TIME movies

Hear Jennifer Lawrence Sing in Mockingjay

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
Jennifer Lawrence stars as ‘Katniss Everdeen’ in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 Murray Close—Lionsgate

The Academy Award-winning actress is pretty good

Jennifer Lawrence reportedly had so much trouble getting past her nerves that she cried when she had to sing “The Hanging Tree” in the latest installment of The Hunger Games.

“She’d probably tell you it was her least favorite day,” said Francis Lawrence, the movie’s director. “She was horrified to sing, she cried a little bit in the morning before she had to sing.”

But, as it turns out, the Academy Award-winning actress is pretty good.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 opens in theaters on Nov. 21.




TIME movies

The Real-Life Hunger Games: Meet the Ancient Women Who Lived Like Katniss

Hunger Games Mockingjay
Murray Close—Lionsgate

Women may have battled in the Roman arena, too, according to some evidence

Katniss Everdeen returns to the big screen Friday in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, and though she left the arena behind at the end of Catching Fire, she’s still a gladiator at heart.

Or rather, a gladiatrix.

It turns out there is some historical evidence that women may indeed have fought in the Roman games—though not necessarily alongside their male peers, as Katniss does in the Hunger Games, and likely not with such high stakes.

Kathleen M. Coleman, Professor of Classics at Harvard University, says there are accounts of the emperors staging gladiatorial spectacles in which women also participated, and that a decree of the Senate from A.D. 19 forbade both male and female descendants of the upper class from participating in such spectacles. “This doesn’t prove that women were fighting as gladiators,” she says, “but it suggests that the society was afraid that they might want to.”

More famously, a marble bas relief sculpture from between the first and second century A.D. depicts two gladiatrices in battle, with an inscription saying they fought to a draw. They are named Achillia, the feminine form of Achilles, and Amazon, the name of a group of mythical female fighters. It was common for gladiators to adopt epic stage names after their favorite heroes.

Roman civilization, Relief portraying fight between female gladiators
Dea / A. Dagliorti—De Agostini/Getty Images

Since neither woman died in the fight, the sculpture is clearly not an epitaph, so Coleman says it might have been “something put up in a gladiatorial barracks,” where the fighters lived separately from civilians, “commemorating the sort of greatest hits of that barracks.”

Like Katniss, gladiatrices likely had humble beginnings. While some gladiators did choose of their own volition to take on the profession and thus enter the lowest rung of the social ladder, the majority were slaves. Those who did volunteer were likely in it either for the valor or to escape debts—after all, as Coleman says, “if you can’t own, then you can’t owe.”

Is that really so different from the Girl on Fire, the volunteer from District 12 who sacrifices herself to pay her sister’s debt?

There were many types of gladiators, and each type came with its own weapons, armor and moves. You sometimes might see two styles pitted against each other, Coleman says. “So the one style might be very heavily armed and protected, and will therefore be relatively impregnable—but slow. The opponent might be very scantily armed, and therefore very fast and unencumbered, but vulnerable. These kinds of pairings seem to have interested Romans.”

Katniss might have been at ease in the arena with her weapon of choice: the Sagittarius gladiator was known for using a bow and arrow.

Unlike the young combattants in the Hunger Games, the gladiators didn’t usually fight to the death. Though “occasionally a very poor performance might result in the gladiator losing his life,” Coleman says, losers would often be sent back for more training, and might even have the option to retire.

The odds may not have been ever in their favor, but they sure got a better deal than Rue.

TIME celebrities

See Hunger Games: Mockingjay Stars’ Most Memorable Past Roles

From the Mighty Ducks to Game of Thrones, see the other titles from which you might recognize the cast members

The large cast of the Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 comes from an equally as diverse cinematic background. Take a look back at some of the other roles you may have seen them in.

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 hits theaters Nov. 21, 2014.


TIME movies

New Hunger Games: Mockingjay Clip Shows District 8 Under Fire

The teaser clip surfaced just days before the latest sequel hits theaters on November 21

Another teaser clip from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1 has surfaced online, just days before the hotly anticipated sequel opens in theaters on November 21.

The clip offers a first glimpse of Katniss and friends trecking through the urban wasteland of District 8. Judging by what happens next, it’s no walk in the park.

