The Hunger Games Director Regrets Copying Harry Potter's Worst Mistake
It was only after the second part of Mockingjay was released that Francis Lawrence realized why splitting the last book into two movies was such a terrible idea.
Live-action adaptations of popular book series have always been an incredibly tricky art: while keeping true to the source material to appease long-time fans, directors are restricted by the realities of movie-making and the need to attract new audiences. Hence, there are hardly any adaptations that are deemed perfect or even just good.
The Hunger Games movies dealt with their fair share of fan backlashes and mistakes just like any other adapted franchise, but one mistake in particular bugged director Francis Lawrence long after the final film was done. He regretted following in the footsteps of the Harry Potter movies and repeating their controversial move.
Once Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows split its last book’s adaptation into two movies, many directors took after David Yates and started doing the same thing. Lawrence, too, went this way with the adaptation of Mockingjay, and it was only much later that he realized how much frustration this move cost his fans.
"I totally regret it. <...> What I realized in retrospect — and after hearing all the reactions and feeling the kind of wrath of fans, critics, and people at the split — is that I realized it was frustrating. And I can understand it. <...> I see and understand how it frustrated people,” the director shared with People.
Indeed, having to wait an extra year or more for the story to continue is not the best feeling in the world for fans, and it’s even remotely not the same as waiting just one week between two TV show episodes. Lawrence didn’t understand how such a wait would affect fans — but they made sure to express their frustration, and he came to regret the decision.
At the same time, Francis Lawrence doesn’t shy away from admitting the positives of this approach: the director shared how it was handy to have four hours of screen time instead of two to fit more source material and subtle details into it. Still, fans are the priority — and despite the obvious pros, the con that is their frustration took over.