Confession: I loved The Hunger Games books.
I made my parents buy me the trilogy for Christmas. My dad went to Chapters to purchase it and called me from the store because he couldn’t find it. The conversation went something like this:
Dad: Uh, yeah. I can’t find these books you’re talking about.
Me: WHAT?! Impossible. They’re huge right now. They’re, like, the next Twilight…but good. Apparently. Impossible.
Dad: Well, I’m telling you I don’t see them.
Me: Ugh. Fine. Ask someone. Can you ask someone?
Dad: God. Who even works here? Oh, that guy has a weird mustache and he looks half asleep. He probably works here. Hold on…….
Me: He doesn’t work there dad. Facial hair does not necessarily equal bookstore employee. Anymore.
Dad: (muffled talking) So that was a woman, and she’s never heard of the books either.
Me: Well, she must be headless. These books are hugely popular. I don’t get it.
Dad: Forget this. Can I order it online?
Me: Yes! I’ll set you up on Amazon.
Dad: Hey! Look at that..found them!
Me: SEE?! Told you. Where were they?
Dad: In the children’s section.
And that brings us to today. Rumour is that they’re close to announcing the cast for the big screen adaption of the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy, written by Suzanne Collins. Jennifer Lawrence (Oscar nominee for Winter’s Bone) is said to be neck-and-neck with Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) for the lead role of Katniss Everdeen.
For those of you unfamiliar with the books (1 – The Hunger Games; 2 – Catching Fire; 3 – Mockingjay), here’s a brief synopsis from Wikipedia:
The Hunger Games trilogy takes place in an unidentified future time period after the destruction of North America in a nation known as Panem. Panem used to consist of a rich Capitol, located somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, and thirteen surrounding, poorer districts which cater to the Capitol’s needs. As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol wherein the thirteenth district was supposedly destroyed, every year one boy and one girl from each of the remaining twelve districts, between the ages of twelve and eighteen, are selected by lottery and forced to participate in the “Hunger Games.” The Games are a televised event where the participants, called “tributes,” must fight to the death in a dangerous outdoor arena until only one remains. The winning tribute and his/her corresponding district is then rewarded handsomely.
So you can understand why I think it’s weird that the series would live in the children’s section of a bookstore, yes?
Anyhoodle…since I must have accidentally deleted the email in which the production company asked for my opinion on a cast for the movie version of the first book – slated for release March 23, 2012 – I thought I’d offer them here. So buckle up: here are my thoughts on who should be cast in The Hunger Games.
Katniss, 16, is the main character in the trilogy. She lives with her mother and younger sister in District 12, one of the poorer districts in Panem. When her sister Prim is chosen as the female tribute for the 74th Hunger Games at a yearly event referred to as the reaping, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She joins Peeta Mellark, the male tribute from District 12, and together they head to the Capitol for the Hunger Games and almost certain death. Katniss is depicted as strong-willed and a fearless hunter. She also has a softer side which reveals itself in a romantic tug of war between her best friend back home, Gale, and Peeta, who she finds herself bonding with during the Games despite knowing that should they be the final two contenders she will have to kill him.
As I mentioned earlier, Jennifer Lawrence appears to be the front runner to take the role. But I picture Katniss more like Troian Bellisario (Pretty Little Liars), Willa Holland (The O.C.), Jodelle Ferland (Twilight Sage: Eclipse) or Nina Dobrev (Vampire Diaries).
Peeta is the male tribute from District 12, picked alongside Katniss to participate in the 74th Hunger Games. Peeta is the son of the town’s baker and goes to school with Katniss (though they are not friends). You soon learn that Peeta saved Katniss’ life by giving her bread when she was eleven, on the verge of starvation, and struggling to help feed her family after her father’s death in a mining accident. Peeta and Katniss develop a strategy within the Games to act as if they are in love in order to garner sympathy and gifts of food and medicine from the people of Panem, who not only view the Games on television but who are also able to participate by purchasing gifts for their favourite tributes to be delivered to them in the fighting arena in order to help them survive longer.
It looks like relative newcomer Alex Pettyfer is the only actor in serious contention for the role. I’m ok with it. I heard that his most recent movie ‘I Am Number 4’ was terrible, but that he’s a decent actor. He’s also starring in the upcoming Beastly with Vanessa Hudgens.
Gale is Katniss’ best friend in District 12, as well as her hunting partner. Early on in the first book it is established that though their relationship was originally built on the need for survival and therefore the convenience of hunting in pairs, Gale and Katniss have grown very close over the years and there is a definite romantic undercurrent to their relationship. In order to not cast suspicion on Katniss and Peeta’s staged romance in the Hunger Games arena, Gale is presented as Katniss’ cousin. He bears a passing resemblance to Katniss, which makes their cover believable.
This one is tricky. It would be kind of fun if they cast an unknown. I couldn’t really picture Gale while reading the book. If I had to pick someone, I would maybe lean towards Paul Wesley (Vampire Diaries) or the amazing Iwan Rheon (Misfits), but frankly I think they’ll go with a little known or unknown actor. They could go so many ways with Gale. He’s not as defined to the reader as Peeta is.
Primrose “Prim” Everdeen is Katniss’ younger sister. Though the odds are unlikely, given the lottery system for selecting tributes from each district to participate in the Hunger Games, Prim is selected at the reaping and Katniss immediately volunteers to take her place. Prim is described as blonde, petite and sweet. She also has a gift for healing, like their mother. Prim plays only a minor role in the first book.
There’s only one actress I pictured while reading The Hunger Games and it was Elle Fanning (Somewhere).
Effie resides in The Capitol, and is an escort for District 12 during The Hunger Games. Effie does the drawing of tribute names at the reaping, and escorts the two chosen tributes for the year (Katniss and Peeta) to the Capital to help prepare them for the Games. At first, it is clear that Effie isn’t happy with her post and that she would prefer to be an escort for one of the other (and in her mind, better) Districts. But she grows fond of Katniss and Peeta.
There is only one person I can see in this role, and based on fan forums and blogs dedicated to the subject, I’m not alone when I cast my vote for Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies, The West Wing).
Haymith, a fellow resident of District 12 (and the town drunk) was a previous victor in the Hunger Games, and his role is to act as official mentor and trainer for the tributes, Peeta and Katniss. Due to the horror of the Games and the fact that every tribute he trained to go in the arena since his victory was killed, Haymitch turned to drinking several years earlier and isolated himself from the rest of District 12.
Cinna is Katniss’ stylist for the Hunger Games, and becomes a confidante for her during her preparation. The 74th Hunger Games were Cinna’s first year of being a stylist and, like most new stylists, he was assigned to District 12. It is later revealed that he specifically requested to work with that District.
I’m not sure why, but I thought of Hugh Dancy (Confessions of a Shopaholic) in this role. Based purely on what he looked like in that awful Shopaholic movie. I pictured Cinna as having an innocent, boyish face that did a lot to conceal how truly wise and clever he actually was.
Rue is the female tribute from District 11. She is described as small and very young – about 12 years old. Katniss forms an alliance with Rue mid-way through the games.
How about Madison Pettis (The Game Plan)? I was at a total loss on this one but I googled (yeah I dod) and she seems to be a popular choice. She looks like she’d fit the part quite well. P.S. What’s with people naming their kids Madison? Are they afraid there’s going to be a bitch shortage at some point in the next 20 years?
Evil leader of Panem and overall douchehat, President Snow only briefly appears in the first book of The Hunger Games trilogy. That said, he does play a huge role in the series so I imagine he would be featured in the movie version of the first book.
Those are my thoughts. Who would you like to see in the movie adaptation of The Hunger Games?