TIME celebrity

Here’s the Unusual Way Donald Sutherland Landed His Role in The Hunger Games

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" - World Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals
Donald Sutherland attends the world Ppremiere of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" at Odeon Leicester Square on November 10, 2014 in London, England. Anthony Harvey—Getty Images

He wrote a passionate letter to the director about the script, and THEN they offered him the part

When watching a Hunger Games movie, it feels like Donald Sutherland was born to play Coriolanus Snow, the menacing president of Panem. But the film’s creators didn’t initially have him in mind for the role — and the trilogy could have turned out quite differently if he hadn’t taken the initial steps to nab the part.

“Nobody asked me to do it. I wasn’t offered it,” he says in a recent interview with GQ. “I like to read scripts, and it captured my passion.” So he decided to write a letter, which eventually made its way to director Gary Ross. After reading the script, Sutherland decided this was “an incredibly important film,” and he wanted to be part of it.

“I thought it could wake up an electorate that had been dormant since the ’70s,” he said.

Sutherland admitted that he was inspired even though he had never read the books. In fact, he didn’t know they existed at all. Still, his passion was palpable, and Ross soon offered him the role of President Snow. Boom. That should teach us all a thing or two about being aggressive and proactive and going confidently in the direction of our dreams or whatever.

Read Sutherland’s full letter over at Business Insider.

TIME celebrities

Jennifer Lawrence: Privacy Loss Takes Heavy Toll

"Being chased by 10 men you don't know, or being surrounded, feels invasive and makes me feel scared and gets my adrenaline going every day."

NEW YORK — Jennifer Lawrence says she knew being a movie star would bring with it a certain loss of privacy. What she didn’t know, she says, was the deep emotional and even physical toll it would take.

“I knew the paparazzi were going to be a reality in my life,” the 24-year-old Oscar winner said in an interview Saturday. “But I didn’t know that I would feel anxiety every time I open my front door, or that being chased by 10 men you don’t know, or being surrounded, feels invasive and makes me feel scared and gets my adrenaline going every day.”

Lawrence was recently in the news when private nude photos of her and other celebrities were hacked, then posted online. She took the forceful position then that the hacking was not a scandal but “a sex crime.”

The actress spoke to the AP Saturday while promoting “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1,” the third installment of the blockbuster franchise that catapulted her to stardom.

“You can say, ‘This (invasion of privacy) is part of my job and this is going to be a reality of my life,'” Lawrence said, “but what you don’t expect is how your body and how your emotions are going to react to it.”

And yet, she added with her typical candor, the general public isn’t very sympathetic to such celebrity complaints: “Nobody wants to help us because it seems like, you know, ‘Shut up, millionaires!'”

Sitting alongside her co-stars Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, Lawrence told the AP that although she adores her job, “There are some things that I couldn’t really prepare for.”

As an example, she described checking into a hotel and opening the window to discover “a team of paparazzi outside that are shooting up into my hotel room. And we can’t ask them to move because they’re on public property. And they can photograph me because I’m a public person or can chase me because I’m a public person.”

“If these laws are going to be in place to protect the press and to protect the paparazzi and to protect the news,” she said, “then new measures need to be made, because this is an entirely new phenomenon. This didn’t exist 200 years ago.

“And my belief, and it’s something I am going to work very hard on changing and I hope it changes before I die, is to make it illegal to buy, post or shop a photo that’s been obtained illegally,” she said. “I have photographers that jump my fence … if somebody jumps my fence and takes a picture through my window of me naked, that’s illegal, but the photos can still be everywhere (online) the next day, and that makes no sense!”

Lawrence told Vanity Fair not long after the hacking episode, in which the photos were posted on various websites, that even those who looked at the photos online were perpetuating what she called the sex crime.

Calls for more policing of the Internet have clashed with concerns that such actions could mute its role as a megaphone for exposing abuses in government and elsewhere.

A “safe harbor” clause in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act absolves websites of legal liability for most content posted on their services. The law, known as the DMCA, requires websites and other Internet service providers to remove a piece of content believed to be infringing on a copyright after being notified of a violation by the copyright owner.

Though some websites pulled the naked photos of Lawrence and others, it didn’t happen quickly enough to prevent people from making their own copies on personal devices.

Lawrence’s co-stars echoed her concerns.

“They say, well, this is part of it, you should have known — but you can’t know. You don’t know how hard it is to lose your anonymity until it’s gone,” noted Hutcherson, 22, who plays Peeta Mellark to Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen.

