‘The Hunger Games’ star search: ‘There are no front-runners yet’

Dec. 20, 2010 | 3:30 p.m.

EXCLUSIVE

hunger games fire The Hunger Games star search: There are no front runners yetYoung actresses — and their agents — are notching their arrows. Their target is the coveted role of Katniss Everdeen, the hunter-heroine in Lionsgate’s upcoming adaptation of  “The Hunger Games,”  and casting begins next month.

“We’ll start auditioning fairly early in the new year,” says “Hunger Games” producer Nina Jacobson. “There are no front-runners yet.”

“The Hunger Games,” the bestselling series of young adult novels by Suzanne Collins,  are set in a ragged, fictional future in a nation called Panem,  which has sprung up in a North America that saw today’s countries crumble amid war. The government forces children to fight one another to the death on television.  Sixteen-year-old Katniss, a capable archer who helps feed her family through illicit hunting, enters herself in the games to spare her younger sister from being put in the competition.

“We have so many great young actors right now whose representatives are interested, or who are interested themselves,” Jacobson said. “It really comes down to finding that person who can capture the physicality, the vulnerability and the toughness. She’s a paradoxical character and you need somebody who has the range to capture all of those dimensions.”

Any actress who plays Katniss has more responsibility than inhabiting a scrappy action heroine — she’s also the moral compass in a startling dystopian fantasy that has captured the imagination of mostly young readers around the world.

“The book takes on the collision of violence and entertainment and comments on it in a very compelling way,” Jacobson said.”That awareness is most embodied by Katniss’ point of view. In the book, you’re always in her head. She’s much more of a soldier drafted to duty than she is a character who has a great hunger for violence. She’s forced into it and so are the other kids in the games. She has fierce survival skills that are so effective that she almost feels guilty that her first instinct is to survive or to protect her sister rather than a sort of socially minded impulse. She has so much inner strength, but she’s a reluctant heroine.”

That reluctant heroine will have to reveal herself to the filmmakers fairly quickly once auditions begin — “The Hunger Games,” which will be directed by Gary Ross, is set to begin production in late spring.

–Rebecca Keegan (twitter.com/@thatrebecca)

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Comments


57 Responses to ‘The Hunger Games’ star search: ‘There are no front-runners yet’

  1. konaluvur97 says:

    For Katniss I think you should find a UNKNOWN actress to play the part. Katniss, is nothing like the celebrities with a reputation or tabloid drama. Find an actress who can start new with the part of Katniss. I would hate to see such a amazing character such as Katniss go to waste by bieng played by some older, famous, girl who had to get a spray tan and dye her hair to look like Katniss. Katniss is her own unique, strong, and independent 16 year old, find a unknown actress very close to 16, that looks and can act with great strength.

    • katie says:

      yes!!! me!! me!! me!! i love katnip and the hunger games i have grey eyes im in my school choir and im in drama club but i didnt try out but 4 my speech team i got 3 first place medles!!!!

  2. Danny says:

    Pitting young school girls against each other. Hardly original, it sounds a lot like Battle Royale.

  3. Djg says:

    As long as it's not Kristen Stewart

  4. Jess says:



    I think that this girl found two really good people for Katniss and Prim…
    I AM SO EXCITED FOR THE MOVIE!
    Thank you for this amazing article!!

  5. LovelyBonesRocks says:

    Could someone please inform me if they find any information as to when and where the auditions take place.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Chloe Moretz would be great.

  7. Sharlie says:

    so where will the auditions take place?

  8. Hannah says:

    i dont think they should pick people who are famous and so what if its a brand new actress and not so experienced if they have what it takes they need open casting calls for new fresh actresses who are not older than how she should be otherwise they mite as well mess up a great book. Take someone NOT FAMOUS. Please not some actress who is well known and looks nothing like her

  9. Frank says:

    How about a midget with a cute wig?

  10. donna says:

    Just watch skins UK on 4od. Kaya is an AMAZING actress. she is relatively UNKNOWN and can pull off badass. many youtube videos have her and alex pettyfer as the default face. just lookfor yourself. my choice. ANY OTHER PERSON WOULD BE FINE. BUT PLS NOT KRISTEN STEWART/ TWILIGHT CAST pls hell no

  11. Suua P. says:

    It really doesn't matter so much on the physical appearance of the actress, the main thing you should be concerned with is how well they act and perform because that's what went wrong with Twilight. It wasn't just because Kristen was already known, it was also because she's a terrible actress and still is. So remember physical appearances don't really matter much, but acting performance does. So, Gary Ross, I hope you get a really good actress with an excellent performance ability.

