Willow Shields Tells Us What To Expect From ‘Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2’
Having played the part of Prim Everdeen in The Hunger Games franchise, Willow Shields knows what it’s like to grow up in front of the big screen. The franchise, which grossed over $1 billion since its first film, has also given Willow international fame. At 14 years old, Willow has learned how to handle the spotlight, but she didn’t get there alone. “Jennifer [Lawrence] has always been someone I look up to as a person and as an actress. I can talk to her about anything,” Willow said. The franchise, which began filming in 2012 has now completed its fourth installment, so it’s no surprise the castmates are close. “So much about filming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 was familiar, like being with friends again after a while away. You pick up right where you left off. Everyone was so close already,” she reflected.
“Jennifer Lawrence has always been someone I look up to as a person and as an actress. I can talk to her about anything.”
Like Willow’s evolving relationship with Jennifer Lawrence off screen, her character, Prim, is also growing in a big way. “Prim is becoming the person she would be as an adult. She is training to become a doctor. She is proud and strong,” Willow continued, “She’s a comfort to Katniss and encourages Katniss in the rebellion. Much has changed between them. They are more like friends and equals now.” The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 is the final installment of the franchise, and Willow, although focused on upcoming projects, is sad to see it go—“Knowing that this epic experience of being a part of these four films was about to come to an end made filming this one different. Everyone knew it and everyone felt it.”
Currently working on a new project in New Zealand, Willow is feeling a heavy burden of her early success. “Probably the hardest part of shooting any film is being away from my twin sister Autumn,” Willow continued, “She’s not just my twin, but also my best friend. I would want her to be with me all the time if it was possible, but she has her life and school to attend to.”
“How do you handle not having her around?” I asked.
“We try and stay in touch as much as possible by talking to each other every day.” She went on— “Sometimes it’s not possible, but we are dedicated to it. I also try and send her little gifts from wherever I am, postcards, little trinkets.”
“Knowing that this epic experience of being a part of these four films was about to come to an end made filming this one different. Everyone knew it and everyone felt it,”
Willow was just 11 years old when she began filming the first of The Hunger Games films, but she was certain of her passion long before then. “My interest in acting came from my brother’s interest when I was 7 actually,” Willow continued, “He had started auditioning for parts in movies and TV shows and I decided on a whim that I wanted to try too. Once I started auditioning and working I just fell in love.”
“What made you love it so much?” I asked.
“Being on a movie set is one of the most magical places in the world to be. I don’t think I will ever feel otherwise. The people, the characters, the costumes—I love it all,” she continued, “For The Hunger Games, my favorite memory is me just sitting and talking with Jennifer between takes. It’s the simple things.”
Illustration by Carolyn Buch