In what will be his final on-screen appearance, Philip Seymour Hoffman is 100 percent real. Despite the rumor that went around earlier this year following the star’s tragic death, Hoffman’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 role as Plutarch Heavensbee will not feature the actor digitally recreated in a hologram.
“We’re not creating anything digital,” director Francis Lawrence said. “We’re only using real footage.”
The actor passed away from a drug overdose in February, before the final film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 wrapped. At the time, reports circulated that the beloved actor would appear in a pivotal scene in hologram format. But the cast and crew decided that nothing could come close to the real thing.
“Phil shows us who Plutarch really is,” director Lawrence said.
Adds his costar Mahershala Ali (Boggs), “He was terrific: deep, thoughtful, smart, enormously talented. Even a scene that seemed simple, he would try to find something deeper. He’d stop for a good 45 minutes, and we’d all hash it out to get a grasp of the characters. I’ve never seen someone work a scene like he did. He cared passionately, and I’ll keep that with me for the rest of my life.”
Some of the cast’s younger stars looked up to the Oscar winner, like Josh Hutcherson, who plays romantic lead Peeta Mellark.
“There are very few actors in history who actually become each character like he did,” Hutcherson, 22, tells Us of “one of the actors I’ve looked up to my entire life.”
Other costars like Woody Harrelson (Haymitch Abernathy) remembered the man who was a longtime friend and collaborator.
“The memory that sticks out most for me is a hospital scene we did,” Harrelson recalls to Us. “I put these paddles on him and went, ‘Clear!’ The second time, he laughed and put me in a wrestling hold. He was so strong! He used to be a wrestler. Such a fun guy. I’ll always love him.”
For more insider details, pictures, and posters from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, pick up Us Weekly’s special bookazine issue, on stands and at BN.com now!