Added Hemsworth, 24, who plays Gale Hawthorne: “There’s really no right reason for that (kind of thing) to be allowed.”


TIME Television

Hunger Games Cast Parodies Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’ on SNL

Three highlights from Saturday's episode, hosted by Woody Harrelson with special appearances by Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth

Woody Harrelson volunteered as tribute to host Saturday Night Live a few days before the The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 movie hits theaters, and he got by with a little help from his friends. Costars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth stopped by Harrelson’s opening monologue to help joke about the actor’s hazy memory and the first time he hosted the late-night sketch show — in the year 1989, which prompted a parody sing-along to 1989 singer (and TIME cover star) Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.”

Watch his opening monologue, above, and catch two other highlights from the episode, which featured musical guest Kendrick Lamar, below.

“The Dudleys”: A sketch about a sitcom family that’s constantly recast to quell Internet outrage poked fun at television’s diversity problem and featured a cameo from Orange Is the New Black‘s “Crazy Eyes” (Uzo Aduba).

“Young Tarts & Old Farts”: Inspired by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett’s recent duets album, Cheek to Cheek, the writers of Saturday Night Love dreamed up some other odd musical collaborations, including Ariana Grande and Lionel Richie; Macklemore and Diana Ross; Meghan Trainor and B.B. King; Aretha Franklin and Robyn; and Elton John and Blue Ivy Carter. Of course, mismatched, generation-spanning collaborations have become a classic SNL trope, most memorably in a 1982 parody of the song “Ebony and Ivory,” in which Joe Piscopo’s Frank Sinatra sings to Eddie Murphy: “You are black, and I am white. Life’s an Eskimo Pie, let’s take a bite.”

TIME Television

Why Jennifer Lawrence Is Terrified of Singing in Public

Says she sounds like a tone-deaf Amy Winehouse

Jennifer Lawrence admitted singing in public is one of her biggest fears on the Late Show with David Letterman Wednesday.

It all began, the Mockingjay Part I star said, when she had to sing Holly Jolly Christmas in a school production at the age of 8, and her parents laughed at her for days afterward.

Lawrence jokingly says she now sings in a tone-deaf Amy Winehouse voice. Watch the video above to hear it for yourself.

TIME Hollywood

Jennifer Lawrence Cut Her Cameo in Dumb and Dumber To

UK - Hunger Games MOCKINGJAY Premiere - London
Jennifer Lawrence at the Hunger Games Premiere at Leicester Square in London on Nov. 10, 2014. Caron Westbrook—Corbis

She used her veto power

Some J-Law fans may have to cancel their weekend movie plans—the actress reportedly cut her cameo in Dumb and Dumber To.

The actress had filmed scenes as the younger version of Kathleen Turner’s Fraida Felcher, but according to the Hollywood Reporter, she didn’t like her cameo and vetoed the scenes before the final cut.

The directors of the movie and Lawrence’s camp deny the claim. Dumb and Dumber To is set to be released on November 14.

TIME movies

Review: To Shill a Mockingjay Part 1

Jennifer Lawrence is still splendid, but her Katniss is mostly a passive spokeswoman in this throat clearer for the Hunger Games finale

“Your girl on fire has burned out,” Head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) tells District 13 President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore). The incendiary female he refers to is Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), a victor in the last two Hunger Games and now a refugee from Panem’s President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Katniss’s emotional temperature has cooled; she’s dazed and confused, depressed and logy, and so is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1, the third in a four-movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ YA trilogy.

The first two Hunger Games installments earned more than $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office, so the new film’s makers—director Francis Lawrence and screenwriters Peter Craig and Danny Strong—dispense with a lengthy recap of the story thus far. Katniss simply whispers a skeletal précis of the plot in the first 15 seconds. In a sentence: War is on; she’s in the underground District 13; and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), her Games co-victor and public boyfriend, is Snow’s captive and counterrevolutionary mouthpiece back in the Capitol. O.K., now what?

Not much. In the greed-is-good tradition of the Harry Potter and Twilight movie franchises, the overseers of The Hunger Games have split the last book into two films. You may recall that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was the only lame episode in the entire canon and that Mary Pols titled her TIME review of the penultimate Twilight film “Breaking Yawn Part 1.” Expectations for the artistic and entertainment possibilities of this half-Mockingjay should be at least as low, though it’s likely to be the top-grossing movie of 2014. Hundreds of millions of people will go see it in the same way reluctant Catholics used to attend Sunday Mass: under threat of the mortal sin of having to confess you skipped it.

