When shooting the scene where Katniss, Finnick, and Peeta eat fish, the actors were actually eating raw fish. Neither Jennifer Lawrence nor Sam Claflin is particularly fond of fish, making it difficult for both actors to eat it. Lawrence had the hardest time, and Hutcherson and Claflin found her struggle very amusing.
This was the highest grossing film of 2013 in North America. It was the first film to top the annual box office with a top-billed female lead since The Exorcist (1973), and the first with a woman as the sole protagonist and primary marketing focus since The Sound of Music (1965).
Jennifer Lawrence said while filming in the arena she hit herself with the bow mid-sprint, and dove into a pool of jets, leaving her partially deaf for 6 days. Katniss actually goes deaf in one ear during the first book.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jennifer Lawrence said that she, Josh Hutcherson, and Sam Claflin were very clumsy, saying Claflin fell at least once in every scene they filmed. Claflin agreed and said they could fill an entire gag reel with just him falling over.
During the press tour, Chris Van Vliet interviewed Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson. Before the interview started Chris and Liam mentioned Liam's brother, whose name also is Chris. Even though it was their second film together, Woody hadn't realized that Liam's brother is actor Chris Hemsworth (Thor in the Marvel Comics Movies).
In early scenes, Katniss wears an unusual stylized woolen garment. In the books, the Capital requires victors to pursue a "talent", since they don't need to work any more. Katniss initially struggles because her best talent is hunting. Cinna steps in and supplies her with garments that she can claim to have designed herself.
When Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch are discussing the need for allies in the Quarter Quell, a figure standing in the background has a sphere around his head with a covering over the mouth. He is an avox, someone who can't speak because his tongue has been cut out. Avoxes have a significant plot line in the books.
On the train returning from the Capitol, Katniss sees fighting on a monitor, and the feed is clearly labeled as coming from District 8. In the book it is revealed that an uprising began in District 8 on the night Katniss and Peeta arrived in the Capitol.
When the train travels along the coast, the scene includes a quick glimpse of some towers on stilts in the water. They're based on the Maunsell Forts in the Thames and Mersey estuaries in the United Kingdom.
Josh Hutcherson gave away that Jena Malone was cast as Johanna Mason during an interview at the Teen Choice Awards in 2012. He said that he was very excited to work with Malone, to which the interviewer responded in surprise and Hutcherson realized her casting wasn't made public yet.
In the first movie you know Peeta and Katniss' training scores. The scale is 1-12. Peeta was 8 and Katniss was 11. In this movie you don't. In the books they both get 12's. The only tributes to ever get 12s. It is suggested it's because the game makers want to punish them and make them targets for the other tributes.
The angel sculpture in the center of District 12's Victor's Village is modeled very closely on "The Angel of the Waters," the sculpture on top of the Bethesda Fountain in New York's Central Park. That sculpture was designed in 1868 by Emma Stebbins, the first female artist to make a piece of commissioned public art in New York City. It has played a memorable "role" in a number of movies, including Godspell (1973) and Angels in America (2003). Jeffrey Wright (Beetee) was in the latter film.
The only Hunger Games film not to feature singing from Jennifer Lawrence's character, Katniss. Katniss sang "Deep in the Meadow" in The Hunger Games (2012) and in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (2015) (played over the credits), and "The Hanging Tree" in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014).
The elevator scenes and some other Capitol scenes were filmed at the Marriot Marquis Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. The Marriot Marquis is 52 floors and has a futuristic look, which is most likely why Francis Lawrence chose to film there.
The water scenes in the arena were filmed in a water park south of Atlanta. The water was barely more than 50 degrees and actress Lynn Cohen (Mags) was exempted from going into the waters at the request of the directors who were concerned for her health. In the first scene in which she is carried on Sam Claflin's (Finnick) back he loses his footing, bangs his knee on the rocks, and dumps them both into the water. He felt horrible about it but she found it hilarious.
In the scene at The Presidential Gala, Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) wears makeup that is reminiscent of Elizabeth Taylor's look in Cleopatra. They also did either, CGI work or direct facial lighting to highlight Lawrence's eyes. They changed them from her natural Steely Gray to a Violet hue. Violet is Taylor's natural eye color.
The book describes the previous two Quarter Quells. For the first, District members selected the tributes. The second had twice as many tributes, 2 boys and 2 girls from each district. The book also reveals that Haymitch won the second Quarter Quell.
How some of the tributes became victors is in the book: Haymitch Abernathy won the 50th Hunger Games which was the 2nd Quarter Quell. There were twice as many tributes. He used the force field in his arena to kill the last tribute when her axe came back and killed her. Beetee made an electrical trap that electrocuted the other tributes. Johanna Mason pretended to be a weakling so the other tributes left her alone. When they finally decided to kill her she had an axe and showed her real strength. Finnick Odair won at age 14, the youngest victor ever. He was sent an incredibly expensive gift from a sponsor; a trident. He made a net from vines to trap, then spear the other tributes. Annie Cresta, the girl Mags volunteered for, went mad after she saw the boy tribute from district four get killed. She only won when the area became flooded and was the best swimmer. Enobaria ripped open the throat of another tribute with her teeth, which is why her teeth are filed into points.
In the book when Peeta gives Katniss the pearl they joke about coal making pearls. This is from the first book because Effie went around telling people this incorrect fact. Coal, or graphite, do not turn into diamonds or pearls under extreme pressure. This is a common misconseption.
In the movie, you see Katniss tossing nuts at the force field in order to detect it. In the books, she did the same, however made sure no one noticed her doing so. She attributed her knowledge of the force field's location to her improved hearing in the one ear the capital repaired following the previous year's Hunger Games, where she had lost hearing in one ear.
During the Tribute interviews Cinna is inspecting Katniss' dress and says, "I think I'm done." This is a foreshadowing of his death which takes place just before Katniss rises in the tube into the Arena. As Katniss enters the elevator, Cinna is attacked by Peacemakers and beaten to death, a punishment ordered by President Snow over the controversy of the wedding dress he designed for Katniss, which transforms into the Mockingjay, the symbol of rebellion for the outlying districts.
After Katniss shoots the force field and takes down the arena, she is knocked down and laying on the ground with her arms out and her legs together. Coincidentally, this is the same position that Jesus was in when he was hung on the cross and is referred to as the savior on the cross, like how Katniss was the savior to Panem (being the mocking jay).