Mahershala Ali

Breaking Down The Mockingjay Part 1 Documentary Snippets

You know, holding out for the DVD isn’t nearly as hard as we’d expected. Why? Because half the special features are already online anyway!

Not that we’re complaining, of course! We have no problem on getting closer to the Digital HD watchers level. And we’re learning A LOT from these documentary mini-clips! For instance…


Destroyed District 12 was an actual demolition site– an abandoned factory plant– with some set pieces added in. And tearing apart District 12 was apparently really cathartic for the crew, especially Production Designer Philip Messina!


Though the film wanted to portray realistic injuries, Francis Lawrence asked that most of the make-up be toned down from the department’s original plans, because they wanted to make people look gnarly. REALLY GNARLY.


Not that we didn’t already know this, of course. Still, it’s great to hear how Julianne Moore was enticed into the series and Mahershala Ali checked off multiple boxes on his career bucket list by working on these films!


This was one of the few moments of the story caught and videotaped during the filming process, but back then, we didn’t realize how big of a deal it was. Considering our stomachs sometimes flips when an elevator lurches too quickly, this is kind of a thrill ride.


We didn’t really like the Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack much (CUE THE TROLLS! ..It’s a matter of opinion, y’all. Deal.) The most heinous song of all was The Chemical Brother’s and Miguel song, “This Is Not A Game”. We liked the intro of the song, but then it just went straight to hell. If we’re understanding Lorde correctly in this short, the intro is the only part of the song that The Chemical Brothers crafted. Soooo yeah… that disaster is Miguel’s fault.

Mockingay Part 1 Premiere Day Fan Frenzy

It’s another milestone day. The LA premiere! Reddit AMA, Twitter Chat, Facebook Fan Events! So much goodness all at once, it’s hard to pick just one.

mj la premiere starsWe were very excited to see the Facebook Fan event, because we saw previews of it from when it occurred on Saturday. It did start, how should we say, fashionably late so we haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, because it was PREMIERE TIME.

But while we waited for the Facebook event and the Premiere Livestream to start, we noticed something interesting. Music that seemed very much to be the Mockingjay Part 1 Score started playing. And then that theory was cemented when a female voice started singing The Hanging Tree. At first it was confusing. Who is that singing?


Yes, I kept listening because it was on and IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. So beautiful. I can’t wait to see it on film. The score beyond that sounds great, with tones from the previous films.

More bts stories!

More bts stories please!

But onto the Premiere! The WHITE carpet looked super cool and everyone was there. New faces like Patina Miller, who wanted to keep her Commander Paylor boots because it helped her immediately get into character. Mahershala Ali told us that Francis Lawrence made blooper reel that documented how things were so wacky off camera and then would immediately become serious at the word “action.” WE MUST SEE THIS. THIS MUST BE A DVD EXTRA PLEASE.

The livestream hosts kept asking about pranks. It seemed to be their go to question. So we learned that Jeffrey Wright had a close call when Jennifer tried to push him in Beetee’s wheelchair. Liam shared that he tries to be zen when around the Jen and Josh craziness. Jen’s favorite costume was her tribute parade costume in Catching Fire and Josh wanted to keep Finnick’s trident from Catching Fire. A lot of soundbites given. A lot of pictures taken. But the best thing about today is that we can now say this is the week the movie opens!

It’s almost movie time!


District 13 Rebel Reaction

IT’S MOCKINGJAY PART 1 Posterama! We got six brand spankin’ new posters of what will be Star Squad 451 minus Finnick, Peeta, and Katniss; our first official look at the crew in their gear.

And OF COURSE we’ve got lots of feelings we need to share about all this! BEHOLD!


Oh, Hemsy! Your eyebrow game is just through the roof in this poster. We just want to brush them methodically for you (as we assume someone else did shortly before this picture was taken.) But we don’t love this image nearly as much as we should.

Book!Gale most certainly had some rage at this point in the story line. Yes, he’s finally made it to the rebels, but Katniss still describes him as intensity and fire when all is said and done. WHERE IS THAT? We all know Liam has epic emo face, but what about the other faces?! This is stern, at best. We want RAAAAAGE! He pulled that off much better in the Catching Fire character poster.


