17 Things We Learned About 'The Hunger Games' Cast During Their Final Comic-Con Visit
By John Boone
Photo: Getty Images
“I’m Team Josh! And I’ll fight anyone who isn’t!”
So said Conan O’Brien as he took the stage in Hall H to moderate The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 panel, featuring castmembers Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, and Willow Shields, as well as director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson.
This year is also the last time they will assemble here for Hunger Games, thus ending their Comic-Con reign. Here’s everything we learned during the panel, the audience Q&A, and the press conference afterwards.
1. Mockingjay Part 2 looks BONKERS: It’s never fun reading a description of a trailer, but that’s why fans camp out overnight to get into Hall H. Anyway, here’s what we saw in the exclusive, full-length trailer that debuted during the panel: The sewers under the Capitol! Mutations! Loads of explosions and booby traps! Tigris! Snow ominously saying, “The game is coming to its end.” Peeta optimistically saying, “Our lives were never ours, they belonged to Snow. If you kill him Katniss, you end all of this. All of those deaths will mean something.”
The panel opened with this “Stand and Unite” teaser you *can* watch now:
2. The ending will be “completely satisfying.” Jacobson promises it. Francis Lawrence says it was a “massive task” to bring it all together, but knows the ending will be the most “satisfying” and “gratifying” part of the process.
“It ends the story,” he explained. “I’m just excited for people to see how it closes out and to see that emotion and that history play out.”
3. Don’t expect a completely different ending. Other big screen adaptations have taken creative liberties with the final installment, but Lawrence says that Mockingjay Part 2 will stay true to the source material.
“Things change in adaptation, so there will be some differences,” he explained. “But we’ve always wanted to make the books. I think anyone who loved the end of the books will love the end of the movie. It’s really, really emotional.”
4. Saying goodbye was the hardest part. The cast confirmed that the epilogue from the book is in the movie. “We shot in a field and I cried that day,” Jennifer recalled. “I was like, ‘I just realized this is the last one’ and it was like, day one of 150.”
"We wish there were seven or eight books, not just three,” Jacobson chimed in.
Meanwhile, Hutcherson says Hunger Games has been “the most incredible moviemaking experience. And just the best experience of my life. Getting to meet these people--“ At this point, he got a little emotional and Jennifer and Liam started stroking his face.
“What’s on your fingers?” Hutcherson asked Jennifer. Moment sufficiently ruined. He continued, “There’s so many people who were involved in making these movies -- hundreds and hundreds -- and they were so great.”
5. But they’ll stay best friends. “We’re all best friends,” Jennifer said, then turned to Josh and confirmed, “I’m your best friend right? So, we see each other all the time. But it was emotional.”
“I don’t miss seeing them because we all still hang out,” she continued during the press conference. “I do miss acting with them, because this horrible thing happens where we can’t make eye contact with each other without laughing. I don’t have that problem with any other actors on any other movies."
Hutcherson added, “Jen really creates a great vibe on a set that will be missed on future projects...I think because she acts so crazy and genuine, it allows every else around her to feel free.”
6. Yes, they’re all on a group text. Aka the greatest group text ever. “On the last day, I started a whole entire Hunger Games group text,” Jennifer added, in addition to the one that’s just the three of them.
7. Liam Hemsworth watches Vanderpump Rules. While discussing how they will remain close, Jennifer possibly revealed one of Liam’s deepest, darkest secrets. “Josh, Liam, and I live on our own island in L.A.” she told us. “We’re always just at Liam’s house in Malibu drinking wine and watching reality TV. You love Vanderpump Rules,” she outed Liam.
She continued, “He texted me weeks later and was like, ‘KRISTEN AND WHAT’S HIS NAME USED TO DATE?’ He was still watching it.”
8. Jennifer’s favorite Hunger Games moment: During the panel, Jennifer was asked to name her favorite moment from the series. “Of all the movies?!” she cried, before sitting and thinking for...a long time. “Suddenly I can’t remember this period of my life.”
In the end, she said her favorite moment is in Part 2, so she can’t spoil it.
