When a studio decides, as they do quite frequently, to break up a book's film adaptation into multiple parts, it brings up the same question every time: When will the break take place? And, on the macro level, what will it mean for each individual film when it comes to their development as independent narratives? Now Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence is talking the Mockingjay split, and what it means for the story.
Lawrence talked to Entertainment Weekly, noting that there aren't many changes from the novel — but that the adaptation's split and the jump from book to movie allows for world and character expansion the books didn't leave room for. Lawrence doesn't reveal exactly where the movie makes its split — my guess would be (spoiler alert) right around the time Peeta's rescued from the Capitol and Katniss realizes he's been brainwashed, though they may go a more optimistic route — but he does note that the film will have "two different, very distinct stories."
As for Katniss in this first of the two parts:
It’s a very confusing, conflicted, complicated time for Katniss. Having gone through the games one more time and having lost Peeta and having been run through the wringer, she’s even more damaged. So you find her in a more agitated place. She’s distraught, confused, angry.
Katniss' mental health in the book is the source of a lot of division in fan reaction: A lot of people found Katniss' severe case of PTSD and struggle with dealing with everything that's happened to her to not be the epitome of what a hero at the center of a story should look like. (I personally found her reaction to be a pretty logical response to her life, but I digress). As we've seen in the first small trailer, though, Katniss is on a journey of heroism throughout both parts of Mockingjay — it's just a very rattled one. I for one am looking forward to seeing how this one's translated to the big screen.