Jennifer Lawrence has nabbed the lead role in “The Hunger Games” trilogy. In what was the worst-kept secret in Hollywood, Lionsgate studio has finally confirmed that the 20-year old Lawrence, who received an Oscar nomination for her role in “Winter’s Bone,” will play Katniss Everdeen in the adaptation of the uber-popular book series from Suzanne Collins.
Based on a script by Billy Ray (“State of Play”), “The Hunger Games” will begin production in April for a release next March. The film follows Katniss as she volunteers for the annual teen fight-to-the death contest called the Hunger Games after her younger sister is drafted for the craven competition. The film will track her role in the games as well as the burgeoning love triangle between her childhood friend Gale and her fellow competitor Peeta. Casting on those two roles should happen right quick.
Lionsgate and the filmmakers on the movie made a clear decision to age-up the 16-year old Everdeen. While 14-year old Hailee Steinfeld was in the running for the part, it’s interesting that they chose to go with the older actress. I’m sure it was a matter of talent, as well as logistics. By going with Lawrence the studio will have no compliance issues with child labor laws, a factor that could make production more expensive since the character of Everdeen is in practically every scene of the film. There are also, in the book, moments of nudity that, even tamed down for the screen, might be palatable for the studio with a young woman as opposed to a teenage girl.
Collins seems fine with the older Katniss. In a statement she said: “Jennifer’s just an incredible actress. So powerful, vulnerable, beautiful, unforgiving and brave. I never thought we’d find somebody this perfect for the role. And I can’t wait for everyone to see her play it.”
Lawrence’s contract involves options for the next two films in the prospective trilogy, a property that has come to rival “Twilight” in its popularity but has broader appeal, with young men liking the gritty, dystopian trilogy almost as much as women.
– Nicole Sperling
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