It was announced today that the Oscar-nominated Winter’s Bone actress will play the main character in the film adaptation of the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.
Excellent timing too, because I had already been planning to pen my column today on the subject of the potential casts of two of my favorite YA series – the Hunger Games and the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.
You better believe that I have Thoughts on the Issue(s).
Every time I finish reading a YA book that I enjoy the first thing I do is head to IMDB to find out if and when I can expect a film version; the second place I go is Youtube to look up fan-made casting montage videos created by real live teenagers.
Youtube YA literature fan-made cast montage videos are an amazing thing. Sometimes they actually help give me an idea about who I would like to see cast in the film. Mostly, though, they are good for nothing other than pure entertainment.
Because teenagers, it turns out, are TERRIBLE at casting movies.
They typically fall into two traps – choosing an actor who is terrible for the part but shares the same coloring and basic physical description or choosing an actor who is so opposite of physical type as to be a completely ridiculous choice.
Looking back on my own teen years and the ideas I had for casting my favorite books, I am not one to judge these wacky teens. For at least two years, I would have cast Ben Affleck (circa Armageddon) as every single male lead in every single novel I read, regardless of the character’s age, physical description or personality.
(Thankfully I didn’t have access to Youtube in the late 90s)
But seriously – I love the excitement and speculation that goes along with casting a beloved book as a film, particularly when set to the angsty tunes of Evanescence.
Now – these days Hollywood is looking for the next T-word franchise, and it seems that after scouring YA fiction, they’ve settled on the Hunger Games and the Mortal Instruments as the most likely. These are both far superior series to the T-word (because, of course, virtually everything is far superior to the T-word) so this is thrilling for me.
I have mentioned my love of the Hunger Games plenty of times here in this column, and the characters are very important to me, so I really want them to get this thing right.
Casting Jennifer Lawrence is, in my opinion, a good start.
So many teenagers have pictures of Megan Fox in their Youtube montages, probably because of her dark hair/light eyes combo. This shows a failure to look past the simple description of physical characteristics into the heart of the character, so I was getting nervous when I heard Megan Fox’s name pop up in more official talk as well.
Katniss Everdeen is a survivor – she is tough and single-minded and independent and needs to be well-cast.
Jennifer Lawrence is an Oscar-nominated actress, which I think is promising. She’s already played Appalachian and played it well. I personally don’t think she is too old and I like her face.
This is, for now, enough for me.
Then there are the rumors about Peeta, one of Katniss’s two love interests.
Alex Pettyfer is the name I hear the most. It is not the only name; I’ve also heard Hunter Parrish from Weeds, but that’s quite a new rumor and Pettyfer has been bandied about for ages now.
The thing is: Alex Pettyfer CANNOT play Peeta.
I LOVE Peeta. Alex Pettyfer is all kinds of wrong for the part. I know, because I went to see Beastly in the movie theater (what can I say? I am a sucker for teen romance and the Olsen twins when they go solo) and he is way too…un-Peeta. Arrogant. Cocky. Soulless.
Maybe he is a fine actor and I am getting distracted by one lackluster performance, but I have stress about this. I will continue to have stress about this until they officially cast someone else.
The funny thing is, Alex Pettyfer has ALSO been rumored for the role of Jace from the Mortal Instruments series.
I only read these books about two weekends ago, and I read all three between Saturday morning and Monday night. They were seriously addictive: if books were drugs, these would be crack (is that the most addictive drug? I don’t do drugs, but I think it may be).
These novels actually resemble the T-word significantly more than the Hunger Games does – lots of romance between two demon-hunters and there are also werewolves and vampires and stuff like that.
The main character Clary is pretty enjoyable. On an ass-kicking scale from Bella Swann (not ass-kicking) to Katniss Everdeen (the most ass-kicking) she lands closer to Katniss than to Bella and that is important to me. But while she has plenty of sass, she remains quite a bit more “every girl” than Katniss, and I like that too.
It is already official that Phil Collins’s daughter Lily Collins will play Clary; girl has got some eyebrows on her, but I happen to love a strong brow on a woman and for that reason alone I am ALL FOR this casting.
But back to Alex Pettyfer.
I have decided that he is allowed to play Jace in the Mortal Instruments. He is handsome and sort of charming and Jace has a cockiness to him that Alex Pettyfer could certainly embody. While he probably would not be my first choice for any role that requires acting, it would not RUIN the movie if he plays this role.
Which is what it would do to the Hunger Games if he plays Peeta.
So hear me, Hollywood?
Don’t you listen to the hundreds of fan-made Youtube videos crying out for Pettyfer as Peeta – those are made by teenagers who listen to Evanescence and they do NOT know what is what.
P.S. For those of you who suffered through this long-winded post, here is a sample of what I am talking about when I reference these YA literature fan-made casting montage Youtube videos set to Evanescence songs. So brilliant: