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Director defends level of violence in latest Hunger Games movie

Published 06/11/2015

Francis Lawrence attending the UK Premiere of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2.
Francis Lawrence attending the UK Premiere of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2.

Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence has defended the inclusion of violent scenes in the final film, despite its 12A certificate.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 shows the bombing of young children, a public execution, and an attack by human-sized mutated "lizard mutts" with flesh-tearing jaws - which ends in the death of a character.

The director said: "In the visual interpretation of the stories, I wanted to make sure that we were again focusing on the emotional consequence of it, not the carnage, not the blood... you'll notice there's very, very little blood. That's not what I wanted to explore, that's not what I'm interested in."

The franchise is based on the fantasy trilogy by American novelist Suzanne Collins and tells the story of the Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her battle against the despotic Capitol, led by President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

On his decision about how much violence to include, he said at a press conference in London: "That was probably the biggest challenge I had in the making of this movie specifically. I think each of the movies has been violent in its own way, but this was going to be the toughest."

He added: "Suzanne wrote these books with the intention of writing about the consequence of war for teenagers. And you go to make a movie about the same thing, and I think part of the reason the books are so popular is that she did not flinch. She didn't patronise kids. She didn't flinch at the telling of the stories, and her treatment of the themes, and so I felt like we couldn't either."

An initial report by the British Board of Film Classification said the film contained "moderate violence and threat, and infrequent strong language". The long insight report is due on November 9.

A 12A certificate means it is recommended for children ages 12 and over, but younger children may watch the film if accompanied by an adult.

Lawrence has directed the final three of the four films in the franchise, which star Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson and Donald Sutherland.

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