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IT'S A RATHER VIOLENT FILM, AND IT WAS ORIGINALLY RATED R. WHAT DID YOU DO TO GET IT DOWN TO A PG-13? I changed a shot or two; that was it. But we didn't really back off from the violence in any way. It's specific when it needs to be, but we also didn't need to be indulgent or overly graphic or exploitive, because you're in Katniss's point of view. So the glimpses that she's getting, the things that she's feeling, the sensory impressions around her, if you're invested in how she's feeling at that moment, are enough to sustain that kind of harrowing tension. You don't need to get lurid. If I get incredibly graphic and indulgent with what this is, I step out of her point of view. Then I'm putting on a set piece, bloodbath, kind of Sam Peckinpah melee, and then I'm trying to go back to Katniss. And that's not gonna work. I have to stay invested in her point of view.

A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO YOU DID SOME FREELANCE SPEECHWRITING FOR PRESIDENT CLINTON. ARE YOU STILL DOING ANY OF THAT? No, I'm out of politics these days.

BUT THE HUNGER GAMES IS A POLITICAL MOVIE. Well, I'm in politics in that regard. I don't mind being a little more incendiary from individual action. But in terms of electoral politics. . . . When Barack was running last time, I helped a little bit. I really can't describe what I did, and I'm not supposed to, but I did help a little bit. I've been asked recently, but it's not where my head is right now.

IS IT TRUE THAT THERE'S GOING TO BE A REMAKE OF CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON? Maybe. I'm one of the producers. It's a project that's been around for a while, but we'll see what happens. I feel good about it. I think my dad wouldn't mind.

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