  12. Randy says:

    For the love of God can we stop making movies out of good books…..they ALWAYS suck.

  13. Lucy says:

    It dosen't really matter what nationality she is as long as she can nail the accent and please please not Chloe Montez

  14. Veronica says:

    I Think open auditions are a great idea, that is if they will take the time to do them.
    We need someone who is a normal girl, has acting ability and will take this role head on.
    all that = UNKNOWN!

  15. Affy-Ann says:

    If I were 17 and I guess a little shorter, I'd love to audition for the role of Katniss Everdeen! Whoever gets it is a lucky girl! XD ♥ The Hunger Games

  16. Anna says:

    Send Audition slips all over the world!!!!

    • Suua P. says:

      Katniss is a naturally born american. Now suppose they get an Asian Girl or an African girl to star as Katniss. That would really mess up the movie.

  17. KENDALL says:

    I totally agree. The actors in this movie need to be unknown but still talented. I think open auditions would be the perfect way to find that!

    • amanda says:

      EXACTLY!!!! finally somebody agrees! but i think she should be younger than 16. just how i pictured them. if you look at the picture of Katniss up there that's on the official website, she looks 13. i have a feeling they're going to pick an unknown, young-like-13 year old, talented,actress to play her. i freakin hope. :D

  18. Suua P. says:

    If it's going to be an unknown actress to star as Katniss, then she should be around 15-17, naturally born american with a good acting performance.

  19. Suua P. says:

    My top choices for the Katniss actress are Saoirse Ronan, Hailee Steinfield and Chloe Moretz.

  20. J_C says:

    Chloe Moretz would pose problems not just because she's younger than Katniss, but because it significantly reduces the number of actors who could play Peeta.

    Suppose Chloe got the part, she would be 14 by the time they start shooting. (So would Hailee Steinfeld.) Fan favorites for Peeta include Alex Pettyfer, who would be 21 by then, and Hunter Parrish who would be 23 or 24. Do you seriously think the producers would have a 21 to 24-year-old actor make out with 14-year-old Chloe Moretz and then climb into a sleeping bag with her? If we've learned anything from watching Chris Hansen on Dateline NBC, it's that people go to jail for that kind of behavior.

    I vote for Malese Jow for Katniss.

    • Suua P. says:

      Malese is too old to star as a 16 yr-old girl. Why the heck do you want adult actors for these roles when they should be in their teens?

    • Haley says:

      I agreed with you all the way until the last sentence. I’d rather have an unknown who’s the right age, look, and can act the part.

  21. ANJ says:

    I think Malese Jow or Jodelle Ferland would fit as Katniss

  22. mandefilmcritic says:

    Haley Farris,(IMDB) newcomer is perfect for the role. She has the grey/green eyes, toughness, and character depth and maturity to handle this role.

  23. Lisa Henahan says:

    Hailee Steinfeld is absolutely PERFECT for this role!! She is the new, young actress in True Grit that is out right now. She's perfect physically, and she's beautiful without even realizing it, which is Katniss to a T! Also, she's relatively unknown, which is also something that is called for in this role. I hope that she gets it!! I can't wait for the movie to be out!

    • Haley says:

      Katniss isn’t pretty though. Even peeta said that in mockingjay. It’s not that she doesn’t know it, it’s that she’s not.

  24. Hailey says:

    All I have to ask is: What about those of us who don't have easy ways of find representation? I'm a young girl from the suburbs whose been in school theater for 6 years and I am in love with this series and Katniss herself. I fit the profile well and I'm an unknown. I would have tried harder to get into the business sooner except I made a personal choice to live a normal life first. I would love nothing more than to just AUDITION for the role, as long as I'm given a chance. That's all I'm asking for. Unfortunately, the resources aren't as readily available to me and you never know who to trust these days. I know there are plenty of other girls like me. So, I ask again, what about us? Is there any possible chance for us to at least AUDITION for the part?

    • Kathryn says:

      I second that! I'm in the same boat. I've had theater training for years, and would die for even just the chance to read for the role.

