During an interview with People magazine, published online Friday, the filmmaker admitted that if he had to redo the Jennifer Lawrence-led films, he wouldn’t split Mockingjay into two separate parts.
“I totally regret it. I totally do,” Lawrence said. “I’m not sure everybody does, but I definitely do.”
He also noted that the team agreed at the time that the two halves of Mockingjay, which were released in theaters a year apart, “had their own separate dramatic questions,” which made for complete arcs. But he also acknowledged why some fans weren’t too happy with the long waiting period between the films.
“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 said. “And I can understand it.”
He continued, “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. Our intentions were not to be disingenuous.”
But the director also added that it was nice being able to adapt more from the books by breaking it up into two parts.
“In truth, we got more on the screen out of the book than we would’ve in any of the other movies because you’re getting close to four hours of screen time for the final book,” he explained.
As for his upcoming prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which arrives in theaters on Nov. 17, Lawrence said the intention was always to make one movie from Suzanne Collins’ book that was published in 2020, even if it meant for a longer run time.
“I would never let them split the book in two,” he said. “There was never a real conversation about it. It’s a long book, but we got so much shit for splitting Mockingjay into two — from fans, from critics, from everybody — that I was like, ‘No way. I’ll just make a longer movie.’ “