Tag Archives: Josh Hutcherson

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…  : )