coin is skeptical that using Katniss is something that she can actually control.”
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” opens November 20 in Philippine cinemas (nationwide) from Pioneer Films.