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The Hunger Games… Who’s Got The Right Stuff?

11 May

When you have a great property, with a built-in fan base, of course you want to find the right players for the parts! And everyone, especially within that fan base, has an image of the perfect person for those roles; and many will be different… This is the plight of the book turned film!

The (already cast and almost finished) Twilight series, the (cast and looking for an opening weekend) Stephanie Plum series, and the (currently casting) Hunger Games series, are just three examples in the litany of Hollywood’s current trend of “book to film” movies that have cast people (or seriously considered casting people) in lead roles, that many fans of the books (and admirers of its characters) disagreed with.

The current hubbub is the casting presently going on for the Hunger Games films, based on the best-selling novels by LitChickSuzanne Collins, mainly about the female protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. There is also a bit of concern over the casting of the two male leads, Peeta & Gale… who are both very important in Katniss’ life…

If you haven’t read The Hunger Games, here is the introduction, shown here from GoodReads.com:

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

In the first book, The Hunger Games, all the characters are described pretty well, yet leaving enough untold for your imagination to take the reins… So, with artistic licence being what it is, how do you cast? Do you stick as stridently to what the author wrote as you can, or do you take some liberties?

J. Lawrence

Now, we know…hair can be dyed, skin can be tanned or lightened through makeup, contacts can change ones eye color, weight can be gained or lost, as the situation calls for… There are numerous ways an actor can change their appearance to fit a part; Christian Bale, Tom Hanks, the cast of Twilight (though we can argue how truly successful that hair and makeup department was at times… but we still love them), have all proven this point… it is possible! Unless you are going for a big change of the character, like a full

Josh H. (Peeta) & Liam H. (Gale)

on, race or gender switch, wouldn’t starting out with someone closer to the description of said character be beneficial? Or is it really not that big a factor next to talent, or a name? Or both, as the case may be… ’cause like I said before, ones appearance can be changed.

And if it is as simple as that, why then, did so many people get up in arms when, casting director, Debra Zane, called for just that, without getting to specific as to the characters looks:

Debra Zane, one of Hollywood’s top casting directors, is in charge of casting the flick. On a website run by Breakdown Services, her staff posted the filmmakers’ broad criteria for Katniss:

She should be Caucasian, between ages 15 and 20, who could portray someone “underfed but strong,” and “naturally pretty underneath her tomboyishness.”

J. Lawrence with official THG makeover

In the novel, Collins describes Katniss’ whole family; her mother (who is originally from the ‘merchant-class area of District 12’), and younger sister Prim, favor each other with their thin body frames, light hair, and blue eyes. Katniss apparently takes after her father, the dark hair, gray eyes, and more olive toned skin. At one point, Katniss notes how very similar the families from ‘the Seam’ are, saying her friend Gale looks like he could be her brother. {All after telling this story about her mother, who must have loved her dad, to leave her life with her “merchant-class” family (though not much better), to be with her father, a miner from ‘the Seam’.} Katniss is also  described as thin but bit more muscularly built than her mother and sister.

The Everdeens live in a place where food is scarce, in fact Katniss laments early in the book, “District Twelve. Where you can starve to death in safety.” (Collins, p.6)

But Katniss’ father prepared her well, (as did her further expeditions beyond the fence with Gale), to take care of herself, their family, help others if she can, and unknowingly… to compete in “The Hunger Games”…

Liam H. with digital THG makover

Gale, like Katniss is from ‘the Seam’. He is described in the book as having straight black hair, gray eyes, a very thin, lean, and muscular body. He and Katniss are hunters, so they get lots of exercise and eat more lean protein than many in their district, this could inform the image of their builds.

Josh H. with digital THG makeover

Peeta, on the other hand is quite opposite Gale. He has wavy ash blond hair, eyes of blue, and his build is stocky, more bulky (being a bakers son, he gets far more carbs than most), also he’s broad-shouldered and strong, from doing lots of heavy lifting in the bakery.

