While studios everywhere stumble over themselves to land the next blockbuster adaptation of a young adult novel series, Lionsgate has already hit the ground running with The Hunger Games. After the first novel in the series was adapted to critical and commercial success - managing to avoid most of the criticism hailed against the previous YA novel champ, Twilight - the studio is investing in talent longterm.
Already starring Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence, and casting even more acclaimed talent for the upcoming sequel Catching Fire, we can add Julianne Moore to the list after it was announced today that the actress had signed on to play President Alma Coin in both parts of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.
Moore had previously been rumored for the role of Coin, but today the casting was made official, ensuring that if the series' two-part-finale underwhelms, the talent assembled in front of the camera won't be to blame. Moore's addition means that she'll be reunited with her Game Change co-star Woody Harrelson, as well as screenwriter Danny Strong, who wrote the campaign drama and is signed on to pen both Mockingjay screenplays.
Working with both Harrelson and Strong while portraying vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, an assertive, confident and at times controversial political figure will do Moore well in the role of President Alma Coin, but we'll avoid spoilers. Suffice to say that in the wake of Katniss Everdeen's victory, the Panem Capitol is quick to strike back, in an effort to quell any rebel movements or leadership - and that's where Coin comes in.
There's no question that Moore will be up to the task, and for a number of spoiler-laden reasons, her being cast is sure to promise some interesting discussions. With a majority of the major characters now cast, it's becoming clear just what kind of performances could be produced under proper direction.
If there's one criticism we've constantly pointed at The Twilight Saga, it was the borderline-insulting decision by the studio to never put an impressive amount of their obscene profits back into the films themselves. Although The Hunger Games is only a single movie into its series, no such criticisms can be leveled. With the likes of Lawrence (and her $10 million payday for Catching Fire), new addition Philip Seymour Hoffman, up-and-coming actress Natalie Dormer, and now Julianne Moore, what was once viewed as a 'young adult series' is quickly becoming a showcase for some of the industry's most proven thespians.
What do you think of the casting? Do you think it's an inspired choice, or had you pictured another actress as tailor-made for the role? More importantly, are you happy to see a good story gathering up solid talent, regardless of what audience the novels initially targeted? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens in regular and IMAX theaters on November 22, 2013.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 releases on November 21, 2014, while Part 2 opens November 20, 2015.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
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