Director Francis Lawrence regrets splitting his adaptation of the final Hunger Games book, Mockingjay, into two movies.
In an interview with People ahead of the November 17 release of his newest film, The Hunger Games’ President Snow origin story The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Lawrence says he wouldn’t split Mockingjay into two parts if given the chance to do it over.
“I totally regret it. I totally do. I’m not sure everybody does, but I totally do,” Lawrence says.
While Lawrence thinks both Mockingjay – Part 1 and Mockingjay – Part 2 tell complete stories of their own, he understands why some fans didn’t appreciate the choice to split it up.
“What I realized in retrospect — and after hearing all the reactions and feeling the kind of wrath of fans, critics and people at the split — is that I realized it was frustrating,” Lawrence says. “And I can understand it.”
He believes some of the frustration came from leaving his audience on a cliffhanger at the end of Mockingjay – Part 1.
“In an episode of television, if you have a cliffhanger, you have to wait a week or you could just binge it and then you can see the next episode. But making people wait a year, I think, came across as disingenuous, even though it wasn’t,” Lawrence explains.
This led to Lawrence’s choice to make only one movie when adapting The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
“I would never let them split the book in two,” Lawrence says. “There was never a real conversation about it. It’s a long book, but we got so much s*** for splitting Mockingjay into two — from fans, from critics, from everybody — that I was like, ‘No way. I’ll just make a longer movie.'”
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