So, with the casting of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Liam Hemsworth as Gale, and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Do you think they got it right?

Most of the key cast has now been chosen… and are you happy with whom the studio picked?  I came across a fanvid, dedicated to The Hunger Games, a few months ago… It’s really good. And for a fan made video, the production value is pretty epic! The girl playing Rue (Savanna Kylie Lewis) looks like she could totally play Prim Everdeen in the movie; if they were using this for an audition piece, which is what their YouTube page now says, then I get why they chose the scene they did! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

**Spoiler Alert**  For the video below, in the event you haven’t read the book!

Talent aside, I was not excited by the chosen cast at first… but I do believe, talented actors all, will do an incredible job at bringing to life one of my favorite YA book series’! I am hearing great things about the script, and so I just hope that everyone will do justice to the original work. I’ll definitely be seeing this when it comes out, so in the meantime…

“Happy Hunger Games… and may the odds be ever in your favor”

P.S. And because she wants it soooo bad…  : )


BFI | Sight & Sound | Women on Film: The Sight & Sound Competition for Female Film Writers

3 Apr

Are you a writer? Are you analytical? Do you have opinions that you like to express?

Well, there is a fantastic opportunity (albeit, it’s in London) that’s available to you! Sight & Sound magazine is trying to take some steps to getting more women involved in film criticism!

“The makeup of critics and journalists writing about film is similarly dismal. The Times’ Kate Muir and Sunday Telegraph’s Jenny McCartney are currently the lone women amongst ten or more staff critics on the British broadsheets. In the US, the above-quoted 2007 study from the Center for the Study of Women in Film & Television found men wrote 70 per cent of all counted film reviews and held 77 per cent of staff film-critic roles. Michael Kaminski has counted seven women authors on amazon.com’s list of 50 ‘Movie History and Criticism’ bestsellers.

From Iris Barry, Lotte Eisner, C.A. Lejeune and Dilys Powell to Penelope Houston (Sight & Sound’s editor for 34 years), Penelope Gilliatt, Pauline Kael, Susan Sontag and Molly Haskell, women have constituted many of our keenest film critics; but cinema now seems to repel their voices. Why? And how can we change this?”

The British Film Institute or the BFI,  according to their website (www.bfi.org.uk) “promotes understanding and appreciation of film and television heritage and culture.”  The organization was established in 1933, and they offer and operate a wide range of activities and services. As part of all that they offer, the BFI publishes the monthly film magazine Sight & Sound, “which features commentary and analysis, in-depth reviews and full credits for all new releases.”

And they want you. Yes, you! You writers, to enter their contest! The winner of which is involved in a year-long mentoring program and will get to write a feature for BFI’s site! See some of the details on the competition below, and get the full details on Sight & Sound’s contest page!

“We’re inviting women who are not already professional film journalists to write us a brief thumbnail description (circa 300 words) of a person in the world of film who is or has been an inspiration to them. The subject can be related to cinema in any way: an actor, screenwriter, costumer, lab technician or even subject of a movie. We’re interested in your heroes, models and muses, but also in your critical acumen: your writing should be passionate and imaginative but also insightful and analytical…
The best entry will win a year-long mentoring programme with one or more of our female journalists, plus a commission to write a longer feature for this website. Two runners-up will win an annual subscription to Sight & Sound.”

So, good luck to all of you witty, bright, amazing Chick writers who decide to enter! We here at ChickMakesFlicks wish you the absolute best!!! : )

Check out the CMF About Pages!

12 Mar

Come check out the CMF About Pages! Find out a bit about the CMF bloggers and their take on the topics at hand. The About Pages are getting updated as we get new bloggers, so new “profiles” will be added soon, so keep checking in. Also there are new CMF About Pages coming next week, so keep your eye out for those as well! Thanks for reading!

-The ChickMakesFlicks… Chicks  ; )  Chickmakesflicks, Fauxgoraphobe, FingeronthepulseBarefootcineaste, & Erraticolors!