9. Geeta -- or is it Pale? -- is real. Presenting this exchange without comment:
Jennifer: “Apparently you guys have a scene [in Part 2] I don’t know about!” Liam: “Peter and I have a talk--" Josh: “Peeta!” Liam: “We have a really emotional scene and there might be a kiss between Josh and I.” Josh: “He said no spoilers, man!”
10. Liam isn’t so optimistic about Gatniss. Or is it Kale? When asked what he would say to his character, Gale, Liam chuckled, “I would say, ‘It’s alright, mate. There’s plenty of fish in the sea.’”
11. None of them can do the Mockingjay whistle. A Twitter user wrote in to ask if the cast would do the sing-songy salute. “I have to be honest,” Liam admitted. “Every time I try to do it comes out as ‘The X-Files.’”
And then it just devolved into marking different bird noises. Watch:
12. Wrapping the movie was more cuddles than tears. “Me and Josh wrapped a day before the last day of wrap,” Liam recalled. “You [Jennifer] and Woody had the last scene.”
The boys returned for the final night of shooting though. “Then we just held each other for an hour,” Jennifer says. “There’s no way to say this without starting rumors, that night we held each other and slept like puppies.”
The cast says Francis Lawrence gave a touching speech, Woody Harrelson said some words (“It was slurred,” Josh recalls), and then, Hutcherson turned to Jennifer, “I think you tried to give a speech.”
“That always happens to me,” Jennifer moaned. “I’ll be listening and we’ll be crying and then someone will go, ‘Jen, did you want to say something?’”
13. Here’s what Jennifer wanted to steal from set: When asked which of Katniss' costumes she’d like to keep, Jennifer responded, “I love the wedding dress from Catching Fire because it’s..understated. The wetsuits would be funny because that would be hilarious to take to a beach.”
14. Jennifer’s thoughts on sexism in Hollywood: During the panel, Jennifer commented that she was 20 when the movies started and she’s now 24, which Hutcherson joked is 40 in Hollywood.
At the press conference later, Jennifer was asked about that, and whether she thinks there are more opportunities for women in film today. “I would hope so. Umm. Uhh,” she paused. “Well, that’s risky, Jennifer. I’m starting this new thing. I’ve tried to develop a filter. I’m working on it. And right now I’m dancing on, this could blow people’s hair back in a good way. Or it could be my last time at Comic-Con. But yeah, I would hope so. A lot of times, there’s a--“
At that moment, Jennifer was distracted by a WhatsApp that popped up on one of the many phones recording on the podium. “I am stalling. I would hope there are more opportunities for women. I was having a conversation with somebody about the struggles of weight in the industry -- I know that’s something I talk nonstop about -- and they said, ‘But all of the main movie stars aren’t really underweight.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, because once you get to a certain place, people will hire you, and they just want you to be in their movie, so they don’t care.’”
She continued, “It’s more about the struggle for the actors and actresses who have not made it to a certain place where they’re hirable no matter what...I’m not really at a place where I could complain or speak of not getting enough roles, because I’m very lucky. But I would be interested to hear someone who’s not in two franchises answer that question.”
15. Jennifer won’t say goodbye to Katniss. During the panel, Jennifer was asked which of the characters she’s played has rubbed off on her most. “The drinking really rubbed off on me from American Hustle. I’M JOKING!”
She went on to give a particularly lovely answer about how she hopes some of Katniss’ bravery and leadership has rubbed off on her. As for saying goodbye to Katniss in this film, Jennifer said, “I don’t really feel like it’s happened yet. It’s such a huge part of my life. These movies really did change my life.
“The people in my life are still--“ she turned to Josh and Liam. “You guys challenged me. And I love you. I think the changes that happened in my life from doing this movies are so permanent, I don’t think I’ll ever truly say goodbye to her. It’s a part of me.
16. Oh, and Jennifer was hungry during the panel. One reporter apparently caught her mouthing “I’m hungry” to Liam in Hall H and asked her about it during the press conference, which lead to this peak Jennifer Lawrence story: “I did say I was hungry,” Jennifer said proudly. “And I did eat a Panini and some cheese and crackers and a wrap and some chips.”
“Then I tried to grab French fries and this stern lady literally swatted my hand away and said, ‘NO!” I said ‘wooow’ I haven’t been talked to like that since the first movie came out. I kind of liked it."