‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1’ Star Mahershala Ali Talks Playing Boggs, Filming in Atlanta and More!

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1 is now in theaters, and we recently had the chance to chat with the man who ends up being tasked with keeping Katniss safe, Boggs himself, played by actor Mahershala Ali.

Boggs’ role in the series changes over the course of the books. He’s introduced into the series as President Coin’s right hand man, whom Katniss sees as a puppet she can’t trust. As time passes, however, she learns that all isn’t necessarily as it seems, and sometimes our enemies can become our greatest allies, and vice-versa.

“I play Colonel Boggs who is commissioned to protect Katniss in and outside of District 13 in Mockingjay Part 1 and 2. He’s the right-hand man of President Coin, Alma Coin played by Julianne Moore. He’s from District 13, born and raised. At first, I think he’s a little apprehensive about the assignment of having to protect Katniss. But he quickly warms to her and really grows to love and respect her,” explained Ali about his role.

So how did the star prep for the role? “We some tactical weapons training with an ex-Marine and a Navy Seal here in Atlanta, and just kind of worked on some coordinated movements and how these tactical teams would move… handling the weapons, firing the weapons, just getting comfortable with, like, having a gun you know, strapped to you and being able to look believable.”

When asked about how he enjoyed filming right here in Atlanta, Ali replied, “I had a great time in Atlanta. This is a really great place. A lot of good people, lot of terrific food. I was at Piedmont Park a lot, because we stayed near there. I just kind of hopped around and went to Five Points. I had a car, so I was just driving around exploring.”

This isn’t Mahershala’s first rodeo when it comes to working on a politically charged project either. Some of you may recognize him from his role on House of Cards as Remy Danton, so when we asked him about whether or not he has any personal interests in politics the star said, “Unfortunately I’ve grown a little bit jaded with a lot of politics and our political process, and so I stay peripherally abreast of what’s going on, but it’s not something where every time I sit- I’m moreso with the sports, watching ESPN or something like that, and I check in with the news. My wife’s more of a news-head than me. I kind of check in with it and make sure I know what’s going on, but I don’t get excited by all of that.”

You can catch Mahershala’s performance as Boggs in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1, in theaters now!


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