'Hunger Games' Director Insists Any New Story to Expand the Franchise Has to Be 'Relevant'

Francis Lawrence would love to make more movies set in the 'Hunger Games' universe but any new story in the franchise has to be 'worth telling and relevant.'

AceShowbiz - Francis Lawrence welcomes the prospect of making more movies in the "Hunger Games" franchise. The 52-year-old director is back to helm the eagerly-awaited prequel "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" and is willing to work on another picture if author Suzanne Collins has some good ideas.

"If Suzanne has another thematic idea that she feels fits into the world of Panem - whether that's with new people or familiar characters like Finnick, Haymitch, whoever - I'd be really interested in looking at it and being a part of it," Francis said to Entertainment Weekly.

"But I don't have any pull of just going, 'I would love to do Finnick's games.' He's a great character, but what's the thematic underpinnings that make it worth telling and relevant?"

Francis helmed three movies in the initial "Hunger Games" story and explained how Collins' "rich" storytelling made the pictures successful. The "Red Sparrow" director said, "I liked being part of the series originally because the stories are great."

"But what was always gratifying was that they were always about something. Suzanne always writes from a thematic foundation. The original ones were all about the consequences of war. 'Songbirds and Snakes' is about the state of nature. That's what makes them feel rich and not superficial, and I think it's why they've stood the test of time, honestly."

"The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" features Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow - years before he becomes the tyrannical President of Panem - and Lawrence explained that one of the biggest challenges on the project was "humanising" the evil character portrayed by Donald Sutherland in the original films.

The filmmaker told Empire magazine, "To tell a story about, and to create empathy for, a young man who's going to become the villain of the other books and movies was a really interesting challenge."

"How do we make this person that's going to be the antagonist of our story the protagonist of our story? How can we get audiences behind him in his struggle, and see him change and be groomed and turned into the Snow of the later series?"

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