Editor Alan Edward Bell on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

StudioDaily by Beth Marchant

How a Talent for Editorial VFX Work and an Eclectic Career Laid a Path to Panem

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. Catching Fire, the latest installment in The Hunger Gamesfranchise—itself a worthy successor to once-immovable blockbuster young adult book-to-movie adaptations like Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga—will take on similarly Shakespearean themes when it opens in wide release on November 22. Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role as the noble and unstoppable Katniss Everdeen in this post-apocalyptic struggle set against the excesses of an overtly enhanced Capitol ruling class and a potentially liberating revolution. The rollercoaster fun comes in watching Katniss outsmart and outmaneuver her Capitol overlords as they thread her through a series of morality play-meets-Project Runway-style hoops meant to lionize, incite and ultimately dispense with anyone who can't keep up.

Alan Edward Bell's expansive editorial credits, which include Water for Elephants, (500) Days of Summer and last year's The Amazing Spider-Man, are reason enough he was asked to cut this particularly complex hybrid of a picture. But Bell also has a parallel career augmenting his own and others' work with composites and other visual effects, landing him VFX supervisor credits on the indie charmer Little Manhattan and the Julia Roberts thriller Duplicity. Currently editing on set the next installment in The Hunger Games franchise, Mockingjay – Part 1, Bell is also already in production on its companion, Mockingjay – Part 2. We spoke to him about finding the heart and soul of every picture, what he thinks about superheroes, and how he developed his signature set of "performance enhancing" editorial and visual effects.

StudioDaily: Although this is the first THG film both you and director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) have collaborated on, you've worked with him once before. What direction did he give you from the outset?

Alan Edward Bell: We first worked together on Water for Elephants in 2011. But this is my first time working with Lionsgate. What happened was I was finishing up work on The Amazing Spider-Man and Francis called me and said he was doing Catching Fire and told me that my agent would be calling me shortly. I was pretty excited about the project, though at that time, they weren't ready to release the script to anybody. So basically the first bit of direction I got from him was, "Just read the book, because that's what we're doing: We're making the book. Just sink your teeth into the material." I hadn't read them yet or even seen the first movie. I read all three books over the course of four days, then I went and saw the first movie. read more...

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