Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Finally - My Cast Picks for The Hunger Games movie

Oy vey.  This was hard.  And it took waaaay too long.  And be forewarned:  this is a long blog post.  But let me just start at the beginning.

Back in October I found out that Entertainment Weekly was having a poll online where you could vote for the cast of The Hunger Games movie.  They only gave about five options for several characters, and then they posted their picks, along with the majority votes in the poll.  Click here for their picks.  

Now, I had been seeing a lot of ideas floating around online about who should play who, and let me tell you, I was not impressed (Katy Perry as Effie, really?).  But when I saw EW's picks I just knew I had to make my own list.  

So here was my process.  I decided that I would cast the same characters that EW did.  These included the main characters, of course, but also included a few other, smaller characters.  But how was I to find these actors and actresses that would be perfect for these roles?  I read all of the comments on EW's poll, and looked up those commenter's suggestions on IMDb.  Some of them were okay suggestions, a few were great suggestions, but most of them, sadly, were not right for the part.  Mostly they were too old.  But therein lies the problem.  These characters, for the majority of The Hunger Games, are between the ages of 12 and 18.  Yes, there are a few older characters, but all of the tributes are between those ages.  And how many actors are between those ages?  Millions, but not many we've heard of.  But I am all for fresh, new faces.  So when I didn't find the suggestions to be spot on, I Googled.  I Wikipediaed (I know this isn't the most reliable source, but you can enter in a year, say, 1994, and it will give you a list of people who were born that year, which helped a lot).  I IMDbed.  Yes, these are probably spelled wrong.  But if Googled is a word, why shouldn't IMDbed be one?  It's a verb, right?  Right.  I also found handy pages on IMDb like "Most Popular People Born in 1994."  Those were a tremendous help.

Then, once I found all those lists, I had to have some type of criteria.  Here are the main things I looked for:

  1. Looks.  Not the attractiveness of the actor or actress, but whether they looked the part.  Yes, hair can be dyed, contacts can change eye color, but I needed my cast to look like the characters.
  2. Age.  This was a big one.  Like I said before, many people (EW included) were suggesting actors that were just too old for the parts.  I tried to keep the actors around the age of their respective characters, give or take a couple of years.  Some people, of course, I wasn't sure of the age, so I just guessed.
  3. Acting ability.  This one wasn't quite as high on my list.  It was hard, because there just aren't that many well-known teens out there (at least that I know of) and therefore many of my picks are little-known actors who really look the part and are the right age.  I thought of maybe trying to find some of their movies and watch them to make sure they could actually act, but then I wouldn't have had this list up for another couple of months.  Of course I want the actors in this movie to be wonderful, but I simply don't know about some of their acting abilities.
And that's about it.  But this was very, very difficult.  I do not envy a casting director's job.

So let's get to it.  First of all, I am going to list the characters and EW's picks, and then my picks.  There will be pictures of my picks, but not of EW's picks, because that would be just too many pictures.  Once again, if you want to see EW's picks, go here.  All of these photos are copyrighted by their respective owners.

The Hunger Games Movie, as Casted by Andrea

Katniss  (EW's pick:  Lyndsy Fonseca; EW's poll winner:  Kaya Scodelario)

My pick:  Hayley Erin

She just looks the part.  She was born in 1994, so she's 16 now.  She has been on television shows such as The Young and The Restless and Big Love.

Once again, I have no idea if she can act.  But I hope she can, because she just looks like Katniss to me.

And Lyndsy Fonseca, while a good actress, is just way too old.  She just turned 24.  Kaya Scodelario is closer in age to Katniss, but she just doesn't seem right to me.

I also think that Danielle Chuchran, who played Katniss in the fan-made YouTube video, Hunger Games:  Katniss & Rue, could also make a good Katniss.

Gale  (EW's pick:  Ben Barnes; EW's poll winner:  Gaspard Ulliel)

My picks:  Joshua Adams (left) or Jean-Luc Bilodeau (right)

Now, on this one I might be a bit biased, because Joshua Adams is my brother-in-law.  He's an aspiring actor living in L.A., and let me tell you, the boy can act.  He's about to turn 20, and Jean-Luc is 20, so they're a bit older than Gale, but I think they could both pull it off.  I saw Jean-Luc in a small part recently, and although I don't know much about him, he seemed to be a good actor.  I'm voting for Josh, though.  I can't help it!

Another note, Ben Barnes (EW's pick) is 29!  And Gaspard Ulliel is close behind at 26!  These guys are just too old.

Peeta  (EW's pick:  Josh Hutcherson;  EW's poll winner:  Hunter Parrish)

My pick:  Ryan Hanson Bradford (left) or Alexander Ludwig (right)

Ryan Hanson Bradford won me over in his portrayal of the "Boy in Black" on an episode of Lost.  I haven't seen him in anything else, but that small role showed me what a good actor he already is, and what a great actor he's sure to become.  He's 15 now, but I think he could seem 16, and with a little hair dye he could be perfect as Peeta.

