Apparently a storm is a-brewing among fans of the Hunger Games trilogy: an actress whose name means nothing to me has been cast to play Katniss Everdeen, and apparently she is all wrong for the part according to a vocal section of the audience. Now before I get too far into this, I must confess that I’ve only read book one so far, so pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease, I beg you, don’t spoil the rest of the trilogy in the comments. It’s miraculous that I don’t already know what happens, and I know I’m years behind on this one, but still, please indulge me. Thanks!
This is really just an excuse for me to talk about characters again. Not long ago, I mentioned character names and how they affect my reading, but film adaptations can have an even more significant impact. I almost always read books before seeing movies—if I know I want to see the movie, I’ll usually read the book even if for some reason the book had never interested me—but I’ve found that the actor will often erase my pre-existing impression of the character, for better or worse. I love Scott Spencer’s Waking the Dead, both book and film, but I think I love Fielding Pierce more because I love Billy Crudup and his portrayal of him. Would I be quite so stubborn about Little Women if I wasn’t completely convinced that Christian Bale was a better catch than Gabriel Byrne? (OK, maybe not in real life since Byrne seems lovely and Bale a touch ragey. But young me found Byrne unforgivably old and Bale indisputably adorable.) And I’ve never really forgiven Kirsten Dunst, who I had previously loved, for playing Amy. On the flip side, my affection for the stars of The Outsiders because of their roles in that film is totally disproportionate to their subsequent careers. It doesn’t really matter what career heights Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, and C. Thomas Howell might’ve failed to reach later on, nor that they’re largely better known for other things—I just can’t hold anything against them.
I recall, initially, being opposed to Brad Pitt’s casting in Fight Club, but I have no quibble with it having seen the performance. Jimmy Fallon taking a role in Fever Pitch made it clear to me that I shouldn’t bother to see it—though, I did, on TV, at a desperate moment, which corroborated that impression—but he can’t be entirely to blame, since I’m pretty sure that movie was made simply upon the realization that the pun in the title would work for baseball as well as soccer. (Colin Firth in that role I can’t object to, because one simply cannot object to Colin Firth.) And while I’m not all that passionate about The Scarlet Letter as a novel, I’m pretty confident that Demi Moore ought not to be Hester Prynne.
Since I was having trouble coming up with any casting choices that really raised my hackles as Lawrence does other Hunger Games fans, I polled some of the folks here. Jim was not at all pleased with the casting of Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island—a choice so horrible that it made him subconsciously replace the “u” in shutter with an “i” when he IM’d me his choice. Rachel’s not entirely down with the Harry Potter crew, though while she was particularly annoyed about Daniel Radcliffe, he has grown on her: “He looks Harry-er than he used to.” John takes issue with Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code, “if only because of the haircut.”
What do you think? Hunger Games fans think they should have gone another way? Who would you rather have? Or are you pro-Lawrence? And who really just ruined a movie for you—or conversely, caught you pleasantly by surprise? Has anyone ever cast exactly who you would’ve chosen? And finally, and maybe most intriguingly, if you’re an author, have you already picked out the actor or actress you’d like to play your protagonist?