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In Support of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss

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I am a huge fan of the Hunger Games trilogy. Many thanks to my friend Emily who recommended the books to me last year. I devoured the three books in a matter of days. Since then, casting the first movie has been a constant discussion stream in the pop culture world. EW has held contests and done at least two articles in the magazine that I can remember. It is a constant theme on twitter and entertainment blogs everywhere.

Today, it was announced that Jennifer Lawrence was cast as Katniss. I cheered. Much of the Hunger Games fans screamed in anger. Huh? Vulture ran a good story asking if Hunger Games fans are crazy and I have to concur with that question. Good grief, how often do you get an Oscar nominated actress as the lead for your favorite book adaptation?????

Figured it was time to add a couple of my own thoughts to the matter:

There are two qualities the cast needs, youth and talent. The cast must look young because the horror of the book is children killing each other, not young adults killing each other. Also, the cast needs to be able to act. This trilogy is angst, horror, starvation, terror, injury, love, cruelty ........you get the idea. No pretty faces only need apply.

Full disclosure, since reading and loving Hunger Games, I was a proponent of Saoirse Ronan for Katniss. Ronan is the right age, possesses a certain part feral child look and was Oscar nominated for Atonement. But, then, I saw the trailer for her upcoming film Hanna. In that trailer she plays a child trained as an assassin and even shoots a bow and arrow. As soon as I saw the trailer, I knew playing Katniss would be a variation on the Hanna theme so I figured the Hunger Games producers would eliminate her from the list.

After Ronan, my next pick was Jennifer Lawrence. When I saw Winter's Bone, I was astonished by Ree, simultaneously durable, tough, determined and loving. Lawrence earned that Oscar nomination and, in many ways, her performance as Ree displayed far more range and creativity (although not the ballet training) than Natalie Portman's Oscar winning turn in The Black Swan.

Yes, Jennifer Lawrence is 20 years old. She is too old for Katniss' 16 years. But, she looked very young in Winter's Bone. Forget the high fashion look from her red carpet pictures. She can be made to look young. The blonde hair? I'm guessing she really isn't a blonde anyway so dip her in brown hair dye. Not skinny enough? She looks pretty darn skinny to me. And she has body tone which Katniss would have from all her treks to trap and kill food.

Anyone who is screaming over Jennifer Lawrence – please take two hours and watch Winter's Bone and then scream if you don't think Ree doesn't have many of the same qualities as Katniss. Ree skins a squirrel, Ree has a scene in a rowboat that is absolutely horrifying to watch, Ree takes a terrible physical beating and Ree takes care of her younger siblings. Do those traits sound familiar to any other young heroine? If you have seen Winter's Bone, and still don't like the casting, please leave a comment and explain why. I'm honestly curious.

Yes, I adore Hailee Steinfeld and I agree wholeheartedly that she has the Katniss look as described in the book. But there are legitimate problems to casting a 14 year old as a 16 year old.

-How do you find a Peeta and a Gale? Steinfeld has the physical maturity to play the part but name a 16 year old boy to play opposite her. If you cast a 20 year old opposite her, creepy.
-Filming rules using minors are very restrictive and would add time and money to the budget.
-She will develop tremendously over the next few years. The trilogy only spans a couple of years and Steinfeld will look much different by the time filming of Mockingjay is complete.
-How young would Prim need to be against a 14 year old? Or Rue? Probably 10. Name a 10 year old that you'd like to see in the part.

Other names tossed around – why even bother? I just listed THREE Oscar nominated young actors. If I'm the producer, I'm focusing on those ladies. Why would you even consider anyone else when there are three proven talents? So, if you were a Fonseca, Scodelario, etc fan, sorry but get over it.

Of course, now it is on to casting Peeta, Gale, Prim, Rue.

Let the arguments continue.

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