“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” world preemed on Monday in London’s Leicester Square, where the wet, chilly November weather did nothing to dampen the enthusiastic response of the SRO celeb audience or the hundreds of screaming femme fans who waited for several hours outside.
Katniss herself, Jennifer Lawrence, thanked the fans for braving the weather, saying, “I’ve been out here five minutes and I’m complaining!” She arrived on the red carpet with a cherry red coat on top of her backless white Dior gown.
Lawrence almost didn’t make the premiere, and arrived 12 hours after the other cast members. “Yes, I forgot my passport, and had to fly to another state to get it. It was miserable,” she told Sky News on the red carpet.
Lawrence, still slightly jet-lagged, found the fans’ reception a little overwhelming. “It’s really crazy. It’s nuts. There are so many people and they are all screaming,” she said.
New cast member Sam Claflin, who plays the wildly popular Finnick Odair in “Catching Fire,” had the freezing crowd in a frenzy with one simple Finnick-y question: “Do you want a sugar cube?!”
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For the sequel of “The Hunger Games,” Josh Hutcherson sensed different expectations. “Thankfully the first movie was well-received and people were happy with it,” he explained. “And now they’re ready for the next one, people are ravenous for it. It’s a different energy this time.”
In their red carpet interviews, cast members were keen to underscore the fact that the film was challenging, and did not talk down to its teen audience.
Jena Malone, who plays Johanna Mason in the movie, told the Daily Mail: “I think it is the first time that a young adult audience were really treated like adults, in the sense that they were given really great issues, really dark things, really probing ideas and they were just laid bare.”
Helmer Francis Lawrence took over from director Gary Ross, and paid tribute to the cast and crew of the original pic who had given him such a warm welcome, and lauded their achievement, in particular Lawrence. “I don’t think there’s anybody else on the planet who could ever come close to what Jennifer Lawrence does (as Katniss),” he said.
Also at the premiere were Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks (in a sunny yellow Jason Wu ballgown), and Jeffrey Wright, producers Jon Kilik and Nina Jacobson. Jacobson said they were on “hiatus” from shooting the next “Hunger Games” installment, “Mockingjay Part I.”
Evening ended at a lavish after party at the Royal Courts of Justice, where the staff were dressed in Capitol City haute couture.
The film has its Los Angeles premiere on Nov. 18 at the Nokia Theater at L.A. Live.