Jennifer Lawrence Finally Locked In For 'The Hunger Games'

by Oliver Lyttelton
March 17, 2011 1:20 AM
10 Comments
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The process of casting a high-profile, much sought-after role in a major would-be franchise is a complex one, with the advent of movie blogs such as ourselves. Every stage of the process is now as public as it could be, save some kind of weekly reality show documenting it, and it has the side effect of making the casting process seem endless. It's only six weeks or so since rumors of any kind started flying around regarding Gary Ross' adaptation of immensely popular young adult novel trilogy "The Hunger Games," but it's dominated the news to the extent that we're nothing but delighted that a decision's finally been made on the casting of Katniss, the central role.

The Wrap reports that 20-year-old Oscar-nominated "Winter's Bone" star Jennifer Lawrence has landed the part, to the surprise of absolutely no-one -- the actress was called the front-runner for the part more than two weeks ago, and was again thought to have been close to signing on last week. Nevertheless, other high-profile young actresses, including Hailee Steinfeld, Saoirse Ronan, Abigail Breslin, Chloe Moretz and half-a-dozen others, were also said to be in the race, but Lawrence's deal closed yesterday, and is thought to cover the whole trilogy: "The Hunger Games," "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay."

Lawrence's star has been on the rise ever since "Winter's Bone" bowed at Sundance last year, with the actress landing roles in Jodie Foster's "The Beaver," Drake Doremus' "Like Crazy" and as the younger version of Mystique in "X-Men: First Class," but this seems like the role destined to cement her place on the A-list. The schedule is thought to still accommodate her recent casting in Oliver Stone's crime flick "Savages," but will, however, presumably rule her out of rival teen bookstore favorite "The Last Apprentice," with Jeff Bridges, which she was also linked to.

We're pretty big fans of Lawrence, not just for her storming performance in "Winter's Bone," but for the witty, self-deprecating way she's handled herself around awards season and the "X-Men" madness; it's clear that she was heading for the stratosphere anyway, but, barring some kind of disaster, this should make her a huge star. We haven't yet consulted our resident "Hunger Games" experts, but it seems like she's a strong fit for the role, although it may prove controversial among fans; Lawrence is a full four years older than the character, and some feel that by aging the character up, it may rob the premise -- involving teens drawn by lottery into gladiatorial battles in a dystopian future -- of its power.

Now, attention turns to the other major roles, most notably the male lead, Peeta Mellark. Names like Alex Pettyfer and Josh Hutcherson have been linked to the role in recent weeks, with E! Online reporting that Hunter Parrish, star of "Weeds" and "It's Complicated" is also in the mix. With the film set to bow a year from now, on March 23rd, 2012, we'd expect the rest of the decisions to follow shortly.

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10 Comments

  • Thomas | March 17, 2011 7:38 AMReply

    The book was crap — manipulative, sleazy knockoff of Battle Royale with a completely unbelievable dystopian future society. But Hollywood will milk the love story angle and make a mint.

  • happy | March 17, 2011 6:49 AMReply

    Awesome choice! Read and loved the series and can't wait to see Jennifer's turn as Katniss.

  • Brooke | March 17, 2011 6:13 AMReply

    I hate this choice. She's lovely but the whole point of this story is children killing children, and she's just too old. The danger element won't be as exciting as it should be. After all, there are millions of violent adult films with adults killing eachother. I don't think she looks like Katniss to me, and this means that they are going to have to cast an older Peeta as well. They're missing the whole demographic- YA is not 20 something. Hey, Harry Potter made billions, right? And they stayed true to the characters. That's it.

  • Kim | March 17, 2011 4:36 AMReply

    Superherogirl- yeah she doesn't look "20" to me. She vibes older. Maybe it's the way she poses on the red carpet? That's kinda' why I wanted Katniss to be casted as someone younger than Katniss in the book, to get the whole "holy crap! These are young kids!" And if the poster is 2 posed sexed out people I will be irked. This is gritty, raw, and powerful... which is why I think the cover of the books was so interesting. You have these high tech looking covers and yet the book is mostly yet in the wilds and dirty gritty settings.

  • superherogirl | March 17, 2011 2:42 AMReply

    What's funny is that I totally agree that she can act. I loved Winter's Bone (never bought her as a teen - she just reads older to me), but she is a wonderful actress.

    Obviously the feel of a character is subjective. But JL doesn't have the feel I envisioned of Katniss. I'm already seeing posters in my head of curvy Jennifer and muscled Pettyfer/Parrish in scanty ripped Arena clothing on posters - so not the point of the movie but I'd bet money that's how it's marketed.

    Reading these books I was just really excited about them being made into movies. I thought they would translate well with someone behind them who understood the books. The age of the Hunger Games contestants was just an integral part of the premise that it doesn't seem possible they will get the feel right.

    So yes while Jennifer is a great actress I'm really dishearten because I'm so scared that Hollywood is going to ruin another book series for me.

  • Katie | March 17, 2011 2:14 AMReply

    Well being that Barack Obama is just as white as he is black, that wouldn't be too far fetched. Hair, makeup and clothes can do wonders. All that matters is that Jennifer is an excellent actress and she will do a good job. She will make this movie much better than the Twilight trainwreck, bc she can ACT

  • Kim | March 17, 2011 2:12 AMReply

    So dye her hair, make it less shiny. I haven't seen "Winter's Bone' but I heard that she is great in that.

    Heads up: Katniss is white. She has olive skin, grey eyes, dark hair. She apparently doesn't know/think she's pretty because she's too busy surviving. But her mom and sister are blonde haired blue eyes. If I remember she looks likes her dad. Could be worse casting.

  • Charlotte | March 17, 2011 2:02 AMReply

    Give me a break, Katniss is Caucasian. Her mother and sister are both pale skinned and blonde while she has olive skin in the book. Sorry, I'm all about racial diversity but I don't think we should be shocked that they cast a white person. I just want the best actress, and from what I'm hearing about her, she's good.

  • Charlotte | March 17, 2011 1:54 AMReply

    I have no problem with her being 20. Come on, most of the people who play teenagers on screen are in their twenties. Take a look at Glee - most of them are in their mid-20s with a couple of them pushing 30. Buffy was the same way as probably most other shows. When the names of Abigal Brensin, Halie Stenfeld and Chloe Mortez were bantered about I thought that they were way too young. I'm pleased that they went a little older, but it's not like Lawerence is over the hill or something. I really hope they pick the right Peeta. I don't like Pettyfer and I hope they don't choose him. I don't think he's humble enough for the part.

  • superherogirl | March 17, 2011 1:51 AMReply

    They are going the Twilight route. Make sure everyone is really pretty and white. 20 years from now a white guy in brown makeup will play Barack Obama in a movie.

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