Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series has been a mega international hit that has spawned a four-part movie epic. Jumping from our world into a sci-fi sphere all of its own, you might not know that some of its real world shooting locations were in Germany. Director Francis Lawrence spoke about earlier filming in Atlanta, where much of the previous films were shot, and how the latest films locations in Germany and France offered a different look and feel. The dark authoritarian themes of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 mirror the political context and history of the city.
From May to June in 2014 you could've spotted the cast shooting around Berlin, or when they returned for the premiere on November 4th, 2015 at the Sony Centre in Potsdamer Platz. A straining velvet rope holding back the hundreds of fans from the star, Jennifer Lawrence (aka Katniss Everdeen) and the rest of the Hunger Games crew. If you missed your chance to see them live, you can get an even closer by... watching them on the big screen and picking out the German filming locations of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2.
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The airport turned park turned sometimes refugee shelter (and also the site of the Berlin Airlift) was once again transformed into the background for the District 2 battle scenes in Mockingjay - Part 2.
For the film, the park was styled to look bombed-out to reflect war damage - resulting in some alarm from park-goers and neighbors. Director Lawrence reported, “All the neighbors here started to panic that the building was being knocked down before the vote even happened… [they were] complaining to the local government.”
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Located outside of Berlin in the surrounding area of Brandenburg, a derelict chemical factory in Rüdersdorf proved the perfect German filming location for Mockingjay - Part 2. In a region full of abandoned buildings, look for the factory when Katniss and Gale attack the Capitol hovercraft in District 8.
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Studio Babelsberg - Sets
One of the oldest large-scale film studios in the world, Babelsberg has been producing films since 1912 including The Reader, Inglourious Basterds, The Grand Budapest Hotel, among others. Along with hosting stars from the film and elaborate sets, a casting call for around 1,000 extras with diverse ethnic backgrounds was issued to be the people of Panem.
If you want a look behind the scenes, the studio offers tours and even an amusement park. When films are in production, visitors may be treated to a first look at the sets. For Mockingjay - Part 2, the studio co-produced the international blockbuster which allows it to invest reference subsidies into smaller German and European productions.
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Another abandoned building to take a co-starring role is an old power plant on Köpenicker Strasse in Mitte (center district) in Berlin. Appearing as the Beetee’s weapons lab of District 13, this German filming location offered a size and scope nearly impossible to replicate. Director Lawrence said, “It was actually quite difficult to find environments that felt like they were underground.”
CG was used to add flames to the film, but the gloomy site is almost exactly as it appears in the film. Opened in the 1960s and closed since 1997, it is large, cavernous, grey and imposing.