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November 2015

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DIRECTOR'S CHAIR 20 POST NOVEMBER 2015 irector/producer Francis Lawrence got his start — and honed his skills — directing music videos for such A-listers as Beyonce, Jay Z, Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson, Pink, Britney Spears and J. Lo, and commercials for Pepsi, Coke, L'Oreal, Bacardi and Calvin Klein, among many other clients. In 2005 he made his directorial debut with Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves, and followed that up with 2007's I Am Legend, starring Will Smith, and 2011's Water for Elephants with Reese Witherspoon. Over the last few years, Lawrence has helped steer the Hunger Games series of films — and directed three of the four — to become one of the most successful franchises of all time (over $2 billion and counting, so far). And now he's back for the final installment of the sci-fi dystopian series, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2, in which Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) realizes the stakes are no longer just for survival — they are for the future. With the nation of Panem in a full-scale war, Katniss confronts president Snow (Donald Sutherland) in the final showdown. Teamed with a group of her closest friends, including Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Finnick (Sam Claflin) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Katniss goes off on a mission with the unit from District 13 as they risk their lives to lib- erate the citizens of Panem, and stage an assassination attempt on president Snow, who has become increasingly obsessed with destroying her. The mortal traps, ene- mies and moral choices that await Katniss will challenge her more than any arena she faced in The Hunger Games. Here, in an exclusive interview with Post, Lawrence talks about making the final film, dealing with all the effects, and his love of post. How did your years doing music videos and commercials help prepare you for directing these huge, complex movies? "The main thing I learned was through experience. Doing videos and commer- cials for 12 years before I even did a movie allowed me to try a lot of things and experiment with various techniques. Music videos in particular are like this experi- mental paradise — as long as they say 'yes,' you can try anything, and I tried a lot, from telling little mini-stories to doing pieces that were completely visual, and things that were very real, and things that were very stylized. I tried and messed around with a lot of visual effects, and worked with a lot of different personali- ties and shot all over the world, so by the time I did my first film I'd already spent hundreds of days on the set. So I was very experienced working with the visual side of things and all the equipment and VFX, and the basics of dealing with crews and scheduling and on-set problems and weather and budgets and so on, and by the time I got to these films, all that was a no-brainer for me, and I could just focus on the storytelling and pacing." For this final installment, what sort of film did you set out to make, and how much pressure did you feel to top yourself? "With the concluding chapter, I think tonally and emotionally this is a war movie. That's what I set out to make, and Katniss is back into action. Pressure- wise? I guess with each of them I've FRANCIS LAWRENCE: THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY — PART 2 D HIGH STAKES FOR THE SCI-FI DYSTOPIAN SERIES' FINAL INSTALLMENT BY IAIN BLAIR Mockingjay Part 1 and 2 were shot back to back, allowing the productions to share sets. PHOTO CREDIT: MURRAY CLOSE

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