Jennifer Lawrence Close to Landing the Lead Role in ‘Hunger Games’ [Updated]

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 13th, 2013 at 11:25 pm,

[UPDATE: Lawrence has officially signed on to play Katniss.]

Earlier this month, rumors surfaced that Oscar-nominated actress Jennifer Lawrence was another contender for the role of Katniss Everdeen in the upcoming adaptation of The Hunger Games. This put her in contention with other up-and-coming young performers like Chloe Moretz and fellow Academy Award nominee Hailee Steinfeld.

After impressing audiences with her performance in True Grit, Steinfeld seemed to emerge as the fan-favorite of the group. Those familiar with Suzanne Collins’ original three-part book series noted that Lawrence was probably a little too old for the role. However, others argued that the acting chops she displayed in Winter’s Bone negated something as seemingly superficial as Lawrence’s age.

It looks like Hollywood agrees – according to Variety, one of their sources can confirm that Lawrence is about to receive an offer for the role of Katniss in The Hunger Games. It isn’t entirely official yet, but the implication is that there’s no reason this deal shouldn’t go through.

This would be another high-profile project for Lawrence, whose star continues to rise thanks to her participation in projects like the greatly anticipated X-Men: First Class. Although it doesn’t sound like she’ll have much time to prepare since The Hunger Games is expected to begin shooting in just a few weeks so that it can make its March 2012 release date.

For those who aren’t familiar, The Hunger Games takes place in a dystopian future (is there really any other kind at this point?) where every year one girl and one boy from each of the 12 districts of Panem (formerly the United States) are chosen by the government to fight to the death. The event is then broadcast to the country’s citizens. Collins’ has revealed that her inspiration for the story came from flipping between reality television and news reports on the war in  Iraq.

Despite its PG-13 rating, director Gary Ross insists that The Hunger Games will retain the brutal tone of the source material. This was viewed as a somewhat controversial decision, but Cross is adamant that the teenage audience the books were intended for should be allowed to “access it completely.”

Casting Lawrence in the role of Katniss is bound to inspire some strong and divisive opinions, but I personally think that she’ll have no problem believably portraying a sixteen-year-old. Of course, there are the two sequels to consider as well. The Hunger Games novel is followed by Catching Fire and Mockingjay – and Lionsgate is no doubt hoping to use those stories as the template for a franchise.

If the first film is successful, it will be interesting to see how much time elapses between installments – but again, it’s not like Lawrence is 29.  She reportedly gave an incredible audition and when we’re talking about a property as beloved as this one,  I think the actress who delivered the best take on the character trumps the one who’s closer in age.

I’m not trying to take any credit away from the extremely talented Hailee Steinfeld – I’m just urging fans of The Hunger Games to stay optimistic. Even if you’re not a supporter of Lawrence yet, I think she might surprise you.

UPDATE: According to The Wrap, Lawrence has now officially signed on to the film.

The Hunger Games is scheduled to hit theaters on March 23, 2012.

Source: Variety.

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  1. Her age seems fine to me;)

  2. Her age is fine now. But we are talking about three books, and if they plan on doing the whole series, she will be around 25 in the last movie when she should be playing a 16-year-old.

    I still think that Katniss should played by either Chloe Moretz or Alyson Stoner.

    • chloe i’m fine with.
      alyson stoner: no. she cant act, and she doesny have black hair and gray eyes.