Dammit, Natalie Dormer! Even in 1,000 layers including various padding, you still look glam! The last time we tried to look fancy, we still looked worth than that. URGH!

We’ve also discovered the new game we’ll be playing through the rest of the Mockingjay Part 1 promotional period: What exactly is the proper brightness of Cressida’s tattoo? It looked much darker and less green in the trailer, but it might have just been the lighting?



If you can’t tell, we really like this poster! The image alone justifies Mahershala Ali’s casting as Boggs. Intimidating but serene, focused and powerful. The kind of guy who seems serious but has a solid sense of humor underneath it all. He definitely comes off as a leader and we are officially excited!


Is it just us or was anyone else thinking Messalla had more of a Capitol flare?

Yes, he’s relocated to District 13, joined the rebellion, and probably toned down has look a bit. But still, we expected more than a bridge piercing and a line tattooed on the bottom lip. That modifications aren’t as “Oh so Capitol!” as we’d expected and despite not believing in the government, Messalla was still culturally Capitol. In the book, he stood out much more drastically. Why change that here?


When… When did one of the camera guys get kinda sexy?

We understand why it was easier to make Castor and Pollux brothers instead of twins… even though it kills the whole Greek mythology reference but WHATEVS. Still, aren’t these guys the “insects”, the background characters that have their special moments but mostly kinda blend in? How are we supposed to focus on military strategy and political strife when there’s lean muscle and faux hawks in our faces?!


Not sure how we feel about ponytail and beard combo, but we’ll let this one slide because its FULTON REED (aka Elden Henson). Pollux is a former Avox and admittedly, the styling choices give the character the look of someone who’s been worn down after seeing too many horrors in the world. Also, you can see their “insect” camera bags really well in this one ad we’re digging it!

Everyone’s Worried About Katniss and I’m like “BUT WHERE IS FINNICK?!”

The Girl With The Pearl

The Hunger Games Cast and Emmy-Worthy TV

Tonight is the Emmy Awards, celebrating “the best in television.” The Emmys can be frustrating because the voters have a tendency to give the same shows and actors awards year after year.  Will this behavior continue this year? Probably. But some our favorite actors from the Hunger Games movies are on shows that are being recognized. Which means they know how to repeatedly pick good projects, or maybe good projects are smart enough to pick them. Ok, both.

true detectiveWoody Harrelson is nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his work on True Detective. He plays a ….detective (shocking, I know) working on a very horrific case and dealing with a lot of personal demons as well. Meaty stuff that Emmy voters love, however he faces stiff competition from his fellow detective played by Matthew McConaughey, whose character was so odd it probably gives him an advantage that could lead him halfway to an EGOT. There’s also Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, who  is really awesome and has won several times before in this role, and tonight is his last shot to win again for the role of Walter White. So who will win? Don’t even try to guess.

Though not nominated himself, House of Cards with Mahershala Ali (Boggs) is nominated for Outstanding Drama Series. The show is also up for lead actor, actress, directing, writing, and basically everything. It got a lot of nominations. People love this show because you can watch it all weekend and and still feel like it was a good use of your weekend.

Boardwalk Empire also received a couple nominations. Jeffrey Wright plays a quiet but utterly menacing gangster on this show about Prohibition-era Atlantic City. Boardwalk does an amazing job at recreating the time and place with the gorgeous costumes and sets too. The violence is pretty traumatizing, but I suppose that’s the point.

If you haven’t seen any of these shows, it could be a nice use of the Mockingjay down time. (And the final season of Boardwalk Empire starts September 7!)

Remember what they say about JUST being nominated.



Our Leader The Mockingjay Gets Charitable

Around mid-to-late July every year, we silently weep to ourselves because we’ve never been to Comic-Con and as such, we’ve never received an awesome limited edition Hunger Games Comic-Con poster like this year’s “Our Leader The Mockingjay”.


Proof o’ signature

But it turns out that there is some good to come out of all that exclusivity: A little bit of charity that will go a long way.

Lionsgate, as it has since the first film, is auctioning off five of those exclusive posters signed by Natalie Dormer, Evan Ross, Elden Henson, Mahershala Ali, and Wes Chatham benefiting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5


Iiiiiiitty bitty signing space!

