Last week, Academy Award nominee Jennifer Lawrence won the coveted role of Katniss Everdeen in the big screen adaptation of the teen sci-fi series The Hunger Games. While you would think fans of the series would be happy that an Oscar-nominated actress won the part, many commenters here on Screen Rant and across the web were less than enthusiastic about the news.
One issue that fans kept bringing up was Lawrence’s look (particularly her blonde hair), with many arguing that fellow Oscar nominee Hailee Stienfeld (True Grit) was a better fit for Katniss. Fans also complained that Lawrence, who is 20, was too old to play Katniss, who is 16 in the first book.
Hunger Games director Gary Ross addressed each of those concerns in an interview with Entertainment Weekly last week, describing how he was “knocked out” by Lawrence’s audition. Ross also said that Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games series, was at every audition and also was impressed by Lawrence.
For the most part, Ross’ comments satisfied the fans. But for those who are still fighting tooth and nail against Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, there’s still one thing that might change your mind: In a new letter to Entertainment Weekly, Suzanne Collins has gone on record to explain exactly why she thinks Lawrence is great for the role.
Describing Lawrence’s “remarkable audition piece, Collins praised the young actress, effusively writing:
“I watched Jennifer embody every essential quality necessary to play Katniss. I saw a girl who has the potential rage to send an arrow into the Gamemakers and the protectiveness to make Rue her ally. Who has conquered both Peeta and Gale’s hearts even though she’s done her best to wall herself off emotionally from anything that would lead to romance. Most of all, I believed that this was a girl who could hold out that handful of berries and incite the beaten down districts of Panem to rebel. I think that was the essential question for me. Could she believably inspire a rebellion? Did she project the strength, defiance and intellect you would need to follow her into certain war? For me, she did.”
If that’s not a vote of confidence than I don’t know what is. In the full letter, Suzanne Collins heaps even more praise on Jennifer Lawrence (so much so, in fact, that I actually feel a little badly for the other girls who auditioned).
While there might still be those who complain that Lawrence isn’t right for the role, I think that all things considered, fans should be pretty happy with this casting. Considering the glut of teen sci-fi and fantasy films hitting theaters, it’s a pretty big win to get an actor of Lawrence’s talents to commit to your franchise.
Frankly, the fact that Lawrence won the part over another Oscar-caliber actress is the best indication for the movie yet. Clearly, this was a hot project in Hollywood, and it seems like Gary Ross and his team have the best and brightest at their disposable to make a really special film. If I was a Hunger Games fan, I would just sit back and wait for the magic to happen. Once a trailer comes out, feel free to start complaining again.