I wanted to start by looking back on the original films, because I imagine when you were in the thick of it, releasing three films back to back to back, you’re so focused on that task. Now that you’ve had a little distance from doing Catching Fire and the two Mockingjay films, what do you make of the franchise’s legacy?
Francis Lawrence: There’s something very fulfilling. I feel honored to have been invited in to be a big part of it. I feel happy that we made so many fans happy around the world. It’s an interesting thing, and it’s sort of twofold. One is that you’re right, I was in the middle of it and it was so fast and furious when we were making my movies. But there was a moment at the end of Mockingjay Two when the museum opened, the Hunger Games exhibition.
It’s that museum that traveled around and now it’s, I think, permanently in Vegas. Me and Jen and Josh and Liam got a tour of it. And, you know, the music’s playing and you see all the costumes, you see all the sets, and all the work that went in and thinking, like, “Wow, millions of people are going to come through this museum. We’re part of something that’s deserving of this museum.” I had never thought of that. It was really, really moving.
And there’s another sort of weird story that ties into my first movie [Constantine]. When I made my first movie, I went each day on the weekend to a different theater and saw it around town in LA. I remember on this Sunday, I went [in the] afternoon to Westwood, and it was a rainy Sunday and the theater wasn’t very full, and I was a little bummed about it. Sitting in front of me was this couple that was making out through the whole movie.
At first, I was sort of annoyed, and I was, like, “God, you’re not even watching the movie!” And I realized movies mean more than just what we intend when we make it, right? It’s more than just the story; it’s more than just the actors; it’s more than just the spectacle. It’s part of a cultural, emotional experience, whether it’s growing up or getting old or whatever it is. There’s something else. That first movie of mine—whether that couple’s together or not, they’re gonna remember that they made out during this movie. It’s the same thing with Hunger Games. You realize, like, we made something, a series of movies that are so important in people’s lives and are imprinted. So you hear the whistle or you hear ‘The Hanging Tree’, and it brings back memories. That’s very meaningful.