The filmmakers behind The Hunger Games: Catching Fire have revealed three major changes they made from the book by Suzanne Collins. (The magazine also released the brand new still image, shown here, that features Katniss on board a hovercraft!)
Before you start protesting the movie adaptation, though — take heed. The filmmakers list some very good reasons for making the changes that they did, and Collins herself was involved in the process. In fact, director Francis Lawrence has stated he worked with Collins to ensure he was loyal to her vision.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, director Francis Lawrence said, “We made some changes to Peeta’s narrative. We manned him up a little. And by the way it didn’t take a lot, just little choices to make here and there. The story doesn’t really change, his relationship with Katniss doesn’t change, he’s just a different kind of character.
Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta in the film, said one example is that Peeta can swim — whereas in the book, his character was paralyzed with fear when other tributes dive into the water. “The visual is horrible,” Hutcherson said.
The other changes involved eliminating some smaller characters. First: Bonnie and Twill, refugees from District 8 who Katniss helps escape. In the book, they lead to Katniss learning about the existence of District 13. Eliminating these characters forced filmmakers to find a new way of introducing the lost district.
Filmmakers also got rid of Darius, a young peacekeeper in District 12 who is punished for intervening when Gale is publicly whipped.
“It’s as agonizing for us to lose things from the book as it is for a fan,” producer Nina Jacobson said. “I want every single thing in there. But you know what? If you have to give up something in order to give more time to Katniss and Gale or to Effie as she starts to feel a conscience, you make the sacrifices in order to serve the characters and themes that are more essential.”