NEW YORK – Traversing the Big Apple this week is one obvious film about politics, Jon Stewart's “Rosewater,” but the cast of another political film is also making the rounds. Yes, if one thing was made abundantly clear at today's press conference, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” is a political movie.
Once again starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, the first “Mockingjay” movie offers far fewer action sequences than the previous two entries (Katniss fires a single arrow in the movie), and is instead much more about the chess game between Katniss and the District 13 rebels on the one side and President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and the Capitol on the other.
Speaking during the press conference, Sutherland told us that he took on the role of Snow in the movies because, in part, he wanted it to be a “catalyst” to get people up and doing something to change and better the world. That is something that Sutherland said hasn't really happened in two generations.
“The world that my generation is leaving everyone is a disaster,” Sutherland explained without mincing words. He wants the movies to help young people “generate an energy that will take them into the voting booths.”
It wasn't just Sutherland and Lawrence on the dais, and others did enter into the political discussion as well. For completion's sake, the aforementioned actors were joined by Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Julianne Moore, Jeffrey Wright, Willow Shields, Sam Claflin, Mahershala Ali, Natalie Dormer, Francis Lawrence, and Nina Jacobson.
Well after Sutherland's statement, Wright echoed the “M*A*S*H” actor, suggesting that there was a move towards fundamentalism in many different areas taking place in our society. We were also reminded that the movie is about the unfolding strategies of the two sides, and that is definitely a political discussion (fascism versus some form of democracy), the answers didn't shy away from it.
The somber moments went beyond Sutherland, Wright, and the political talk. On two separate occasions, Josh Hutcherson, while clearly happy about being able to work on the films, lamented the loss of anonymity that has come with his being a bigger star. There was also a brief discussion about the actors being upset that the filming of these four movies-and consequently a chapter of their lives-has come to a close.
No Jennifer Lawrence press event would be complete, however, without at least one or two self-deprecating but humorous and sincere moments from the actress. We certainly got those, and they included tales of her being honest about not brushing her teeth after eating a smelly sandwich prior to a kissing scene and a selfie she took during a break while filming in a meadow.
The best moment though didn't come from Lawrence, but rather Dormer discussing Lawrence. One of the final questions asked Lawrence what characteristics she shared with Katniss and after Lawrence trying to come up with a good answer herself, Dormer jumped in explaining that just as Katniss doesn't have an ego, “nor does Jennifer Lawrence.”
Perhaps that is why she has become such a popular actress and will, presumably, continue to be popular once “The Hunger Games” franchise winds-up. Even if filming is complete, that won't happen for a while as “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” will only hit theaters on November 20th, 2015.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” opens this Friday, November 21st.