The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was the highest grossing film of 2013, the first female-fronted movie to do so in four decades. Now that it has hit the home video market, you can bet it’s going to move a ton of units there, too. To accompany the Blu-ray/DVD/VOD/streaming/what-have-you release, a ton of new stuff from the film has been surfacing, including this deleted scene and a collection of four behind the scenes stills from production.
This video, from MTV, starts off with some funny back and forth between Sam Claflin, who plays the hunky former tribute Finnick Odair, and Jenna Malone, who plays the cold, vicious Johanna Mason, another previous winner of the Hunger Games. Like with any literary adaptation, there are going to be scenes that are cut out, either in the scripting process, or they are filmed, but left on the cutting room floor. Most of Mason’s scenes made their way into the finished product, which already brushes up against the two-and-a-half hour mark. Apparently Claflin wasn’t so fortunate, which is where this clip comes from.
After the victors of the previous Hunger Games get called back into service, they go through the usual training process the tributes undergo. The difference is that they’ve all been through this before. This particular scene comes from the training room, and Finnick shows our heroine, Katniss Everdeend (Jennifer Lawrence), what he says is the only knot that she’ll need in the arena, a noose. You can see why it was left out; there is already enough training footage in the movie, as well as interactions between Katniss and Finnick, that you get what they’re going for. If nothing else, now Claflin knows how to tie a noose really fast, which is always a useful life skill.
These new set photos come from our lovely older sibling Cinema Blend, and offer a nice glimpse at the production. The first image is an intimate moment between Katniss and her sister Prim (Willow Shields). A relatively peaceful moment, this takes place in the wake of the first film, and sure, Katniss may be dealing with some lingering issues, but she’s still alive, and their entire world hasn’t gone completely to shit just yet. It will, soon, but not right now. That’s director Francis Lawrence hanging out to the left, supervising the proceedings.
Prim pops up in this next photo as well, along with some other supporting characters in the run down District 12. Katniss’ mother (Paula Malcomson) makes an appearance, and their plain décor contrasts distinctly with the style of Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), the overly affected attaché from the Capital of Panem.
The Hunger Games is all about spectacle, and a big part of that is introducing the contestants to the public. Catching Fire is different because all of the participants are all previous winners, and already celebrities. But one thing we know, people love to see stars, and you get two of them here with Finnick, and Cesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci), complete with his bouffant hairdo and creepy white teeth that you’re always a little afraid may go for your throat.
This last picture shows Claflin taking it easy on set between shots, that wicked looking trident slung over his shoulders. You also get a view of the Cornucopia, where the contestants enter the arena, and where the weapons and supplies are stored. You also get an idea of the visual tricks the film uses to create their environments.
The Hunger Games is fine, but still deeply flawed. I enjoy it, but Catching Fire ups the ante in a big way, and addresses most of the problems with the first film. There is still room to improve, but the second installment is a huge step in the right direction. We’ll see if this trend continues when the next movie, Mockingjay Part 1, hits this fall. No matter what, you know it’s going to make a serious pile of money, but it would be nice to see a good movie, too.