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It’s a well-known fact that everyone wants to be Jennifer Lawrence’s best friend. Who among us hasn’t imagined scarfing down pizza with the American Hustle…
The Atlanta cast and crew of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay were devastated when they learned of cast member Philip Seymour Hoffman’s sudden death, says director Francis Lawrence.
"It was obviously very rough for all of us," Lawrence tells USA TODAY. "He was a friend. He was an amazing actor, an iconic actor. He was someone I really looked up to."
Hoffman, 46, was found dead Feb. 2 in his New York City apartment. The New York City medical examiner said last week that the actor died accidentally from “acute mixed drug intoxication.” Heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamines were found in the actor’s system.
On the Atlanta set, filmmakers gave shocked and bereaved cast and crew members time to process their grief.
"We shut down for a day to give people time to deal with the sudden shock of it all. And to try and sort of figure things out a little bit," says Lawrence.
After coming back to work, the entire cast and crew gathered to pay respects to Hoffman.
"We as a cast and crew definitely honored him," says Lawrence. "We gathered everyone together and had a big moment for him. We still think about him every day. It’s hard not to imagine him being here."
"It’s something so sudden, so shocking," Lawrence adds.
Hoffman starred as head gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The Academy Award winner had been shooting his role in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 in Atlanta. A European shoot was to follow.
Hoffman’s death is not expected to affect the release dates of Mockingjay, Part 1 on November 21 and Mockingjay, Part 2 on November 20, 2015.
Lawrence says Hoffman was “mostly finished” with his work on the Mockingjay set.
"There was very, very little that was left," says Lawrence. "Even if (Hoffman) had a number of days left, most of those moments were appearances in other scenes. Most of his dialogue was done."
Clearly, working with the loss of the key character will lead to some continued difficulties.
"We’re still figuring some of that out," says Lawrence.
Willow Shields stopped by Universal Studios Hollywood to chat with “Extra’s” Maria Menounos about the upcoming “Hunger Games: Mockingjay,” and what it’s like working with big screen sister Jennifer Lawrence, and the extra features on the “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” DVD and Blu-ray release.