Dedicated to Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died a week before filming ended. Since the majority of his scenes for the final two movies had already been filmed, the role was finished with other characters taking on his lines.
Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) only appears briefly at the end of the novel, but the film expands her role greatly. In the novel, Katniss' stylists are present in District 13, as well a character named Fulvia, who is Plutarch's (Philip Seymour Hoffman's) assistant; Effie replaces these characters in the film. Reportedly, after seeing The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), author Suzanne Collins called director Francis Lawrence and said, "There's no way Effie Trinket can not be in the Mockingjay films."
Pollux (Elden Henson), an avox, is signing in American Sign Language to Castor (Wes Chatham) when he is introduced to Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence). He signs, "She is beautiful", and Castor signs back in agreement.
The movie was originally planned to be released in China on November 21, 2014, but was pulled a week before release. This was likely due to protests in Hong Kong. The political theme of the movie is very similar to protestors' demands for a democratic election in Hong Kong.
Natalie Dormer ad-libbed twenty to thirty percent of her scenes, especially when Cressida instructs Finnick (Sam Claflin) and the twins where to stand before filming his speech. When asked how she did that impromptu act, Dormer said that she drew inspiration by paying attention to how director Francis Lawrence would converse with his camera crew in between takes.
Natalie Dormer shaved half of her hair when she played the role of Cressida. In the book, the character of Cressida had her entire head shaved and covered with ivy tattoos. It was Natalie Dormer's idea to have only one-half (her left side) of her head shaved to be covered with (fake) ivy tattoos.
In the book, the song "The Hanging Tree" is sung from the perspective of a man who has been hanged, and is calling out to his lover to join him in death, asking her to "wear a necklace of rope side by side with me."
When she was celebrating Christmas in Dublin, Ireland with fiancé Anthony Byrne during a break from this shoot, Natalie Dormer had to wear a beanie to disguise her partly shaved head so as not to reveal too much about her character.
With the first movie weighing in at two hours and twenty-two minutes, and the second at two hours and twenty-six minutes, this is the shortest Hunger Games movie, with just two hours and three minutes of running time.
Jennifer Lawrence was not merely reluctant to sing in this movie; she was terrified to do so. "The Hanging Tree" song was the first scene shot for this movie, and it took director Francis Lawrence and several other cast members to calm her down and convince her she could do it.
The teaser has a scene which is not in the movie, where Peeta Mellark, Johanna Mason, and President Snow are all dressed in white fancy attire, coming out in Capitol television commercials. Mason has a blonde wig on.
Director Francis Lawrence had an entire greenhouse grown for the movie. It took several months to grow and he had an entire team of experts to design it. He ultimately decided to cut all of the scenes filmed there because his first cut of the film was too long. The greenhouse can only be seen in deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes videos on the special two-disc DVD.
A scene was deleted from the beginning of the movie, showing Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) having a quiet private talk with President Snow (Donald Sutherland) before making his first appearance on Capitol television. Peeta makes it clear that he does not support the rebellion nor Katniss' role in it, and this opinion is apparently not forced upon him (bearing in mind that he has not yet heard of the atrocities committed by Snow). However, Snow forces him to voice this opinion in his upcoming interview.
When the "Hanging Tree" propo airs, Plutarch ( Philip Seymour Hoffman ) takes credit for changing the "necklace of rope" line to "necklace of hope." During filming, singers were chosen from the District 5 background actors to record the crowd vocals on the song. Production had not yet decided which line to use, so the actors recorded both "rope" and "hope" during different takes.
While many people think the characters Castor and Pollux are related to Face/Off (1997), the names are actually taken from Greek Mythology. They are twin brothers that are transformed into the constellation Gemini.
In the propos, the four-note harmony used during the "Join The Mockingjay, Join The Fight" segment is used throughout the movie, including in the scene following the broadcast of the propo when the District citizens stage a rebellion against the Peacekeepers. This four-note harmony originates from the first movie; it was Katniss' Mockingjay signal to Rue that everything on her end would be okay.
The title card "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" appears three times in the movie. Once at the beginning to open the film, once at the beginning of the end credits, and once more at the end of the end credits.
Jena Malone, who plays the prickly, Hunger Games survivor Johanna Mason in three of the "Hunger Games" movies, is a victim of President Snow (Donald Sutherland). In the 2005 version of "Pride and Prejudice", Jena portrays the flirty, air-headed Lydia Bennet (1 of 5 sisters). Donald Sutherland plays Mr. Bennet, Lydia's father.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The final scene of the film, where Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) wakes up and learns Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) has been hijacked (after he tries to kill her) was originally intended to be the opening scene of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015). During production, the filmmakers decided that the ending after Boggs (Mahershala Ali) knocks out Peeta and the screen cuts to black was too big a cliffhanger for general audiences.
After the end credits, the Mockingjay logo from The Hunger Games (2012) appears, turns into the Mockingjay logo from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), and then turns into the Mockingjay logo from this movie, to finally transform into the Mockingjay logo in the book.
When they are hacking into Peeta's broadcast and playing "The Hanging Tree", right before Peeta warns Katniss about the bombing of District 13, the lines from the song "dead man called out, for his love to flee" play. Peeta would be considered a dead man because he is the Capitol's prisoner and they are torturing him, Katniss is his love and he is warning her about the bombs telling her to "flee".
Enoboria, the District 2 victor from the previous film, does not appear when the victors are being rescued by District 13. She was most likely spared by The Capitol as District 2 are generally favoured by them for being loyalists.
The first time Peeta appears on-screen, his shirt collar has a sharp dagger shape poking him under his chin. This alludes to the fact that he is under duress, and, under threat of his own life, he must tell everyone to cease fire.
The tactical team that rescues Peeta performed the stunt with no CGI. The team of stuntmen dropped more than five hundred feet from the Atlanta Marriott's skylight to the lobby floor. Liam Hemsworth and Mahershala Ali redid the stunt for the close-up of them detaching the cables and infiltrating the building, but were only allowed to go one hundred feet up.
When Boggs (Mahershala Ali) knocks out Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) with the lunch tray, he used a foam prop to actually hit Hutcherson. Despite the prop's flexibility, Hutcherson said afterwards he had a giant bruise across his shoulder from being whacked so hard over so many takes.
In District 8, Commander Paylor (Patina Miller) is wearing a purple shirt and headscarf. Historically, purple was a color reserved for royalty and other people of high authority. This could be foreshadowing of Paylor becoming Panem's new President in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015)