Major spoilers for "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2" lie ahead!
Well, that was rough.
Everyone who read Suzanne Collins' "Hunger Games" books knew that Prim's (Willow Shields) death in "Mockingjay - Part 2" was coming, though few could probably imagine just how devastating it was when it all played out onscreen. The strong, brave, and caring doctor-in-training was killed in a blast that was more than likely orchestrated by Gale (Liam Hemsworth) -- alongside dozens of other innocent children -- while Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) looked on.
It was a total nightmare, but one that Shields was more than ready for, having known the big bang was coming for four-ish years.
"It’s really difficult to emotionally prepare for a scene like that," Shields told MTV News at the "Mockingjay - Part 2" premiere in Berlin. "Obviously, she’s strong at that moment. She goes out and she’s emotionally very strong, physically strong... so for me, that’s what I tried to do. I avoided thinking about it at all, because I just wanted to embody that strength for Prim as much as possible."
This ended up being a not-so impossible task to pull off, as Francis Lawrence made the very conscious decision to not show Prim actually being killed.
"I never wanted the movie to go into carnage, or gore," he explained. "There’s very little blood in the movie. It’s not about that for me, it’s about the consequence, and how you feel, and the kind of damage it causes emotionally."
This allowed Shields to fully focus on Prim's strength in the moment, though she admitted that it was a little strange to film a scene with dozens of other young actors, knowing that they were all about to be killed. Still, "it was one of my greatest memories on set; because working with all the extras and filming a scene like that with such epic-ness, is definitely rare to do as an actor."
Also, being a huge fan of Collins' books, Shields felt that there was "a reason" for her character's demise. And even if that reason was just to establish that Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is a better man than Gale, Shields doesn't mind -- because she's #TeamKatniss anyway.
"I’m team Katniss for life!" she said. "That’s definitely one thing that will never change, no matter how long I think back on this series. I think Katniss has been an incredible role model for young girls, and that’s one of the coolest parts. She’s changed a bit of the way that people think about strong women characters in film."
"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2" is in theaters now.