The Hunger Games Movie Casting (thoughts)

If you’re like me–a not-so-secret Hunger Games fangirl–you’ve probably prowled the four corners of the web waiting for any tidbits of casting news for the forthcoming movie. I’ve been known to indulge in book to movie fantasy casting in the past and I’ve even assembled my own Hunger Games cast last year, so when the actors for the Peeta/Katniss/Gale roles were announced, how could I let the opportunity slip by without offering my two cents?

This whole Hunger Games movie brings about so much nail-biting anxiety, especially in lieu of ‘The Great Twilight Debacle.” Because I love The Hunger Games so freaking much, I will be devastated, no, inconsolable, if the movies descends into a Michael Bay meets Twilight CGI noise-fest. In short, I’d like to impart a few words to Hollywood: Please don’t F**k this up!

KATNISS: Any actress cast in this role is sure to receive criticism. After all, these are large hunter boots to fill…Jennifer Lawrence has Oscar creds, I’m actually rather relieved she’s going to play my favorite YA heroine, though I speak from Oscar awe and not from having seen Winter’s Bone. My first choice (highly improbable due to age) was Summer Galu the Terminator girl: so perfect for the role but alas, we’re about five years too late. So Jennifer Lawrence, huh? I’m trying to imagine her sooty-faced and shooting arrows into people’s asses and you know what? I could totally see it! Give the girl a bottle of hair dye and some archery lessons and let’s see if she can incite a revolution. Plus, she’s got Suzanne Collins’ personal approval but the verdict is still out until I’ve seen Winter’s Bone.

Katniss by LitCon on Polyvore.com

PEETA: My first reaction upon hearing that Josh Hutcherson was going to play the baker boy was “Who the heck is Josh Hutcherson?” followed by “This dude has Batman’s (of the Animated series) jaw! So strong, so square!” Plus, the pictures of him sporting a fohawk was not helping his cause. An IMDB search revealed Josh H. as the somber, doe-eyed kid in 2007’s Bridge to Teribithia movie… Ah. What a relief! There was a lot of soulful ‘staring-off-into-the-distance as I contemplate my mortality’ scenes in Bridge to Teribithia, which Josh H. OWNED and he was all of twelve years old. I hoped he’s brushed up on his meaningful stares because Peeta waxes philosophic ALL THE TIME. Remember “Real vs. Not Real?” in Mockingjay? Or the “Let us stand on the rooftop and gaze upon the city while we decide how we should die with dignity” scene in Hunger Games? This square jawed, chin-dimpled boy has my seal of approval! As for the hair, I’m sure the stylist who bleached Tom Felton’s hair in the Harry Potter movies will welcome the commission…

Peeta by LitCon on Polyvore.com

GALE: Liam Hemsworth?!!!!  As in the Captain America look-a-like who romanced Miley Cyrus with BABY SEA TURTLES in The Last Song?!!! Oh God… OH MAN! Oh GOD! OH MAN! Let me take a moment to drop to my knees and howl: NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! As you can see, I was not pleased with the casting. Up until the end of Mockingjay, I was waving the Team Gale banner to victory. I knew it was a lost cause but guys, Gale… Hunter. Adonis. Henry Cavill in the movie of my mind! Perhaps I’m being unfair to Liam and yet, the taint of that sacchrine Nicholas Sparks movie coupled with being Miley Cyprus’ off screen arm candy is hard to shake.

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Mockingjay (Non-Spoiler Review)

I don’t put my life on hold for any book. For Mockingjay, the final installment of Suzanne Collins’ brilliant Hunger Games Trilogy, I’ll make an exception. That is, I cannot live my life until I finish this series! Words cannot express my level of fandom. A transcript of my daily conversations may read like this:

Friend: “The clouds are especially fluffy today.”

Me: “Yes. Yes. It certainly is…READ THE HUNGER GAMES!”

(Friend backs away, terrified).

In the hierarchy of excitement, Mockingjay ranks last. It lacks the sense of urgency and intensity of the first two books, but the stakes are still high and by now the characters are like family; you want things to go well for them, and when things go awry, your heart starts palpitating as if you’re riding an emotional roller coaster to the abyss.

Only a few books can get me this worked up. I spent the better part of my reading time stressed out over Katniss’ fate, particularly with regards to the love triangle. I promise I will not spoil, but let’s just say love triangles are very excruciating for all parties involved, and by that I mean ME. According to the conventions of storytelling, it’s very obvious who Katniss will choose. Throughout Mockingjay I was head cheerleader for Team Mumble Mumble but deep down I felt like Captain Jack Sparrow steering his sinking ship into harbor: it’s a lost cause but I will still keep my head held high. Toward the end, my first reaction to Katniss’ choice was “THIS IS BULLSHIT!” Then “Sigh. Okay. The other guy grew on me and the last scene was so sweet I had to read it three times. Maybe I’ll re-read the series with a new perspective.” I pray this is vague and non-spoiler-y. Of course, Mockingjay is not so much about love triangles as it is about the brutality of war and what it does to those involved. It is also about ZMOG moments. Adhering to the non-spoiler route, I’ll just say that one character crossed over to the dark side and it broke my heart! In short, this book left me an emotional wreck and ruined me for other books.

A brief word on casting. Summer Glau of Firefly and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is my perfect Katniss. She’s already got an impressive list of dystopian film creds and she’s a walking contradiction of pretty/intelligent/athletic/graceful/vulnerable/tough. Chances are she’s too old to play Katniss but if they expect us to swallow Luke Perry as a teen in 90210, Summer as Katniss is not so far-fetched, right?