The Hunger Games: Catching Fire | 2013
A huge improvement on the first film, the series really does begin to catch fire with this far more gripping and fleshed-out installment, as the devious President Snow (Donald Sutherland) conspires with game-maker Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to compromise the credibility of the people’s favourite victors.
There’s a complete change of location, from North Carolina to Atlanta, Georgia, though it seems the Peach State couldn’t provide the wintery backdrop for the opening scenes of Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) suffering post-traumatic flashbacks as she hunts in the woods with Gale (Liam Hemsworth). Instead, this was filmed up in snowy New Jersey, in Ramapo Mountain State Forest on Skyline Drive, near the New York State border.
This time around, ‘The Hob’ uses the disused Pratt-Pullman Yard on Rogers Street at DeKalb Avenue NE on Atlanta’s near-Eastside. Once a repair facility for Pullman train cars, including buildings from as early as 1904, was also used for some grungy interiors. Despite being fenced off, the crumbling 26-acre industrial complex has proved a magnet for the city’s urban explorers and graffiti artists, but you non-trespassers can see clearly enough from the road.
The site is owned by the state, as is the warehouse complex on the eastern side of Murphy Avenue, southwest of downtown, which was transformed into the town square and the Justice Building of ‘District 11’. Once the old farmers’ market, this too is off limits to the public though, again, it’s visible from the road, as well as from the MARTA train that runs alongside.
Away from the grim ‘District 12’, Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are whisked away to a lavish victory party at the estate of President Snow. His mansion is the elegant 1920s Swan House, 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW at East Andrews Drive in Buckhead, north of the city, where the Morning Room was transformed into Snow’s office. You’ll be happy to know that, as part of the Atlanta History Center, the house is open for visitors.
The manipulative Snow announces the 75th anniversary Quarter Quell Games, with tributes to be chosen from previous winners.
The ‘Justice Building’ of ‘District 12’, where Katniss and Peeta once again find themselves drafted to fight the deadly games, is the Goat Farm Arts Center, 1200 Foster Street NW, a complex of 19th Century former industrial buildings on Atlanta’s Westside.
Much more glitzy is the victors’ living quarters in the capital, which is Atlanta’s Marriott Marquis Hotel, 265 Peachtree Center Avenue NE. The towering organic-style atrium is overlooked by the constantly moving glass elevators, in one of which which Johanna Mason (Jena Malone) psychs out the competition by nonchalantly shedding her clothes.
According to director Francis Lawrence’s commentary, the elevator doors opened at the wrong floor as a topless Malone stepped out, to the surprise of waiting guests. The actual living quarters were filmed on the hotel’s 10th floor, and an elaborate set was constructed on the roof. Back in 1986, this is the hotel where Will Graham stayed in Michael Mann's Manhunter.
The backstage area for the chariot parade, where Katniss meets the apparently arrogant Kinnick (Sam Claflin), was filmed in the car park beneath Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center, 285 Andrew Young International Boulevard NW.
But once the competitors emerge into the dazzling sunshine, the ‘Victory Tour’ stage itself is the city’s Peachtree Dekalb Airport – embellished with just a little CGI.
The combatants are subsequently spirited away to Heavensbee’s fiendish new Jungle arena though, initially at least, that’s not too far away.
The central pool of the jungle, which houses the Cornucopia, is The Beach, built as the venue for Beach Volleyball in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, at Clayton County International Park Arena, 2300 Highway 138 SE, in Jonesboro. The main venue is part of the Lakeview Complex, now used for concerts.
The artificial seafront segues seamlessly into the very real Kawela Beach, a sandy crescent just to the west of west of Turtle Bay Resort, on the northern tip of the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The cast and crew stayed at this luxury Resort, which you might remember as the main setting for 2008 rom-com Forgetting Sarah Marshall, with Kristen Bell and Jason Segel.
The treacherous jungle, with its poisonous fog, aggressive baboons and even showers of blood, was filmed in remote locations that are generally off-limits to tourists in the North Shore's Waimea Valley. The Waimea Valley itself can be reached via the visitor center east of Haleiwa. You can hike through a reconstructed ancient village, visit real archaeological sites and even swim beneath the 40-foot Waimea Falls.
More jungle scenes were filmed in the Manoa Valley. There are hiking paths here, too, though they’re maybe a little more strenuous, which will take you up to the 150-foot Manoa Falls. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can take a series of trailheads through the dense forest of Manoa Valley and up behind Paradise Park, a former animal performance venue, where scenes for TV series Lost were filmed.