Hunger Games' Elizabeth Banks Meets With Catching Fire Director Francis Lawrence

Exclusive! Actress reveals what was "fun" about their first chat over coffee

By Marc Malkin Jun 19, 2012 5:31 PMTags
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Elizabeth Banks had a really "great" meeting with Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence.

Sure, they talked about the second Hunger Games flick, but also…

"Let me tell you what's fun—to have the job before the director!" Banks told me at the Maui Film Festival, where she was honored with this year's Navigator Award.

"That has never happened ever in my life," she said.

She added with a big laugh, "Going into that meeting, I was like, 'I have the job. You tell me what you're going to do, buddy—cause I'm already in this hit movie.'"

Banks and Lawrence met for coffee. "We talked about where the movie is going," she said. "It was great." No, she's not spilling on any specifics.

Banks is, no surprise, looking forward to playing Effie again. "I love being with Woody [Harrelson] and Lenny [Kravitz]," she said. "That's who I get to pal around with."

And we love hearing that HG's three breakout stars, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, haven't let success go to their heads. "They're all so real," Banks said.

And so beautiful, too—especially the Aussie hunk of the bunch. "Liam is ridiculously good-looking," Banks gushed. "I mean, ridiculous."

We couldn't agree more.

Banks was in Maui with her hubby of almost nine years, Max Handelman, and their 15-month-old son Felix. The film fest included a showing of her next film, People Like Us, a drama with Chris Pine and Michelle Pfeiffer, and a Q & A conducted by yours truly in front of an audience of more than 3,000.

Her and Handelman's second producing gig, Pitch Perfect, a comedy about the world of competitive college a cappella singing starring Anna Kendrick and directed by Jason Moore, hits theaters in October.

But no matter what, family comes first. "I like to say your baby is number one always," Banks said. "Like all working moms, you try to create your village, create your safe haven. He's number one and everything else is a battle for number two."