Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away in February while in the middle of filming scenes for The Hunger Games:Mockingjay, but director Francis Lawrence says he couldn’t possibly imagine finishing the actor’s parts with CGI.
Rumors began floating around the web earlier this year that Lawrence was going to do exactly that, but to take away from the performance by filling it in with computer graphics was unthinkable, he says.
“He had two scenes with dialogue that were left and we decided we didn’t want to try any digital trickery with him, so we rewrote his scenes and gave the dialogue to other actors. I just think to try to fake a Philip Seymour Hoffman performance would have been catastrophic and I would never want to do that,” Lawrence said.
After the actors took a break following Hoffman’s death, Lawrence decided to re-film a few scenes and split up the actor’s dialogue between some of the other characters. However, it’s not uncommon for a film or show to feature computer imagery after an actor’s death; The Crow was forced to do it after Brandon Lee was tragically killed on set, and The Sopranos had to maneuver around the passing of actress Nancy Marchand–who played Tony’s mother–just before her character was killed off.
Actor Jeffrey Wright says he and the rest of the cast were devastated to learn of Hoffman’s death and praised him on his willingness to take on a role so fully.
“There’s a big void in the acting circle that I inhabit that’s been left by his passing. He was, he was a singular. He occupied a very specific singular space, you know, among us actors, and he was so, he was so committed to these films and was so inspired by these books and by the themes behind the book,” he said.