CATEGORIES Movies
hunger games mockingjay first lookIn the weeks and months following the sudden death of Philip Seymour Hoffman earlier this year, there was some confusion over how his role in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay" would be completed. Now, director Francis Lawrence has clarified earlier reports that Hoffman's part will be re-created with CGI, and discussed just what filmmakers are planning to do in the actor's absence.

During a roundtable discussion posted on the "Hunger Games" viral website, Lawrence noted that contrary to popular belief, the only version of Hoffman that would appear in "Mockingjay -- Part 1" and "Mockingjay -- Part 2" would be from existing footage -- not something conjured on a computer screen.

"We finished the majority of his work," Lawrence said of Hoffman before his death on February 2. "I think he might have had eight to 10 days left on our schedule. In most of those scenes, Phil didn't have any dialogue. We are going to put him into those scenes, but we're only using real footage. We're not creating anything digital or a robotic version of him."

As for what the footage of Hoffman reveals, Lawrence said the actor's interpretation of his character shines.

"This is the movie where Phil shows us who Plutarch really is, and he is great in this movie, hitting on Plutarch's sense of humor and his political maneuvering," the director said.

Producer Nina Jacobson, who also participated in the roundtable, added that filmmakers won't attempt to recreate Hoffman's voice, either, instead allowing other actors to pick up his remaining dialogue.

"We might give a line of Plutarch's to Haymitch or Effie, but only in circumstances that we are able to do that without undermining the intent of the scene," Jacobson said.

That solution dovetails perfectly with Effie's expanded role in the "Mockingjay" films. According to Lawrence, author Suzanne Collins was so impressed with actress Elizabeth Banks's performance in "The Hunger Games" and "Catching Fire" that she specifically requested more of Effie in the two-part finale of the series. (Effie doesn't appear much in the third book of the trilogy.)

Those revelations coincide with Lionsgate's release of the first official images from the film, which show characters new (President Coin, played by Julianne Moore) and old (Plutarch; Beetee, played by Jeffrey Wright; Haymitch, played by Woody Harrelson). Coin's appearance is especially striking, and lines up perfectly with her description in the book. We're excited to see Moore's interpretation of the character, a ruthless political leader with an enigmatic facade.

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1" hits theaters on November 21. "Part 2" is due out on November 20, 2015.

[via:The Hunger Games Exclusive, h/t Screen Crush]