For a start, in this Hunger Games, there are no Hunger Games. The Survivor-for-real televised spectacle, which started with 24 young contestants and meant to kill off 23, has been called because of war. And war games aren’t much fun, especially when Mockingjay Part 1 allows for only one massing of troops, one ISIS-style public execution of hooded men and one Navy SEALs-ish guerrilla raid, in which Katniss takes no part. She’s back at District 13 HQ, being schooled in the art of the propaganda video, or “propo,” by Plutarch, costume adviser Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) and Katniss’s old coach, Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson). If The Hunger Games series were an actual dystopian reality show now available on DVD, Mockingjay Part 1 would be the making-of extra.

We’re backstage with the star, Katniss, as she tries to rally rebels in other districts against the fatherly despot Snow. Like a famous athlete trying to make a public-service commercial, she looks stiff and sounds shrill when the cameras roll. Wearing eye makeup that even a Kardashian would find excessive, Katniss is a genuine military leader who can’t play one on TV. Not until she ventures aboveground and sees Snow’s air force bomb a District 13 hospital does she explode into telegenic fury and make her big Joan of Arc speech, proclaiming, for all the districts to hear, “If we burn, you burn with us.” Effie, for one, feels the magic. “Everybody’s gonna wanna kiss you, kill you or be you,” she tells Katniss. “Everything old can be made new again. Like democracy.”

There might be some pizzazz, or at least some satiric bustle, in these scenes, but they’re infected by Katniss’s dyspepsia. She’s in mourning for her lost Peeta, or maybe for the zippy woodland capers of the first two movies. The District 13 decor is drab, almost colorless, and the bad-taste splendor and gaudy gowns of the second episode, Catching Fire, have given way to a Stalinist poverty of the visual imagination. Even glam-gal Effie sports the “no-makeup” makeup look, and her stab at making Katniss the best-dressed rebel in history falls far behind Che Guevara’s fatigues as a fashion statement.

So you hope for some erotic crackle between Katniss and her brace of swains. Her old beau Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) should have pride of place; he’s strong and sensitive, and doesn’t take advantage of Peeta’s absence to press his affections. Yet Katniss gives him just one soft kiss, and that, he can’t help noting, is “because I’m in pain. That’s the only way I can get your attention.” Our heroine’s guilt over leaving Peeta behind—even though, or especially because, he’s been turned into a counterrevolutionary mouthpiece for Snow—overwhelms her fondness for Gale.

Why would that be? Fess up, Hunger Games fans: Does anyone care about Peeta, or find him attractive? He’s the Ron Weasley of the series: he gets points for callow valor and sympathy for his run of bad luck, but he remains a pasty, earnest bore. (Contrarian opinions are welcome in the Comments section.)

As in The Hunger Games and its first sequel, Mockingjay Part 1 springs to life around the 80-minute mark. Hearing a flock of mockingjays chirp overhead, Katniss sings a folk-song dirge, “The Hanging Tree,” which builds into a stirring, thumping chorale and leads to some long-promised action sequences. But the number has no more impact than (as Gale observes sourly) “a fight song at a funeral.” It’s certainly not enough to make this film more than a placeholder for the finale, Mockingjay Part 2, which is expected to hit theaters on Nov. 25, 2015.

The distinguished actors, including Oscar winners Lawrence and Hoffman, often deliver their dialogue in a flat, disengaged tone, as if at a first reading. And though we still believe that Lawrence, who turned 24 in August, can do no wrong, she isn’t given much opportunity to do anything spectacularly right here. Her performance is a medley of sobs and gasps, in mournful or radiant closeup. This time, her Katniss is as much a prisoner of her circumstances as Peeta is. She and the movie are both victims of burnout.

“It’s the worst terror in the world,” President Coin tells Katniss, “waiting for something.” The two-hour foot-soldier slog through Mockingjay Part 1 forces audiences into mostly wasteful waiting for something special to happen. Coin and her idealistic minions have hurt Katniss in a way President Snow barely dreamed of by turning this military heroine into a celebrity spokeswoman. The same goes for Collins and the film’s makers: they created the most popular activist-heroine in modern movies—with one of the biggest, most gifted and appealing stars in the world—and make her sit this one out.

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