First thing we noticed? As awesome as the artwork is, it apparently makes the poster REALLY difficult to sign! The design is so busy that everyone’s signature is crammed into the margins.

Still, this whole thing is awesome. When things aren’t exclusive just for the sake of exclusivity, it feels good to know that fans can get their hands on it to support a cause, to get what you want be more than a rabid fan collecting things. Yes, bid starts at $100 and that gives fans with money a distinct advantage, but it least other Hunger Games related charitable projects in the past have used Prizeo in the past, which is raffle based.

Yeah, we’re selfish by nature and want ALL THE THINGS. But not getting them all is helping aid the lives a young people with a frightening disease, in this case, so can we really complain? Sometimes, keeping things rare and valuable is actually a good thing!

Now Somebody Get Us Money To Bid!
The Girl With The Pearl

The Connection You Can’t Shake

Last weekend it snowed. Again. So I took that as an excuse to binge all of Season 1 of House of Cards and some of Season 2.  It was disturbingly easy to do. One of the fun things about watching House of Cards was that it was my first chance to see Mockingjay’s Boggs, Mahershala Ali, in action. He plays Remy Danton, a DC lobbyist and former press secretary to Kevin Spacey’s frighteningly powerful “moves and countermoves” politician. The role of Remy Danton in no way reminds me of Boggs, but the political gamesmanship brings to mind some aspects of Mockingjay.

All DC Lobbyists wish they could wear a suit like Remy Danton.

All DC Lobbyists wish they could wear a suit like Remy Danton.

Even though Remy is a very different character in a vastly different world, I couldn’t help getting pulled out of the story every now and then and thinking, “HEY, IT’S BOGGS. I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE HIM AS BOGGS!” This is not a negative reflection on the performance in any way. I just seem to have this problem a lot when actors in the series work on other projects.

It happened to me recently when watching Woody Harrelson’s character in True Detective have scenes of an adult nature with an actress from the Percy Jackson series.  And then someone pointed out to me that the actress resembles Katniss and it got even more uncomfortable  (though the added discomfort works in the show’s favor in that case. It’s all pretty messed up). Also, when watching Jennifer Lawrence’s Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook recount how she was having problems with her husband because she wasn’t ready for kids, I just think “Oh, Katniss, I’m sorry. For everything.”

It’s not that these actors don’t do a great job at inhabiting other characters. They do, and I still enjoy the performances and the movies/tv shows on their own. But it does bring to mind why some actors balk at taking roles in big movies or get annoyed when a movie is a surprise hit and their role becomes iconic. You get fans like me who love it so much that it’s always going to linger in their consciousness.  Because when I wonder how many years/decades I’m going to associate the Hunger Games actors with their roles so strongly, House of Cards also gives some insight into that question. When I saw Robin Wright my first gut reaction was “BUTTERCUP, YES!”  (Robin Wright is seriously so awesome in this show).

Looking forward to thinking “WOW, PEETA IS SURFING” during Paradise Lost.


Top 10 Hunger Games Moments of 2013

We told you those annual nostalgia lists might find their way here! With only a day left in 2013, we thought long and hard about the embarrassment of fandom riches that has been 2013 and compiled our top moments! Prepare to get all sentimental!

Note that this is a general fandom list, because our personal list would include things like “Suddenly becoming mute when facing the actors” and “Walking like drunk idiots at the Catching Fire after party thanks to the devil’s shoes”.  Not nearly as fun, now is it? We decided not to include actor moments here either, given that there’s too many good ones to whittle it down!

First Catching Fire Trailer – We didn’t know what to expect when we heard about a Catching Fire first look at the MTV Movie Awards back in April. The Hunger Games teaser was a :23 look at one scene, after all. But it was a FULL TRAILER that really set the tone. It. was. glorious.

She even went gray for us! (Photo: FameFly / Getty Images)

She even went gray for us! (Photo: FameFly / Getty Images)

Julianne Moore Cast As Alma Coin – All the Mockingjay casting news has been good news, but none more thrilling than the announcement of Julianne Moore portraying President Alma Coin. She’s got the chops that will make Coin a sharp, ambiguous character. Plus, every recognized actor cast proves this is more than some teen franchise.

