The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 | 2014
- DIRECTOR |
- Francis Lawrence
The third section of the Hunger Games quadrilogy ventures beyond the series’ recent base in Atlanta and indeed the USA, to find imaginative locations in France and Germany to represent the decadent Capitol of Panem.
Until now, President Snow’s (Donald Sutherland) mansion was Swan House in Atlanta but now its luxurious interior, from which Snow broadcasts to the nation, is Château de Voisins, a neoclassical mansion in Louveciennes, about 12 miles east of Paris.
Built in the mid-17th century and, naturally, owned by a series of French aristocrats, the Château was remodelled in the mid-19th Century. It’s since passed through the hands of banking families and is currently the property of banking group BNP Paribas, which operates the house as a training centre.
Back at the film's US base, the 'deep mine' facility of the defunct District 13 in which Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) finds herself living after the events of Catching Fire, is a huge set built in Atlanta.
In order to convince Katniss to act as Mockingjay, a propaganda figurehead for the rebellion, the District’s President Coin (Julianne Moore) and arch-manipulator Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) arrange for her to be flown to see the horrific remnants of District 12.
The hangar from which her hovercraft departs is an Atlanta warehouse, suitably extended with CGI of course, and the body-strewn ruins took advantage of the old Griffin Textile Mill in Griffin, on Route 41 south of the city, which was in the process of being demolished – giving the film crew plenty of leeway to create destruction.
With come reluctance, the fiercely independent, Katniss agrees to help the propaganda effort on condition that Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) is rescued from the Capitol and pardoned for his apparent collaboration with the Snow regime.
BeeTee (Jeffrey Wright), acting as a kind of Q figure for the rebellion, equips Katniss and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) with the necessary weaponry they may need from his subterranean weapons lab.
This is Kraftwerk Berlin, Köpenicker Strasse 70, an old power plant in Mitte Berlin, which apart from those CG flames, is almost exactly as it appears in the film. Opened in the 1960s and closed since 1997, it’s now used as an arts and entertainment space, but mainly as techno venue Tresor.
Tresor (German for vault), originally housed in the vaults of the former old Wertheim department store on Leipziger, relocated to the present site in 2007. It's the nightclub in which Dr Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) and Gina (January Jones) hide out in Jaume Collet-Serra's 2011 thriller Unknown.
District 8, where Katniss is taken by hovercraft to see the packed field hospital, is a mash-up of two very separate locations. The hospital itself is the site of Martha Mills, 900 North Hightower Street in Thomaston, Georgia, some miles south of Griffin.
The hospital’s surrounds, savagely bombed in an air attack, are Chemiewerk Rüdersdorf, an abandoned chemical factory in Tasdorf, about 15 miles east of Berlin which could more easily accommodate the spectacular pyrotechnics.
That little something which occasionally flickers between Katniss and Gale is briefly rekindled during a peaceful moment hunting in the woods, though even here there’s the debris of past conflict. The brick ruins, more picturesque and overgrown than the concrete rubble of other districts, can be found in Sweetwater Creek State Park, 1750 Mount Vernon Road, Lithia Springs, about 15 miles west of downtown Atlanta
The 2,550-acre state park, in the New Manchester area, contains not just walking and hiking trails but these crumbling walls and arches which are the remnants of the Sweetwater Manufacturing Company, a cotton mill burned down by Union troops during the American Civil War.
Along with the camera crew, Katniss and Gale relax with a quiet picnic at the water-filled Bellwood Quarry, Chappell Road Northwest, just northwest of Atlanta, which is where Katniss is persuaded to sing The Hanging Tree.
When the former granite quarry closed in 2007, it naturally became a popular hang-out spot for local teens, and has also turned out to be a popular go-to location for TV series such as The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries and Stranger Things.
Don’t pack your al fresco lunch and rush off just yet, the site is currently off-limits to the public while it’s being redeveloped into something called Westside Park.
An attack on District 13 leads to mass evacuation, and you might assume that the pretty substantial stairway used by the fleeing inhabitants must be a practical location. In fact, it’s a six-storied set built at a parking garage in Atlanta.
All the more surprising, then, to learn that the vast, darkened atrium of the Tribute Centre into which the rescue team rappels is real. Yes, the stunt team really did descend 52-storeys through the vast lobby of Atlanta’s Marriott Marquis Hotel, 265 Peachtree Center Avenue NE, which you can see in its full, lights-on glory in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and as Will Graham's hotel in in Michael Mann's 1986 Manhunter.
Having penetrated the centre, the laboratory from which Peeta and the others are rescued is in the AmericasMart, 240 Peachtree St NE, a sprawling wholesale trade complex alongside the Marriott (and designed by the same architect).