  3. she is a great actress no one is denying that but just because your a great actress does’nt mean you are right for the role

    she looks nothing like katniss

    katniss is

    malnourished due to starvation
    very petite and small in stature
    sharp facial features
    olive skin

    • teness tooda la razon,, para mi sinceramente otra actriz me hubiera caiido mejor.. consideranndo que jennnifer va a tener q dejar de comer por unos cuantos dias.. teñirse el pelo… ponerse pupiletes para los ojos.. entre otrosss…

  4. They do need someone that has it all if they’re this close to shooting. They have no time to prepare therefore a seasoned consummate professional is mandatory. Whether an actress like Lawrence looks that pale staying out of the sun or has inherited a light skin tone is irrelevant. Some things can be bridged by makeup, costume, and effects but acting ability can’t. So if she has a lock then what’s more important is the story and how relatable the character is made by the actor. In other words given the chance she can get you to ignore the disparities. I suspect that enough have auditioned for this role that if she’s won the part handily then casting thinks the studio can sell it despite ‘The Look’…

  5. Too much people are complaining. She’s still very young, and she still looks very much like a teenager. She won the audition, it doesn’t matter what she looks like. If she can play the part, I’m with her all the way.

  6. Soirse Ronan anyone? She’s playing a kick-ass teen next month in Hanna and also has an Oscar nomination.

  7. She’s young enough. Better than casting an actress who gave a bad audition just because she’s the right age (C’mon, people, are you saying you think the Harry Potter actors were a good call from the get-go? When none of them could act? I may very well be alone in thinking so, but I’d have been happier with older actors who showed more talent—*gasp* even talented American ones with inauthentic British accents!). Guess acting ability means less than more superficial qualifications to some.

    As for her coloring, hair dye, contacts, and tan-in-a-can are not huge make-up FX. If it even matters? (not sure it does…)

  8. If they film all three at the same time I’m sure her age difference won’t matter at all. If not she will probably be around 25-26 by the time they film the 3rd movie which seems like a pretty significant difference.

  9. Needs to be Lyndsy Fonseca, no question. I pretty much agree with this whole casting article…

  10. I am not thrilled about this actually…. I don’t see her playing the role of Katniss, it just doesn’t fit. I was hoping for Hailee Steinfeld.

  11. I am so upset by this choice by Lionsgate. I know they don’t want to lose the adult audience but I don’t think they would if they chose Hailee. She proved herself to everyone in True Grit and it was adults who continue to talk about her. She is young enough to keep the young to want to come see the film. I am so tired to hear Hailee is too young…she is almost 15 by the time the film starts and will be the perfect age for the 2nd & 3rd film. I don’t think Jennifer can pull off that age for the next 4 years. Plus Jennifer is too tall and not skinny enough to play the role of Katniss. Katniss is suppose to be small for her age, skinny because she is starving, dark hair, olive skin and 16…should I go on. Huge mistake Lionsgate. NO on Jennifer…YES on Hailee.

    • I could not agree with you more. You have perfect points. I’m sure Lawrence could do well if she HAD to. I just feel that Hailee is ment for this role. Hailee was nominated for the same award as Lawrence so it’s not like they are not equals.

  12. Please please please NO!!! Jennifer is such the wrong choice. There are 3 books which will take 3-5 years to complete. She will be in her mid 20′s to play 16-17. This is a JOKE. I have been waiting for so long to see this film since the books originally came out and now I may re-think that idea on going to see it. Hailee Steinfeld is the perfect choice for the role of Katniss. Who cares if she is 1 year too young…she will be the perfect age when the other 2 films are made and besides she looks that age right now anyway and 100% looks like Katniss. I really hope this is only a rumor and Jennifer does not have the role yet. Great actress but so not Katniss.

  13. Well given what we’ve been able to find out it’s obvious that age and looks don’t count for as much as ability to become the character, and whatever else that goes on behind closed doors. That’s not supposed to sound sinister either it just might be a matter of compensation for the role or conflicting schedules.

    Everyone’s pointing out the extended time of production because they expect it to be a franchise, but that also means a protracted commitment from the actors as well! If the compensation package doesn’t factor right it’s easily possible to make more money by working for three separate productions than tie up your years in a single franchise.

  14. I think Jennifer will indeed surprise people. Everyone is so upset by her looks/age, but nobody is complaining about her ability to act. Yes, at the end of the day that really is what matters. Everything else, and I do mean everything else, can be fixed cosmetically.