Peeta Gets Manned Up –
Remember the big, controversial Josh Hutcherson quote in Entertainment Weekly and the fandom flip out that followed? We knew it meant that Peeta would get a bit of a do-over that put him more in line with Book!Peeta, but some others went into a panic mode. Now that we’ve all seen the movie, this is why we always tell you NOT to panic!

Global Fan Day – Press junkets and late night talk shows are fine and dandy, but on November 6, Lionsgate opened the questions up to fans via the social networks. Yes, there were still some uber fangirl “OMG I TOTES LUV U UR SO HAWT!” questions out there embarrassing us, but there was also a rarely afforded time for intelligent, fun celebrity-fan interaction.

Final Mockingjay Scene Announced –
Who else freaked out when Francis casually mentioned that Jennifer Lawrence had already filmed the final scene in Mockingjay? Also, when he said that scene featured Katniss serenely hunting in the woods! Is it an extension of the book epilogue or did they cut the book epilogue all together? WE MUST KNOW!

Catching Fire Fan Camp – Three days of Hunger Games fans playing games, partying, red carpeting, watching movies, and getting visits from the people involved in the film? MAGICAL.

Catching Fire Premiere And Screenings – So many great quotes from the stars come during premieres, plus it’s basically a giant fandom lovefest! But Lionsgate also did a great thing this year in realizing that not all fans can make it to the premiere and holding 24 simultaneous red carpet livestreams and premieres in cities across the US!

Cue the Mission Impossible theme!

Cue the Mission Impossible theme!

Catching Fire Crushes Box Office Records – This franchise don’t mess around! Winning the single weekend box office was expected, but we also broke records for the highest grossing film in November– a popular, blockbuster-packed movie month– and had one of the highest grossing opening weekends of all time. As in EVER.

Francis Lawrence AMA Reddit – It takes a lot to make a movie, but it takes some serious guts to go on Reddit a couple days after the movie’s release and hold an “Ask Me Anything” session. Plenty of questions were along the lines of “I didn’t agree with something you did. Why did you do it?” Francis was beyond graceful and gave great answers that let us know he really thought this series through and tried everything (Many excluded book scenes were filmed but later cut for time or because they didn’t translate effectively.) It gave us a whole new respect for him!

First Look At Mockingjay Filming –
A few pictures from the Mockingjay set have popped up, but nothing compares to actual fan filmed footage of Gale and Boggs busting into the Capitol set, confirming that the next movies will provide us with a deeper look into things happening outside Katniss’ POV and more action!

Looking back on this list, we know there’s still tons to look forward to in 2014.

Happy New Year!
The Girl With The Pearl

Killing Jennifer Lawrence

How about that title, huh? Yeah, so the big news in the fandom, or according to my Google Alerts, is

Totally awesome fanmade poster!

Totally awesome fan made poster!

that Jennifer Lawrence, and I’m guessing probably Mahershala Ali, and Liam Hemsworth, possibly Lily Rabe as well– were involved, that is if they were in fact filming District 2 scenes, if not, welp, then I’m wrong and I will go drown my sorrows in cookies— any who, the smoke machine being used in a tunnel scene malfunctioned and choked out the actors, and probably a few of the crew as well. Heavy day on set I’d say, wouldn’t you? But no worries! Jen’s alive and well, and I’m also guessing back in Kentucky getting her post-Christmas binge on with her brothers goading her on, and her parents affectionately rolling their eyes at their children’s antics. That, or she’s stuck in a rented house in the greater Atlanta metro area, yep– still partaking in a post-Christmas binge with a choice number of family members, and friends goading her on.

