- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 02 December 2015
- Written by ANNA BLAINE | STAFF WRITER
The last film in The Hunger Games trilogy, “Mockingjay: Part 2” just hit theaters on Nov. 16. Based off the bestselling book series by Suzanne Collins, Katniss Everdeen is the fierce heroine played by Jennifer Lawrence in the film adaptations. The movies have garnered a lot of attention and soared in popularity since the first movie was released in 2012.
Strong female heroines are the kind of characters that are in demand right now, but as someone who has read the book series, I was very surprised to see that there was no opposition to the casting of Lawrence. In the books, Katniss is described as a 16-year old girl who has straight black hair, gray eyes and olive skin. Sounds like Katniss has features in common with a Native American Indian, doesn’t it? Jennifer Lawrence is beautiful and a great actress, but does not fit this description. Even though she died her hair a darker color, I still can’t help feel that the casting was off. I remember the uproar over the young black actress (Amandla Stenberg) casted as Rue. It was disappointing to see the double standard of views when Jennifer Lawrence does not look anything like the book description of Katniss. For the record, I thought Stenberg made an excellent Rue by the way.
Shouldn’t physical appearance matter just as much as acting talents when you are casting for a movie based off a book? I think casting directors should try to remain as true to the books as possible. When I read books, I like to be able to envision a character on screen the way I see them on page. It definitely makes me feel more appreciative that the casting director of studios go out of their way to cast an actor/actress that look, move, and interpret a character just like the books.
The Harry Potter series is a great example of this. I became a huge fan of Harry Potter while I was in high school. I remember being sucked into the world of Hogwarts witchcraft and wizardry. Watching the movies was a different experience from reading the books since the directors were forced to cut a lot of material, but nevertheless I was enthralled by Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. They were able to capture the Harry, Hermione and Ron I had pictured. It was as if they walked right out of the pages of the book onto screen. What made a difference when it came to these character portrayals was J. K. Rowling, the author of the series, constant involvement in the films.
On the contrary the film adaptations to the Twilight book series left me scarred for life. I have to admit that I am guilty of enjoying the Twilight book series, but the movies were atrocious. I was not a fan of Kristin Stewart’s emo, angst-ridden, slack-jawed interpretation of Bella Swan. The only good thing I have to say about Taylor Lautner as Bella’s best friend Jacob Black is that he has nice pecks; nothing else about him resembled the character described in the books. In fact, many of the characters in the movies did not appear on screen how I envisioned them reading Stephenie Meyer’s books.
There are some major factors that can influence how I feel about characters brought to life from book to screen. I think it helps not having read the book before I see the film adaptation. Kiss the Girls by James Patterson is one book I have read after seeing the movie. Although Morgan Freeman was a lot older than I how envisioned Alex Cross, it was still a great performance and he captured the character.
I am currently reading the Game of Thrones book series by George R.R Martin which is a popular show on HBO at the moment. I watched the show before reading the books so now I just picture the actors when reading the books. In the books, Tyrion Lannister has half a nose and mismatched eye colors, but I still enjoy picturing Peter Dinklage.
I thought about watching Fifty Shades of Grey to see if Christian Grey is really that handsome for Anastasia Steele to talk to her “inner goddess” but then I remembered how much I disliked that book.
So when your favorite book gets turned into a film, look into the cast list and the director before buying your tickets. It would be a shame if the movie discredited your high regard for the novel.