Just wondering how you guys feel about casting for Catching Fire. Like, what race do you expect the new actors to be? For example, it’s never explicitly stated how Johanna Mason looks in terms of skin color, so they could cast anyone.
The world of The Hunger Games is set in Panem, a dystopian version of the future United States of America. In that sense, it’s science fiction. One of the things that made the 1960s show Star Trek (happy view of the future USA) progressive and well, make sense, is this idea that in the future, not all of the heroes are white.
Which is something we’ve always said The Hunger Games could benefit from. On our website, to the president of Lionsgate, to the production, etc. Casting actors of color might attract more people of color to theaters. (Unfortunately, according to the MPAA, people of color already go to movies more often than white people so there is no incentive for studios to change what they are doing if predominantly white casts still attract viewers of color.)
It might also give the Games some lasting power. I really believe that a generation from now we’re going to look back and wonder why all heroes in our movies looked like Liam Hemmsworth, kind of like how films a generation or two ago with shallow and archaic depictions of women are less likely to have lasting power today.
The first Hunger Games movie has four central lead characters (lead, you know, as in plays a significant role in story and survives to the next movie). One was Katniss, one of these characters was explicitly white, the other two of these lead characters were said to look like Katniss in the book. Once Katniss was locked in with a white actress—if they wanted to stick to salient plot points in book 2—essentially all four of these lead roles became roles for white actors.
What we’ve said to theThe Hunger Games production and hope is what happened with characters like Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) and the other tributes is that if the character was not explicitly described as any specific ethnicity in the book, they should consider opening the casting call to all ethnicities and base it on age and gender or other factors that are described in the book. So yeah, we’d hope that Johanna Mason would be an open casting call, and that they would explicitly write “submit all ethnicities” (because when you leave the ethnicity off of a casting call it almost guarantees the role will go to a white actor.)
That being said, here are some more thoughts about “race” and The Hunger Games. (Book spoilers under the cut)... Read more