The Hunger Games saga is coming to a close this weekend, with the final installment, Mockingjay Part 2, hitting theaters.
The film, which has empowered young women and sparked a revolution for female leads in Hollywood, consists of an ensemble cast, now forced to say goodbye to their beloved characters whom they've portrayed for years now. One of those cast members is Jena Malone, who has played Johanna Mason since Catching Fire. We had the chance to catch up with Malone to talk about her experience with the franchise and to geek out a little bit about Batman.
How does it feel to see The Hunger Games coming to an end now?
You know, it was always supposed to come to and end. It's only three books. It actually feels kind of amazing to get to send this last chapter to the world. It's such an important book and in such an incredible way. It's also kind of nice to let Katniss have some rest. We really put her through it, you know?
It's huge ensemble cast. It must be a blast to work on this set. Who was your favorite cast member to work with from the whole experience? Were there any tough goodbyes with the final film?
No, it's not so much tough goodbyes because you make friends and Hollywood is such a small town that you know you'll see everyone again. I didn't really have that many scenes with that many people. A lot of the other cast I would get to know on set or on press tours so a lot of my stuff is with Sam Claflin and Jen [Lawrence] and Josh [Hutcherson] and Stanley [Tucci], so I feel like I got some pretty great people to work with.
Had you read the books before you got the part?
Yeah, I did. I read all three.
Would you use the books to prepare or did you just start fresh with the script and the director's insight?
You kind of use anything and everything you can. You use the books, you use the scripts, you use the director's vision, you use what you were inspired by when you read both the books and the script and then it's just that crazy cosmic, can't really tell if it's gonna work or not, chance where you just bring it to life. You see how that goes. It's kind of a no-man's land. You don't know if it's coming together well until the film comes out so it's always just kind of guess work until the film comes out and you're trusting your instincts.
Katniss is easily the most iconic female hero of our generation. You still play a pretty tough character in the movies. How much of yourself do you get to bring to that?
I'm definitely not as bad-ass as Johanna Mason. She's quite wounded and she's a survivor and has pretty much lost everyone in her life. I an definitely relate to her in how she's extremely independent and does her own thing regardless of whether she's supposed to be doing that or not. I love how she's unpredictable and it's really fun to play on set. That's one of the gifts of acting.
You've been working on this franchise since 2012. What is your favorite moment from all of the movies, whether it's behind the scenes or on-screen?
I have so many favorites. I think Catching Fire was some of my more favorites. It was when everyone was together more. In Mockingjay everyone was kin of segregated and I really only had scenes with Jen until the end. So, yeah, I think that as a whole, the experience of making Catching Fire was my favorite. It was most memorable.
Do you think that this movie putting Katniss, a female hero, front and center is playing a part in Marvel's decision to make a Captain Marvel movie and DC going forward with the Supergirl TV show? Did Katniss start another revolution, this time in pop culture?
I mean, you can't start a revolution without the want of a revolution. So, yes, I do believe Katniss and The Hunger Games have become the voice of female revolution but who's responsible for that voice is our generation. It's the next generation. It's all of the young people and the young souls and the beautiful hearts that supported these novels and were so hungry and passionate for these characters. They wanted to see war depicted like this. They wanted to see a strong female woman. It's not just The Hunger Games that becomes the revolution. What's amazing is it's society who created the revolution. If anything, we should be really proud of the millennials, these teenagers that are creating such a beautiful change in the world.
I see that you're involved with next year's Batman v. Superman. Is there anything you can say about that role?
If you had the chance to play any super hero in a movie or TV show, would you want to play?
Growing up I was more of a Disney girl but I loved the Batman franchise. I loved Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman. It was always so incredible to me when I was really young. I always felt like Little Mermaid had a lot of super powers. She could do incredible things! There was so much magic in that. So, I don't know, I think when I was younger those were the women I thought were awe-inspiring.
Who was your favorite Batman in the movies?
Well, now, I mean... Christian Bale. But when I was younger, Michael Keaton for sure. He was in all my favorite films when I was younger, you know? He was Beetlejuice and Batman. You can't top that.
With the rights to Donnie Darko were recently sold and we live in the age of remakes and reboots. What would you think of a Donnie Darko remake?
Gosh, I don't know. I don't even know how you could remake that film. Of course, you could tell that story again and again and again but Richard Kelly had such a unique vision and I think that he's such an amazing story teller that you can't really get much better than what it was but if you took and did something completely different with it, that's always exciting. I think it could be interesting to see what the next generation would want and where they would take that story.
What's next for you now that Hunger Games is all wrapped up?
I finished the Neon Demon's with Nick Winding Refn, it's coming out next year. I have a couple of films going to Sundance and the Berlin Film Festival - smaller, beautiful films. That's it for now.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is now playing in theaters.