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Three Vie for Next Female Franchise

Women and Hollywood By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood March 3, 2011 at 4:21AM

Variety reported yesterday that three Oscar nominated young actresses Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin and Jennifer Lawrence are all in the race to play the lead in The Hunger Games based on the best-selling novel by Suzanne Collins.
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Variety reported yesterday that three Oscar nominated young actresses Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin and Jennifer Lawrence are all in the race to play the lead in The Hunger Games based on the best-selling novel by Suzanne Collins.

Here's the description of the plot from wikipedia:

It introduces sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem where North America once stood. This is where a powerful government working in a central city called the Capitol holds power. In the book, the Hunger Games are an annual televised event where the Capitol chooses one boy and one girl from each district to fight to the death. The Hunger Games exist to demonstrate not even children are beyond the reach of the Capitol's power.

The film already has a release date that is not too far away -- March 23, 2012 -- so they need to cast and get started.

Lionsgate is looking for this to be the next Twilight franchise and they have multiple movies on their minds. The heroine in the book is sixteen and Lawrence is already 20, so it might be difficult to cast her for several movies over several years since she will by then be in her mid 20s. But let's be real the age issue has never stopped Hollywood before. And if they want to figure out how to age up the film to get older women in like Twilight, they might want an older actress and throw in a ittle romance.

This is a very interesting movie to watch. First, it's Lionsgate. Like Summit, which did Twilight, it is not one of the major studios. That is a positive. Of course, Lionsgate is not known for strong female fare (Saw movies) but they did release For Colored Girls. The film is being produced by Nina Jacobson who spent years at a studio head at Disney so she knows how to produce films for young audiences. The choice of Gary Ross as director baffles me a bit. He is best known for Seabiscuit and Pleasantville not for films about teens and tween, but who knows. Seems like this might have been a good opportunity to get Catherine Hardwicke into another franchise since she started the cash cow in the Twilight series.

None of the actresses vying for the lead have had to carry this big a film and Breslin's last attempt at a potential franchise - Kit Kittredge: An American Girl did not go over too well (even though it was adorable.) But she did hold her own with Jodie Foster in Nim's Island. Lawrence is about to co-star in the X-Men prequel, and Steinfeld, of course is in True Grit which has grossed upwards of $165 million.

I love the fact that there are actresses vying for a part, that a studio is serious about programming for young women and this movie already has some buzz on.

UPDATE: Looks like the Variety piece was a bit premature. EW is now reporting that there are upwards of 30 actresses (are there 30 actresses in this age group worthy of a role like this?) in competition for the role and that no decision has yet been made. The list includes: Chloë Moretz, Lyndsy Fonseca, Emma Roberts, and Saoirse Ronan.

This article is related to: Women Producers, Suzanne Collins, Nina Jacobson, The Hunger Games