I saw Alexander Ludwig on Race to Witch Mountain (Escape to Witch Mountain was one of my favorite movies as a kid), and although I favor Ryan Hanson Bradford a bit more in the role of Peeta, I think Alexander would also do a nice job.  I hadn't even thought of him for the part, but he was suggested on EW's site.

I think Josh Hutcherson may be able to pull off Peeta, but Hunter Parrish just looks all wrong to me, and he's a bit too old (23).

Haymitch  (EW's pick:  Robert Downey, Jr.;  EW's poll winner:  Hugh Laurie)

My Pick:  Philip Seymour Hoffman

Haymitch is an alcoholic, and is described as "a paunchy, middle-aged man."  I think Mr. Hoffman is a wonderful actor, and because of his role on Along Came Polly (where he was a former child-actor), I think he could play Haymitch wonderfully.  We find out in Catching Fire that Haymitch is in his late-thirties to early-forties (if you do the math, which of course I did), and Mr. Hoffman is 43.

While I think both Robert Downey, Jr. and Hugh Laurie are great actors, I just see Haymitch in Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Effie (EW's pick:  Elizabeth Banks;  EW's poll winner:  Kristin Chenoweth)

My pick:  Kristin Chenoweth

I wasn't quite sure about Miss Chenoweth at first, but she's really grown in my view as Effie.  I can now totally see her in a bright wig, playing the bubbly woman.

I'm not quite sure how old Effie is supposed to be, but I always imagined her around the same age as Haymitch, and Kristin Chenoweth is just a year younger than Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Prim  (EW's pick:  Elle Fanning)

My pick:  Elle Fanning

I totally had to agree with EW on this one.  Elle Fanning not only totally looks the part of Prim, but she is 12 years old, and she's proven to be quite the actress.  I can't really see anyone else in this role.

Rue  (EW's pick:  Willow Smith)

My pick:  China Anne McClain (left) or Haley Pullos (right)

Now, I've heard a lot of controversy over whether Rue is supposed to be African American or simply someone with tanned skin (perhaps Latin American?). So I've decided to include two different options.  Haley Pullos doesn't really have dark skin, but she's just so darn adorable.  They both are.  They're both also 12 years old, and Willow Smith is only 10.  Plus, every time I see Willow Smith I have that song in my head, and I really don't want to be thinking "I whip my hair back and forth" while watching The Hunger Games movie.  Seriously, even just typing her name makes that song start playing in my head.  I'm not familiar with either of these two young actresses, but they both already have several roles under their belts.

Cinna  (EW's pick:  Cillian Murphy)

My pick:  Neil Patrick Harris (left) or Hugh Dancy (right)

I have to say that I have always pictured a brunette Neil Patrick Harris as Cinna.  I think he would play the part beautifully.  However, as I was doing research I saw that a lot of people had pictured Hugh Dancy in the role.  He is also a great actor and I think he would also be good in the role.  But I'm pulling for NPH.  I also think Cillian Murphy is a good actor, but I can't really picture him as anything but creepy roles (The Scarecrow in Batman Begins is how I always see him).

Caesar Flickerman  (EW's pick:  Nicolas Cage)

My pick:  Conan O'Brien (left) or Fred Willard (right)

So Caesar Flickerman is the man who interviews all of the tributes before they actually go into the Games.  He has been hosting them for years, and still looks the same.  I really had no clue as to who should play this role, but when I saw that EW had picked Nicolas Cage, I groaned.  Or maybe cursed.  I'm not sure, but it wasn't a good reaction.  I'm not a fan.  But I read the comments, and both Conan O'Brien and Fred Willard were suggestions for the character, and they both seem brilliant to me.  I love Conan, but he does have a strange look to him, and he could pull off the role quite easily.  Fred Willard would also be great, because I can see him showing that side of the character that helps the interviewees out with their answers.

Katniss' Mother  (EW pick:  Robin Wright)

My pick:  Robin Wright (left) or Portia de Rossi (right)

I wasn't so sure about this one, but I think EW's pick, Robin Wright, definitely looks the part, and she is around the right age.

Portia de Rossi was suggested in one of the comments, and I had to agree that she would also be good in the part.

Both ladies are very talented actresses and I would be happy with either of them in the role.

Foxface  (EW's pick:  Danielle Panabaker)

My pick:  Emma Stone (left) or Haley Ramm (right)

I really like Emma Stone, and I have to say that she has the perfect look for Foxface.  However, she's a bit old for the part (22), so I picked another option.  Haley Ramm is 18, but I have no idea of her acting ability.  But in this photo, I think she could also be a contender for the role of Katniss.

Clove  (EW's pick:  Jurnee Smollett)

My pick:  ?

This is where I started to have some trouble.  I really have no idea who to cast for some of these characters.  The role of Clove is beyond me.

Thresh  (EW's pick:  Taylor Lautner)

My pick:  ?

Another one that I couldn't figure out.  A lot of people seem to think that Thresh should be African American.  I simply couldn't find someone who looked the part.  But please, no, not Taylor Lautner.