    • Rae-Lyne says:

      Totally! i also have been in my schools theater (Community Action) i would love to get a shot at an audition for Katniss even if i didn't get it i would be so happy :]
      :P i also have grey eyes XD

      • give us a chance says:

        I 2nd that!! i totlally agree.i would rather do modleing because im sort of camera shy, but give me (and others) a chance and you wont be disappionted!!

    • MockingJay says:

      Yeah, i think they should go to like some schools or cities and hold auditions there so unsigned actors can audition and at least get a shot for the role. Because honestly more of the hollywood actors would just kill the movie to the point that it turns into a twilight failure.

  25. Maren says:

    Personally I feel like Collins wrote about me & just put it in a book. I hope they actually let us audition for it because there is so much undiscovered talent & you can't just settle your choices on WHO they KNOW can act. Because Katniss came from the world of the unknown and lit up the world so should the actress who plays her. I think the best we(undiscovered females who want to play Katniss) can do is try to get an agent of somesort & see what information comes out.

  26. Julia says:

    Danielle Chuchran should be Katniss

  27. amanda says:

    I think they should pick a totally unknown actress for Katniss! and i also think Peeta should be unknown, too! Gale, i'm not sure. but i do think Reese Witherspoon could NAIL Effie. And Robert Downey Jr. could also NAIL Haymitch! Abigal Bresnin MAYBE (yeah, i spelled her name wrong, big fudgin whoop) as Prim. not sure about Katniss and Prim's mother. And the other tributes, not sure, most likely some are gonna be unknown. i would jump for the part of Katniss in a heartbeat (since i fit the profile of her, no i'm not bragging or trying to get the part, though), but i'm not 16. i think (and not because i want to play Katniss) they should pick young-than-16 actresses (unknown of course). i always pictured them young.i pictured them 13. and look in the illustrated picture up there, she doesn't look 16, does she? and that's a picture from the official website. same with Peeta's picture on the official website. i have some sort of feeling they're going to pick younger people like 13 to play 16 year olds. but i do think if they do pick 13 year olds to play the part, they should at least look older than 13. sorry for the long post. :P

  28. Rebecca says:

    ^^^^^^^I'm with Hailey. ^^^^^^^

    Honestly, my family doesn't have the money to get an agent, but some of us do have the talent. i have twin sisters, age 14 (15 in may) who both want the role of Katniss. Also, I am 11 (almost 12- coming March) and i want the role for either Rue or (prefferibly) Prim. So please, don't forget us…

    Also, we don't have money to travel to Califonia, but if there was an audition tour, just 25 stops! (one for every 2 states) that would be perfect. I live in florida and can't go to CA. So Please, at least give us a chance to AUDITION.

  29. Sydney says:

    How do you even get a chance if your not famous ?! all i see is judge mental they never even tell you when or when auditions are because if you have low experience your all of a sudden not important or not pretty enough or FAMOUS enough and its evil but thats why its exciting form me yeah there mean but thats what makes you strong so im up for the challenges the tears and the rush of a chance to be something more than the girl who gets pick on i love acting it is just unexplainable to me. So they shouldnt pick a girl who is known that is famous they should pick a heart set young lady up for the chance.

  30. thefbm says:

    I just want someone who can act and possibly a fresh face. I have great hope for Gary, seems to care a lot for these films and he's going to pick the best possible Katniss for the fans. I'm actually excited about these films where usually I'll do a *headdesk* if I hear a book made into a movie deal.

  31. Abelord says:

    So does anyone have any idea about where to send our stuff or where the auditions will take place?

  32. ZR1000 says:

    Malese Jow will be cast as Katniss. It's just a matter of when they'll announce it.

  33. Symone says:

    I would love to play Katniss Everdeen, because her apperance is exactly how I almost look. I have tan skin that you could call olive tone, my eyes are dark but i would be happy to wear colored contacts for this movie role, I am right now 15 years old. A year younger but you really cares that is only one year. I have read the Hunger Games. My singing voice is okay but I would be willing to go to voice lessons for this part if you would please give me this part.

  34. Haley says:

    If they’re going to make movies out of these books, then they should take the time to find the perfect cast. If they rush it a lot of people will be disappointed.

  35. shaylinn says:

    i cant wait to see this since the trailor i need to see it!.

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