Remember back in mid-March when the first casting news for The Hunger Games hit? Two and a half months later and it’s safe to say that even the most avid fans of Suzanne Collins’ original best-selling novel have tired of the trick-trickling of casting updates for Gary Ross’ film adaptation.
Today marks at last the final, but nonetheless still important, bit of big Hunger Games casting news – namely, that multiple award-winner Donald Sutherland has been cast as the ruthless President Coriolanus Snow, the main antagonist of Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy.
In The Hunger Games, President Snow is the leader of Panem (post-apocalyptic North America) and head of the Capitol, which holds the titular competition as a means of demonstrating its power over everyday citizens. Snow is described as an elderly man with a snake-like appearance (though not in the literal sense, a la Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter). Due to permanent sores in his mouth – the results of a devious plot he pulled off against his former allies, involving poison – Snow always has the scent of blood on his breath.
Sutherland is not only one of the great character actors of our time, he’s also not allowed his age (76, in July) to slow him down, having already shown up on the big screen twice this year alone (in The Mechanic and The Eagle). Needless to say, he should make for an excellent nemesis opposite Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games – and, most likely, future adaptations of the other two novels in Collins’ original trilogy, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.
Ross has recruited some top-notch talent to star in his Hunger Games movie, including Sutherland as President Snow, Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy, and Toby Jones as Claudius Templesmith. That’s not to mention Oscar-nominee Lawrence as the screen incarnation of the warrior gal Katniss and Josh Hutcherson as her (sort of) love interest/buddy in battle, Peeta Mellark.
Recently, word got out that the current draft of the Hunger Games screenplay was not penned by Billy Ray (State of Play) – instead, Gary Ross and Suzanne Collins apparently teamed up to work out their own script based on the latter’s source material. That should at least be welcome news for Hunger Games purists who are hoping for a loyal screen adaptation of the original book; this is also further proof that Collins is actively involved in the creative process of turning her literature into film.
Production is currently underway on The Hunger Games in North Carolina. The film is slated for theatrical release on March 23rd, 2012.