hunger games mockingjay press conferenceThis week's "Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1," the third film based on the young adult book series by Suzanne Collins, is ridiculously anticipated. Part of it is finding out what the resolution will be for the cliffhanger that ended the last film, last year's sleek "Hunger Games: Catching Fire," another part of it is getting to watch one of the last performances by the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman (who was almost done with his role when overdosing earlier this year), but most of it has to do with the characters that audiences have grown to love -- and the actors who inhabit those characters.

We were invited to the press conference over the weekend, where just about everybody was in attendance (Willow Shields, Geoffrey Wright, Julianne Moore, Donald Sutherland, Natalie Dormer, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Sam Claflin and, of course, Jennifer Lawrence), and got the inside skinny on the film from the stars themselves. In Katniss we trust.

1. It's Hard to Be Bad
One of the first questions posted to Lawrence concerned a sequence in the film where she is filming a propaganda film for the resistance, and she's force to act poorly... on purpose. "It's odd to act like you're acting in a movie, which I've never done before and to act badly but make it look genuine," Lawrence admitted. "I got nervous about that too." Lawrence then flipped on her what-the-hell attitude, which was her default mode throughout the press conference. "I just showed up and Francis forced me to do it. And we just did it. It's easy." Then she added: "Anybody can do it."

2. The Project Earned Julianne Moore Major Cool Points With Her Children
Julianne Moore who, it should be noted, has appeared in a "Jurassic Park" movie and collaborated with Todd Haynes, Robert Altman, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Ridley Scott, said she finally got some street cred from her family when she signed on for "Mockingjay - Part 1," as the president of the underground (literally and figuratively) movement. She said that her signing on did earn her major cool points with her son and daughter. " He was on line for the first midnight show in New York City. Then my daughter read them and I picked up a copy because we were on vacation and I didn't have anything to read," Moore explained. But then she was hooked -- and contacted the filmmakers about her playing the part. "I thought they were amazing and I picked up the phone and called my manager to see if anyone was playing Coin. That's how it happened."

3. Claflin Found an Unlikely Source of Inspiration
One of the more startling moments during the press conference was when Claflin, who is just as ridiculously handsome in real life as he is in the movie, announced his reference point for Finnick in this film. "The best example of Finnick and his journey is he's very similar to Marilyn Monroe," Claflin announced. When even some members of the crew expressed their shock, he elaborated. " he's very similar to Marilyn Monroe, in the sense that, in public he's a character. He puts up a front. Puts up a guard. Really allows him to be someone completely different. Behind closed doors, he's vulnerable and damaged. That's definitely some inspiration to me." Hutcherson then exclaimed: "That's incredible!" And it is.

4. Katniss 'Stuck in the Middle' Fascinated Lawrence
While it appears that Katniss is very much pro-rebellion, she comes around to that way of thinking throughout the course of the movie. This idea was particularly fascinating to Lawrence. "It's not that she doesn't believe in what President Coin wants or that the Capitol is only good for the 1% but war is complicated and it affects everyone on both sides," Lawrence said. She went on: "So for Katniss, I think we have the two very strong points on complete opposing sides and one person in the middle feeling the pain from both. There's no right way to start or end a war. And then at the end of all of it, I'm like, I don't know."

5. Donald Sutherland Took His Contribution Quite Seriously
Sutherland, who plays the evil President Snow, is a living legend, whose body of work is nothing short of jaw-dropping (even if it was simply composed of "M*A*S*H," "Klute," and "Don't Look Now" -- and it's not). And he took his participation in these movies very seriously, something that he looked upon with an eye towards his legacy. And what he said was so powerful, we're just going to quote it in full: "The allegory is comparable to the United States. When I first read the script I truly wanted to be a part of this project so I could look back at the end of my life, which is pretty close, and say, I was a piece of this. For me, how [Collins] has presented this dilemma to young people and demanded from them a resolution, demanded from them a participation, that could change things... Because the world that my generation is leaving everyone is a disaster, in every respect – environmentally, politically, economically, socially. When I read it I begged to be a part of it, to be a catalyst for young people to get up off the seat of their pants. For somebody like Occupy or whatever, to use these films to generate from young people that will take them into the voting booth and make people responsible and politicians responsible for their words and their actions." And then, with some resignation: "I hope, somehow."

6. Jennifer Lawrence Doesn't Brush
When an intrepid journalist asked about Lawrence's tendency to eat really pungent things before big make-out scenes, she denied it, saying she didn't do it on purpose but, "I just didn't think about the kissing." To which Hemsworth replied: "She didn't' tell me what she had for lunch. And she didn't brush her teeth." Yum!

7. Everyone Wishes They Were Braver
The subject eventually came up as to what character trait the actors wish they could absorb from their "Hunger Games" persona, and pretty much everyone was in agreement: They wish they could be braver. Hemsworth led the charge, saying, "He's a pretty brave guy. I'd consider myself brave in some ways but he acts impulsively and instinctively a lot. You hope you'd act that way. But I've never had to fight a war." Lawrence and Hutcherson just said, "Same."

8. The Three Leads Look After Each Other
There was a lot of discussion about the downside to superstardom, because the three leads in "The Hunger Games" experienced it together, in one gusty burst. And that can take its toll, for sure. Lawrence said, "It's a blessed life but there are also sacrifices," while Hutcherson said that it was tough to give up things like anonymity. Later, he expanded on this idea, saying the three of them kept an eye on each other (and it really did feel like they were all BFFs, which was super cute to watch in real life). "The three of us came up in this together. We experienced this massive change as one," Hutcherson said. "The fact that three of us are so close helps a lot, with us maintaining our sanities."

9. The Last Day on Set Was Sad (and They'd Do 10 More Movies Together)
"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay" was filmed as one giant movie and then divided up, and that lengthy shoot coupled with the amount of time the cast had spent together throughout the franchise, drew a question about what the last day was like. Lawrence gave a lovely response. "It was complicated because it was such a long shoot and we were so exhausted," she began. "So there was a part of us that wanted to wrap just to give our bodies a break. But we would always wrap and come back... And realizing that would be gone was such a complicated set of feelings because it was relief on one end but also so sad. We're all best friends and we see each other way too much but it's different. If all I had was this friendship with Josh and Liam and all I got from this was that experience, it would be the greatest gift." When Josh quipped: "I'd like to announce 'Hunger Games' 5, 6, and 7," Lawrence, looking genuinely emotional, said, "I'd totally do it. I thought I was going to be relieved but they called wrap and I started sobbing." And for the record, no, they're not actually thinking about doing this... or are they?

10. Everyone Loves J-Law
There was an air of genuine reverence when it came to Jennifer Lawrence. Both the cast and members of the crew seemed in awe of her. Hemsworth said, "What I learned from Jen is to stay in the moment and be honest and never change for the wrong reasons." (This prompted Lawrence to dub the hour, "The best press conference ever.") Earlier, too, Dormer, who is just as fierce and sharply intelligent as she is in "Mockingjay" and "Game of Thrones," gave a lovely account of their time together. "I stood next to Jennifer Lawrence for nine months and stood by her as Cressida looking at her lead a rebellion. Katniss doesn't have any ego and neither does Jennifer. The reason why she's so compelling to an audience is because she's true to herself and doesn't suffer the bullshit or superficial elements. You said it yourself -- to think for yourself and act for yourself. That's why people look up to her. She's a great role model. So is Katniss. She can't comment on that herself, because by the nature of her personality, she's incapable." So yes, Lawrence is pretty much perfect, and everyone on that stage would willingly follow her into battle.

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" is in theaters Friday, November 21.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 Premiere Red Carpet

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