I dunno, I just somehow doubt the woman took the experience to heart. Like, if she’s having nightmares, I hope they’re more Lost Smoke Monster, than billowing, choking smoke, encroaching upon her, making her eyes water, and her heart pound in her chest, a cold sweat prickling, and sliding down her back. However, if she is having the latter I hope she’s talking it out, and getting the help she needs. She’s a tough cookie, albeit eccentric, but tough, and resilient. If you want to compare though, worse, or worse if you’re thinking broadly, things have happened on film sets, or film shoots for that matter. For example: Martin Sheen nearly died whilst filming Apocalypse Now in 1978, yep he had a heart attack, and shockingly he was only 38 years old at the time. Also, the set on the same film was washed away by a Typhoon at one point, disastrous. Peter O’Toole nearly died on the set of Lawrence of Arabia— fell from a camel, which is a phrase you don’t hear everyday. Malcolm McDowell, or as you youngins know him as– the white-haired white dude in those hilarious commercials where he and James Earl Jones (gray-haired black dude, sounds like Darth Vader), reenact supposed real text or Facebook comment conversations

This is how you go temporarily blind

This is how you go temporarily blind

between young people– yeah, he went temporarily blind after filming a super, intense, torture scene in the pivotal, and classic film A Clockwork Orange. And if you want to get even more bloody, Sylvester Stallone had to be air lifted to a hospital after filming a boxing scene in Rocky IV, hot damn. Bruce (Bad Ass) Willis lost two thirds of his hearing after filming a scene in Die Hard, which is what happens when loud bangs go off very close to your ears, ouchie. Mister Brad Pitt required surgery after doing a scene in Seven, where his arm went through a car’s windshield, which was not in the script– they wrote it in afterwards. And finally a lady! Nicole Kidman broke and/ or fractured two ribs and seriously injured her knee whilst filming the spectacular film Moulin Rouge! Almost all her scenes after had to be filmed with her seated in a chair following the injuries, you get fictional doughnuts sent to you if you can point out all those scenes to me and the world at large. George (Fucking) Clooney broke his spine whilst filming little seen, but totally worth seeing, Syriana, seriously see it. Oh, and another lady! Halle Barry has suffered multiple injuries on multiple sets, several of which required schedules to be greatly altered so she could heal– let’s just rename her Halle (Accident Prone) Berry, okay? But most notably, and most tragically– Brandon Lee died of a gunshot wound on the set of the film The Crow in 1994.


Them There Eyes

Operation: Staging Mockingjay’s Rescue Scene

We’re infiltrating the Capitol, peeps!

Mockingjay Capitol rescue set The Hunger Games

Ah, the secrets of a film set!

Not too long ago, we featured a great guest post about things that could be expanded upon now that Mockingjay is being worked into two movies. As The Hunger Games and Catching Fire have shown us in gradual doses, through scenes like Gamemaker planning and Snow’s interaction with his granddaughter, there is a lot we can get out of a scene that wasn’t specifically in the books.

When Robert Knepper was cast as newbie Minister to the President, we knew we’d get some more not-quite canon fill-in moments… BUT THAT’S NOT ALL FOLKS.

It started with a couple innocent photos of a Capitol set at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, complete with twelve pillars featuring the names of victors from each district (some of which were pretty damn amusing, like Mags being given Lynn Cohen’s surname and the inclusion of Ron Stafford, the actual name of an actor who has an uncredited role in Catching Fire as a past Victor). But then… BUT THEN… People started rappelling out of the sky! Well, from the ceiling!

Yup, it’s true! It looks like we will actually see at least some of Peeta and Johanna’s rescue! There’s been so many hopes about getting those tumultuous in-between moments in the Mockingjay movies, as long as they don’t overtake the whole narrative. And this one is the freaking Mac Daddy of them all!

We’re not getting too excited, though. Remember, there are a couple ways this could turn out:

Liam Hemsworth The Hunger Games Mockingjay set Capitol rescue

Hemsy in the house!

Quick Cutaway – For all we know, this could be the whole shebang. As someone (probably Haymitch or Plutarch) tells Katniss that they’re going to get Peeta back, we see the team land on the balcony, take out a few guards, and enter. The rest is implied.

Full-blown Action Scene – Mockingjay Part Two will probably feature the bulk of the action, so this bit (which will likely be in Part 1) would be a smart way to keep the beginning heart-pounding and fierce!

Hijacking Awareness Session – It seems that Gale and the other knew something was wrong with Peeta before he got back to Katniss. What happened during the rescue?!

On The Cutting Room Floor – This doesn’t seem likely, but Francis Lawrence named quite a few things filmed for Catching Fire that didn’t make the final cut (some of which were also featured in movie stills). There are no guarantees!

