Francis Lawrence on Mockingjay Part 2: "This is the war movie

With the final film in The Hunger Games franchise just over a month away from release, SFX sat down with director, Francis Lawrence to talk about how it's different from Mockingjay Part 1 and why he didn't go full Tarantino.

"Visually it’s different because it’s a very different story,” shares Lawrence. "The last one takes place underground and Katniss is sidelined. There’s a lot less action and it’s dark and claustrophobic. This one’s very different. Very quickly we’re out of District 13 and in District 2. And we spend a lot of time in the Capitol. That gives a different foundation for visual choices that opens the film up in a much bigger way. It’s much more epic.

"I think it’s also much more similar tonally to the first two movies. The war in this movie is essentially an arena. There are definitely shared themes throughout the entire series. This is the movie where all of the themes coalesce. The last one was about propaganda and the media and the manipulation of imagery. Those aspects and the consequences of war and violence all come together here."

Was Lawrence worried about creating a violent Tarantino-style movie, which would alienated the film's teenage fanbase? "I was both concerned and determined not to flinch," he admits. "One of the big themes of this story is violence – the effects of violence and the consequences of it. These books are targeted at teenagers. Part of the reason they appealed is that Suzanne didn’t flinch. And luckily people have embraced it. You also don’t want to flinch.

"But you don’t want to get an R rating and alienate all the teenagers that the books are meant for. My goal was not to focus on the carnage, on the bloodbath aspect of it, but on the emotional impact, the emotional consequences. We did the things that are in the book. It needs to have impact. That’s where you don’t want to flinch. You just don’t need to fetishise the blood, the carnage and the gore.”

Directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 will open in the UK and US on November 20 2015. Read the full interview with Lawrence, plus loads more in the new issue of SFX magazine out October 14.