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Hunger Games director hints films may continue from where book trilogy finishes

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It's always dangerous territory dabbling with a book adaptation on-screen - especially one that comes with a huge and devoted following like Suzanne Collins' smash hit Hunger Games trilogy. 

And while director Francis Lawrence has so far won plaudits for his epic cinematic translations of the books - starring Jennifer Lawrence as bow-wielding heroine Katniss Everdeen - his latest chat about the films may raise eyebrows among die-hard fans.

As the Hunger Games sequel, Mockingjay - Part 1, sent box office figures flying this weekend (it took more than £12.6 million in the UK after hitting cinemas last Thursday), Lawrence has hinted the films may continue beyond where Collins' book trilogy ends.

As it stands, the film franchise has just one movie to go, Mockingjay - Part 2, set for release in 2015, before it reaches the end of the official Hunger Games storyline, as laid out by the books. 

But this could all change if Lawrence and his vast team of producers choose to extend the plot on-screen. 

Hunger Games film director Francis Lawrence with author Suzanne Collins

Hunger Games film director Francis Lawrence with author Suzanne Collins

“Everybody is thinking about it, and talking about it,” the Hunger Games director told MTV this week, of a potential extended franchise. “I just think that one has to go into that world carefully. Because I think a huge part of what makes the stories great is that it was really built on this idea of the consequence of war, and you have an amazing character like Katniss at the centre of it.

“And so to just say, ‘Oh, we’re still in the Hunger Games world’ I think is really risky, and you need to make sure that you have something new to say, and either new characters need to be created that are just as compelling as Katniss... It’s a tricky thing, but I’m definitely open to talking about it, and I think everybody’s thinking about it. Everybody loves the world and the ideas.”

Anyone who has read Collin's books will know that the ending of the last one is open enough to potentially expand the plot. But to actually take that risk is another matter.

However the way it has performed at the box office - Mockingjay Part 1 has already hit the highest opening of 2014 so far, taking in  $121.9m (£77.4m) Stateside - makes it an impossible prospect to ignore.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julianne Moore star in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Collins’ dystopian novel series has been every inch as successful as the films that followed, selling more than 65 million copies in the US alone. 

Lawrence and his team have consulted with Collins on the film adaptations, with the author working on the script and attending some casting and audition sessions.

“I go to visit and to watch, but there’s nothing really for me to do in terms of work,” she told Time last year. “It’s like, you get to the set and everybody has a job but you. I feel very comfortable about whatever’s transpiring on the set whether I’m there or not, which is nice.”

Collins reviewed the original Hunger Games film in 2012. 

“I’m really happy with how it turned out, she wrote on her Facebook page. “I feel like the book and the film are individual yet complementary pieces that enhance one another. The film opens up the world beyond Katniss’ point of view, allowing the audience access to the happenings of places... like the Hunger Games control room and President Snow’s rose garden, thereby adding a new dimension to the story.”

In other Hunger Games news, Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence looks set to make an unlikely side career as a pop star after The Hanging Tree, her new song from the soundtrack of the latest film, entered the UK charts today at number 29. It's a nice little accolade to add to her Academy Award...

Photos: Rex Features

What do you think? Could the Hunger Games films be expanded beyond the book series? Or should the big-screen adaptations stick strictly to the plot laid out by Suzanne Collins? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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