Swan House shines in ‘Hunger Games’ finale


Swan House Capitol Tours. 4 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. $10 plus the price of Atlanta History Center admission. 404-814-4000, atlantahistorycenter.com.

The phenomenally successful “Hunger Games” blockbuster movie series comes to an end with “Mockingjay Part 2,” in theaters now.

But a key filming location for this and the previous two films in the series isn’t going anywhere.

The Atlanta History Center’s Swan House, which served as President Snow’s mansion in the finale as well as in “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay Part 1,” launched a tour two years ago specifically focused on its role in the movies. With the curtain closing on “The Hunger Games,” the tour has been updated and expanded.

The exhibit, “Designing an Executive Mansion,” includes photographs taken during production and highlights objects from the house that you can look for on the big screen.

“Hunger Games” cast members Donald Sutherland, Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks all filmed scenes at the Swan House. Julianne Moore was among other stars who toured the Swan House while in Atlanta even though they didn’t film there.

“We’re imagining a future world, but we are basing it on places from the past. You can really imagine that (the Swan House) would survive through hundreds of years of turmoil,” Banks, who portrays Effie Trinket, said in a statement.

It seems entirely proper that the home has been the center of such a buzzed-about film series. The Philip T. Shutze-designed masterpiece was built in 1928 for prominent Atlantans Emily and Edward Inman, who loved a good party. The civic leaders were active in social clubs here and in New York and Palm Beach.

“I think they would be thrilled that people wanted to come here and party,” said Swan House manager Jessica VanLanduyt.

The elegant mansion, site of the annual Swan House Ball and other upscale festivities, was designed in Italian and English classical styles. Location scouts for the “Hunger Games” series were drawn to its imposing look and exquisite furnishings.

While some of the rooms underwent Hollywood makeovers to feature dramatic new color schemes, many of the home’s original contents were featured. You can spot the famous swan console tables, believed to be the inspiration for the recurring swan motif throughout the mansion as well as the inspiration for its name.

“Catching Fire” featured the Swan House in party mode, but by the time of “Mockingjay Part 2,” the party’s coming to an end for President Snow, and the exterior of the house has a very different CGI-enhanced look.

Long after heroine Katniss puts down her bow and arrow, though, the Swan House staff will look forward to welcoming visitors eager for a glimpse of where so much filming took place.

“It’s huge for us to have that whole new audience excited about the house,” VanLanduyt said. “We love the fact that people come to us now and see something a little bit different.”

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