Cato  (EW's pick:  Stanislav Ianevski)

My pick:  Stanislav Ianevski

Stanislav, who played Viktor Krum in Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, at 25, is a bit old to play a tribute.  But I think EW is thinking in the right direction here - Cato is a Career tribute, and needs to have a big build like Stanislav.

Claudius Templesmith  (EW's pick:  Jeremy Irons)

My pick:  Jeremy Irons

I think Jeremy Irons is a wonderful pick for Claudius Templesmith, the voice the tributes hear during the Games. A lot of people suggested the more obvious James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman, but I think Mr. Irons would be perfect.

President Snow  (EW's pick:  Steve Martin)

My pick:  Guy Henry

Guy Henry recently played Pius Thicknesse in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, and will reprise the role in Part 2.  He also played a very creepy Mr. Collins in Lost in Austen.  Seriously, look this guy up.  I think he'd be perfect.

Also, seriously EW?  Steve Martin?  Yes, he's wonderful.  And yes, he already has the "paper-white hair."  But no, just, no.

Avox Girl  (EW's pick:  Deborah Ann Woll)

My pick:  Deborah Ann Woll

Deborah may be a bit old for this part (she's 25), but I'm not exactly sure how old the Avox girl is supposed to be.  But I love her in True Blood and think she could portray the mute character wonderfully with her expressions and body language.

Madge  (EW's pick:  Taylor Swift)

My pick:  Ellen Marlow

This is another actress that I'm not familiar with, but I think she looks perfect for Madge, the mayor's daughter, who gives Katniss the mockingjay pin.  She's also 16, so she's the right age.

So, there, finally you have it.  I apologize for the extra long post.

What do you guys think about my picks?  Am I on the right track or totally off my rocker?


  1. How sad is it that I have read the Hunger Games twice and I still can't keep all the characters straight!?! Reading through you post I had to keep asking myself who people were? Like Claudius Templesmith was who again? Man, Caesar Flickerman sure does sound familiar? Thresh? Okay now you are just making characters up!

    -I might need to re-read that one before the movie comes out!

    My thoughts,

    a. I love Kristen Chenoweth! She was awesome on the West Wing and I can totally see her as Effie! That chick can do anything!

    b. See I liked EW's pick of Robert Downey Jr for Haymitch. And ever since I saw Red Dragon, Phillip Seymour Hoffman has creeped me out and it doesn't matter how many times I watch Almost Famous, that feeling just wont go away! But in spite of my hesitation towards him he would make a good Haymitch.

    c. Okay, I love Neil Patrick Harris! I do! You know I do! But Cillian Murphy is exactly how I pictured Cinna! I mean EXACTLY! However, If they want to give Neil Patrick Harris the part I will not complain and I will be thrilled to see him in it.

    D. I like your pick of Haley Pullos that is how I saw Rue. And I liked your Madge better. but that brings me to my last point...


    NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    ps i responded to your comment on my one day blog, it is kind of funny.

  2. You are a GENIUS!

    I'm willing to go with your selections for Katniss, Gale (your-bro-in-law, I trust you), and Peeta (Ludwig).

    Though I always see Gale as a blonde and Peeta as a brunette? I dunno why. Was it like that in the book?

    Your selections for Haymitch and Effie are brilliant. Now the images of PSH and Chenoweth will be branded into my brain as those characters. PSH plays such a good drunken wastrel, yet he can pull off being intimidating enough to be seen as a former Humger Games champion.

    Fanning looks perfect for the role of Prim, I'd go with McClain for Rue, Dancy for Cinna, and Robin Wright (she does "psychologically injured and scarred" so well) as the mother.

    Fred Willard is another flash of brillance. I think he's fantastic and he already has down that Flickerman-staged-talk-show-hearty-slap-on the-back-we-all-know-what's-really-going-on-but let's-make-the-best-of-it-or-heads-will-roll bit. He was great as the oddball commentatory in "Best in Show".

    Steve Martin as Snow? OKaaaaay... uh, NO. Though I would have pictured someone more debonaire than Guy Henry, but I haven't seen him in anything other than Harry Potter.

    I'm with Bittner and her Anti-Swift movement. What were they thinking?

    You may have missed your calling, Andrea. You should be working in Hollywood.

  3. Wow! That was a lot of work, girl! I like all the people you picked. I think your BoL would be great at Gale. Effie...you nailed that one. I would go with China for Rue. I think Ludwig would make better Peeta. But really I think any of your picks would work. Impressive.

  4. i like it!! u know what's weird? ever since i saw that lost episode (reading hunger games at the time) i always pictured the kid who played jacob as playing the role of peeta, but now that u mention it, i do think ryan bradford has the better look (and personally i think he has more of the boy-next-door type going for him than alexander ludwig). the girl u put as katniss looks perfect for the role, and also prim. have u seen the list recently? i cant believe they chose josh hutcherson as peeta and liam hensworth as gale! it just does NOT look right to me. :/

  5. hi i'm Austin i love rue and Katniss me and my teacher want to go to the movies to watch but i don't have any money and i want to go sooo can you get me some free tickits