But Gale and Boggs (aka Liam Hemsworth and Mahershala Ali) were there. And DAYUM, do those District 13 uniforms look way too form-fitting for a functioning soldier! At the very least, we remain thrilled with the knowledge that we’ll see more of that!

Hopefully, this opens us up to all sorts of spectacular looks at things that happen in canon when Katniss isn’t around. Because as much as we love hearing about thrilling events occurring off-screen.. Oh wait, we totally don’t!

Belay On, Hemsy!
The Girl With The Pearl

Boggs Is Cast

Well, he’s probably been cast for quite some time now, it’s likely though that the Powers That Be just deemed us worthy enough to finally have the information of who exactly will be filling his fictional shoes for the next two films. Mahershala Ali is the man who gets to be fake thrown up on by the lovely Jennifer Lawrence, and yes, his name is a mouthful, he’d probably be the first to admit it, and if he doesn’t, well his game– not mine.

First of all, I’m just bloody relieved that the wait is over! Second of all, I’m glad it’s him. Why am I glad it’s him you may ask? Because, damn it all to hell, he’s a fucking good actor, and highly trained one at that, yep with an MA in acting from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts– see, told ya’ he’s all trained up. Which, at least from what I know is somewhat rare for an American actor, usually it’s just the Brits who go to drama school, like our dear Sam Claflin with his degree from LAMDA. Why else am I glad it’s Mahershala, whom I’m now just going to just call Ali– because it’s easier to say, spell, and it’s apparently his nick-name anyway? ‘Cause well, um… yeah, he’s hot. What? My eyes take in his face, and his physique, and my brain goes, “well, that’s nice.” Nice voice too, did I mention he’s a respected rap artist as well? Yeah, anyway Ali’s a looker, he’s also no slouch in the acting department, which frankly is why I think he was hired.

Let’s see, what he’s probably most known for right now is his work on the NetFlix series House of Cards, where he shared screen time with none other than Academy Award winning actor, and Old Vic Artistic Director, Kevin Spacey, as well as the original Buttercup herself, Ms. Robin Wright (side note: Robin Wright was one of my top favorites for Alma Coin, and at one point I thought Kevin Spacey would make a wicked awesome President Snow.) Yep, the man has literally stood opposite those people, and told them no— or well, blackmailed them. You should watch House of Cards, it’s like Game of Thrones, but without swards, and blood, and horses, plenty of Wildlings though, yes– in suits. I also wouldn’t be surprised if his character shows back up in the second season of the series as well, so keep your eyes peeled!

Ah yes, what else? HBOs Treme, which I’ve been meaning to watch since its debut, and now I finally have an excuse, other than John Goodman being awesome, and amazing, and starring on it. And then there’s the cult

Yeah, he's not good looking at all... or talented.

Yeah, he’s not good looking at all… or talented.

series The 4400, which I admittedly have never had a desire to watch, but I’m sure some of you out there have seen it, or will be interested in seeing it now we know Ali was a regular in the cast. Sure, he’s done some great, to decent, to meh TV shows, but he’s also taken part in some stellar feature films. For me I say check out his work in A Place Beyond the Pines ASAP, he doesn’t have the largest role, but he still makes his mark, and does some very moving work, also the film stars Ryan Gosling, and Bradley Cooper, so even if you’re only watching it for Ali, the principle cast will keep you engaged throughout. Actually, I just recommend A Place Beyond the Pines as a whole, not only for Cooper and Gosling, because in all honesty it’s the supporting cast of actors that I found the most interesting, especially the young actors whose characters are introduced in the third half of the film, in fact Ali’s best scene is with one of those young actors.

Now, I don’t actually remember him in The Curious Case of Benjamen Button, but he’s in that one as well– and I simply love to give people any reason to watch that film, because it’s chockablock full of good performances, yes, even from Brad Pitt who’s notorious for rather wooden performances, that always leave you seemingly wanting. 

If you’re not willing to take the time to watch House of Cards, or anything else I’ve written about, which frankly to me says you’re lazy as hell, and probably didn’t even finish reading this article anyway, you can always click this link here, and watch a 6 minute short film Ali did in 2008.

Boggs is cast! Welcome to the fold, Mahershalalhashbaz! Told you his name was a mouthful.

Them There Eyes