You lost Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch, when he died during a weekend break from shooting. How did it affect the scenes he had left?
It was about as horrible a thing that can happen. It was just completely tragic. It threw us all. It was a really tough, emotional time, and tough getting back into work and trying to find a groove again. There were two substantial scenes that he had left, scenes with dialogue. All the other scenes he had were appearances in scenes where he had no dialogue. We knew there was no way we were going to attempt to re-create him digitally, so we decided to rewrite the scenes and give his dialogue to other [actors]. There’s a scene in Mockingjay – Part 1 that Elizabeth Banks took over for, and there’s a scene in Mockingjay Part 2 that Woody Harrelson took over for. I don’t want to say what it is in Mockingjay 2, but in Mockingjay 1 …
It’s the scene where Effie misses coffee?
Yes! Anyone who knows the books knows that all that stuff is actually Plutarch’s dialogue. The interesting thing about that scene is that it works with Effie. Effie could really give the [design] book [of the Mockingjay outfit] from Cinna, because she was connected to Cinna. And she’s a fish out of water in 13, so the dialogue about how strict they are, and the jumpsuits, and the wigs — Elizabeth did some improvisation there — that all works for Effie. Effie wasn’t even in 13, but Elizabeth Banks just made Effie such an iconic character, so it felt sort of unjust to Effie to keep her to a cameo appearance at the end of Part 2, so [producer] Nina [Jacobson] and I really worked on [author] Suzanne [Collins] to allow us to put Effie in 13.
What about the decision to take out some other Capitol folk who had been in 13? Katniss’s prep team? When she discovers that 13 has imprisoned and tortured them, it gives her a reason to mistrust the rebel side.
Really, for us, it was about bringing Effie in, and it was also about making sure we’re bringing in and spending time with characters that we’re emotionally connected with. And in the adaptation of these books, you’re losing time with some of the people, so over the course of the movies, we haven’t spent that much time with the prep team. So there’s just not the same connection.