Stef Dawson

Inside the Mockingjay Part 2 New York Screening

Tonight, I was super lucky to attend the Mockingjay Part 2 “Special Screening” in New York. Not a premiere, so it didn’t have the huge atmosphere of what we’ve seen in the previous days & weeks, but a huge number of cast attended, as well as Francis Lawrence, Nina Jacobson, and Jon Kilik.

The red carpet was in a tent located outside the AMC Lincoln Square theater. It was filled with press, who missed out on the LA premiere, and the small “fan pen” where I was. As per usual, everyone was very nice about accommodating fan requests for pics and signings. Here are some of my pics in the zoo-like media madness. (You will notice a lack of selfies, I don’t really do selfies, and I doubt you all care so it’s cool).

 

Then after that, IT WAS ACTUALLY TIME TO SEE THE MOVIE.

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It’s been a lot to take in, so we’ll dig into the movie after official release (but spoiler alert, we’re really happy).

Nothing could prepare us for the end, so we didn’t.

JJ

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Catching Fire Premiere: “The Village Is Livin’ in the Hood”

We won’t talk about the movie! We won’t talk about the movie! Won’t talk about it! Won’t! But OH MY GOODNESS, WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE. Some of you are seeing it right now (!!!!!!!!) and others are on their way to the theater soon, so we’ll keep our mouths zipped until then!

So let’s talk about something awesome, but also less spoiler-y. We attended the freaking Catching Fire premiere!

The title quote came from a teenage boy we encountered while walking from our hotel to Nokia LA Live, where Catching Fire Fan Camp was held, in our Victor’s Village t-shirts. We were less than a mile away, but apparently if you’re less than a few blocks away, you’re in an interesting section of town! Who knew? However, it may have been worth it for that quote!

Without getting into too much detail (because other VV writers will later), Fan Camp was a blast! I met both Them There Eyes and Twiffidy, along with several other fansite friends, for the very first time and all of them were incredibly fun! It feels so good to geek out with others who understand what it’s all about.

And then… PREMIERE DAY!

Prep team hard at work!

Prep team hard at work!

Let’s preface this by reminding everyone that I am from Boston. The city may get referred to as “Hollywood East” thanks to all the recent filming in the area, but what happened on November 18 felt just about as far from my hometown state-of-mind as I could get.

For starters, we had our own prep team! We headed to Capella Salon in Studio City, where Tate, Brendan, and Tina, the very talented friends of Amie and Sheila from HG Girl on Fire, made us premiere ready. It was all very Capitol, which I chose to embrace it for the day and just allow myself to get girly! Mostly because it’s kind of nice to have someone mold your unruly hair into perfection and then declare it “so Hunger Games.” I HAVE MY WEAKNESSES.

This was quickly followed by that dress I begged my fashionable friend to help me shop for before leaving and my killer red heels– No seriously, when I woke up to catch my flight home on Wednesday, I was pretty certain I would being losing my right foot in the name of the Catching Fire premiere.

On the Red Carpet!

On the Red Carpet!

We were asked to take part in the Yahoo! Catching Fire livestream, which seemed really cool even though we didn’t quite know what it entailed. Turns out not having your phone on the red carpet for security purposes and not knowing exactly where to meet Lionsgate reps to go on air don’t mix well, but after half-running around a building in said killer heels, we made it into the red carpet! There’s I proceeded to do the “I don’t know what to do with my hands” dance in front of an international audience at about the 7 minute mark. The questions were mostly what I expected them to be, which is pretty simplistic as to not be spoiler-filled. It’s hard not to look like a vapid fangirl when answering those types of questions, but we pulled it off okay!

SKIPPING THE MOVIE. Because because because I have to. I’m doing this for your own good!

The after party. It was something out of this world. Them There Eyes always says “If you’re going to go Capitol, GO CAPITOL.” Well, they listened. The party took place in a giant tent with the Mockingjay symbol lit up on top. The entrance was a red carpet surrounded by timpani drummers like those used during the Tribute Parade scene. Lights shined down and danced around the room. White roses floated in massive glass columns and lined the walls in fancy bouquets. For a better visual, check out this video!

Francis Lawrence

Francis Lawrence

I spent most of the after party gawking alongside Arianna and Aldrin of Down With The Capitol. At one point, we realized we were a few feet away from Francis Lawrence. We wanted to thank him, but there’s this funny thing in Hollywood where almost everyone but us had no real problem interrupting his previous conversation to grab him and start a new one. We literally stood two feet from Francis for about 20 minutes before getting a chance to say something without completely interrupting a previous conversation, which could have been with studio reps, for all we know. We thanked him for the what he did with the movie (we think we will too, once you see it!) and he seemed so genuinely pleased to hear we liked it, which was brilliant.

Also stopping to have a brief chat with Francis was Alan Ritchson. To confirm all your suspicions: Yes. He is, in fact, a real life Ken doll. It’s like he’s right out of Life-Size, guys!

