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THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

Coldplay Catches Fire: The Music
When it came to setting Catching Fire's most monumental moments to music, the filmmakers returned to the composer who created themes still fresh in audience's minds from the first film: eight time Oscar nominee James Newton Howard. With Katniss entering more nuanced emotional territory, Howard, too, explored new shadings in his orchestral score. "The gorgeous score that James has written for the film picks up the familiar themes, then carries them to new places," says Francis Lawrence, who has collaborated with the composer before.

Adds Tracy McKnight, Lionsgate's Head of Film Music: "James really gets inside the heightened emotions of this part of the story and has created an epic score. He's so gifted that was able to capture both the deep intimacy and the bold action that Catching Fire entails. We all felt very lucky to have him back."

Last time, Howard collaborated with songwriter and musical artist T Bone Burnett. For Catching Fire, the filmmakers invited one of today's most popular rock bands -- the seven-time GRAMMY Award winning British group Coldplay - to write and record their first-ever original song for a motion picture. The result is the end title song, "Atlas," which was penned specifically for Katniss, and would ultimately become inspiration for themes echoed in Howard's score.

"I'm a huge fan of Coldplay so it was truly exciting for me to have this all come together," muses Francis Lawrence. "I was simply knocked out by the unbelievable song Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland and Will Champion wrote. It could not fit more perfectly emotionally and thematically with Katniss' journey and it has made for a beautiful note to end the film. We can't wait to share this music with audiences."

Adds McKnight: "It was really a case of the stars aligning. We all felt Coldplay could bring just the right sound for the end of the film, and then it turned out that Chris Martin is a Hunger Games fan.

Everything came together so organically because Chris and the band already had that connection to the story, and that led to something magical."

When the filmmakers heard "Atlas," they all knew something special had occurred in the alchemy between subject and songwriter. "Everyone instantly loved the song," recalls McKnight. "Like the film, it's about someone carrying the weight on the world on their shoulders and yet it leaves you with a sense of hope. And all that is carried by the beautiful piano, the gorgeous vocals and that sense of dramatic build that we've all come to love from Coldplay."

McKnight -- along with music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas and Universal Republic Record's executive Tom McKay -- was determined to have this second soundtrack album represent wide-ranging musical impressions of what Katniss' evolution as a person means to so many. Part of the fun she says was making a "wish list" of artists and then, after approaching them, finding out that many were already obsessed with the books.

"We found that artists of all ages and background have already connected so strongly with these characters," she says. "Because of that, we had a real opportunity to tell a musical story with this soundtrack, to touch on topics of displacement, family, hope and that feeling you have when you might be a catalyst for something but you don't yet know what. These are really inspiring themes."

Weaving through genres and styles, the soundtrack features artists ranging from Canadian R&B star The Weeknd, folk-rock roots band The Lumineers, Icelandic pop band Of Monsters and Men, indie rockers Imagine Dragons and The National to 16 year-old New Zealand singer-songwriter sensation Lorde and rock legend Patti Smith.

"We didn't want to drive in one lane on this soundtrack - it's a multi-lane highway," McKnight explains. "We wanted to tap into the universal nature of music and create something that can play equally well with teenagers or fans of any age. So it's many different sounds, yet they all feel true to the spirit of the story. We also really wanted to go into the 'discovery zone,' - and we are excited to have artists such as The Weeknd, an important, emerging artist who wrote the most heart-wrenching song, and Lorde whose soul and depth beyond her years really reminded everyone of Katniss."

Most of all, says McKnight, both the music and the score tie into the overarching aim of Catching Fire: "I think every person who worked on this film came to it wanting to make something that fans could embrace. That's been the most fun - watching so many people, from the musicians to Francis Lawrence, bring their passion for a story that we all love."

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