Bruno Gunn

Bruno Gunn

We caught Bruno Gunn by the bar, where he was drinking water and I was drinking liquid courage. He talked to us about loving the books and why he chooses to be so active among the fans. It comes down to this: This man really recognizes what a wonderful, unique experience this is and he wants to delve into every moment of it. He was so enthusiastic about the fan base that it kind of blew my mind. It’s not something you see everyday.

Then we saw the crowd. There were two couches forming a circle and in the middle of it all, Sam Claflin. But not just Sam! He was accompanied by Stef Dawson, who will play Annie in the Mockingjay films! For the record, Stef is so small and adorable. She looks so young that I maaaaaay have mistaken her for some rich execs’ little daughter at first. Shhhhhh! But she was just about the sweetest thing ever and now we’re even more excited to see her in Mockingjay!

Sam Claflin and Stef Dawson

Sam Claflin and Stef Dawson

It took a lot of patience, but eventually we were able to snap a photo with them and talk. Poor Sam was obviously exhausted, but he handled the social aspects like a champ: Talking about the movie, giving love to the fanbase on behalf of the whole cast and telling us how bummed he was that we couldn’t meet the other leads (who were whisked away to promotional gigs on the other side of the country almost immediately after finishing with the red carpet). He joked about not being hot enough, to which Amie calmly replied “I’m going to give you a minute to take that back.” I admitted to him that some parts of the movie had me physically shaking (a bit embarrassing, in hindsight) and he cheered “Then we did our job!”

We know that celebrities are just people, but they’re people who don’t normally talk to me. So it was really freaking cool and also surprisingly intimidating, even though they’re all really nice.

We didn’t find out until after the fact that Suzanne Collins was also in attendance. From wherever you are reading this right now, you can probably hear our hearts breaking into a thousand tiny pieces. She’s the one person we REALLY need to thank, since she inspired all this from the very beginning. We think she already knows, though.

We get jaded about the fandom sometimes, we’ll admit it! It’s not perfect, for sure, but we are so damn lucky to be a part of it. Not just because of “perks” like these, but because the fansites were able to share it all together. This fandom has so many amazing people in it. Some of them are (semi) untouchable actors, sure. But some of them are you and I.

Thanks For Always Making This Worth It,
The Girl With The Pearl

P.S. There’s a couple more after party photos under the cut!

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The Cresta and Capitol Casting

When we made that joke that we needed Annie Cresta to be cast on Sunday night, we had no idea that they’d be announcing the casting the next day… But still, we can’t help but think “Damn, we’re good!”

LOOK AT IT, DAMMIT!

LOOK AT IT, DAMMIT!

Our Annie is Stef Dawson, an Australian actress who only needed one audition to land the role. Stef is STRIKING. All of her features just scream LOOK AT MY FACE! LOOK AT IT!

It may seem like a minor detail in the grand scheme of things, but let’s face it: As much as we want Annie to be this big, really involved character like she is in our fanfic dreams, it will likely be a fairly minor role. So if nothing else, Annie will be powerful because audiences will remember. that. face. Of course, Stef is already talking about how she connects to Annie as a survivor and the character’s vulnerability, so we know she’s going to make whatever lines she has count.

The response from fans was immediate. Most were quite pleased, though others were disappointed because Stef Dawson isn’t the Hollywood starlet they had in mind, to which we say “SERIOUSLY?!” We haven’t seen anything that Stef Dawson has been in (besides tiny clips from her showreel), so we can’t possibly compare her performances to others. But we don’t think she was given the job because the Mockingjay casting director got tired and just picked someone at random. “PICK AN ACTRESS, ANY ACTRESS!” No! There were probably hundreds of women who auditioned and Stef Dawson got it because she clearly earned it.

This. Because the picture Lionsgate posted is SEVERAL years old.

This. Because the picture Lionsgate posted is SEVERAL years old.

And all of you whining because Book!Annie has brown hair… We’ve talked about your type before. YOU NEVER LEARN. You make the collective fandom IQ drop 10 points. Just.. ugh!

Of course, Stef wasn’t the only announcement this week. The Hunger Games fandom now has its Messalla, Cressida’s lovely assistant, in the form of Evan Ross! Yup, THE Diana Ross’ son! Besides an unfortunate stint on the new 90210, Evan’s career is filled with lots of interesting indie films, including a boatload of projects in the works quite recently. It’s nice to see that he’s got quite the range, because Messalla is full Capitol and thus a little too eccentric for Katniss (and probably audiences) to fully appreciate. It’s another minor role, but it’s one that can make a memorable impression with a few well-delivered looks and lines. There will also be a major physical transformation involved, so it’ll be interesting to see how this 25-year-old who still has a bit of a baby face will bloom into a frantic Capitol citizen.

Messalla also has what’s arguably the most horrific / fascinating death of any character in the entire series, so as long as that makes it into the script, Evan has won already!

Boggs Next, PLZKTHX!
The Girl With The Pearl