'Hunger Games': Jennifer Lawrence, Saoirse Ronan, Chloe Moretz, Emma Roberts, and more up for Katniss -- EXCLUSIVE

Lawrence-Steinfeld-BreslinImage Credit: Bob Charlotte/Bob Charlotte/Landmark/PR PhotosAre you an actress, between the ages of 10 and 25, and mildly to moderately well-known? If so, there’s a good chance you’ve been rumored to be the front-runner for the role of Katniss Everdeen at some point or another. It’s true that the opportunity to play the protagonist in the movie adaptation of the massively popular Hunger Games has a whole lot of Hollywood up-and-comers vying for the spot, but a source at Lionsgate has confirmed to EW that, despite all the chatter, there are no frontrunners at this point.

They also confirmed to us exclusively that approximately 30 actresses have either met or read for the role, including some of the most bandied-about names, like Jennifer Lawrence, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, and Chloë Moretz, as well as Lyndsy Fonseca, Emma Roberts, Saoirse Ronan, Skins U.K. star Kaya Scodelario, Emily Browning, and Shailene Woodley. From Kick-Ass to True Grit to TV’s Nikita to the upcoming Hanna and Sucker Punch, these ladies have plenty of gritty butt-kicking on their resumes, which will come in handy to play the bow-and-arrow-wielding Katniss, but it’s clear that the studio is casting a wide net. In the first book, Katniss is 16 years old, and the ages of those named here range from 14 (Moretz) to 24 (Fonseca). And, from the looks of it, you’d almost be hard-pressed to name which young, talented actresses aren’t under consideration for the role.

So while casting talk is heating up, we’ll still have to wait to find out who will be playing the girl on fire. Still, this is more than ample fodder for speculation.

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  • CH

    Ugh, please don’t pick someone in their 20s. Steinfeld and Moretz are good choices, but I hope they go with an unknown…

    • Connie

      Same – Jennifer Lawrence is too old! I hope it’s an unknown as well or someone not overexposed anyhow.

      • jmcg

        She’s only 20. She could play this teenager.

      • psyche

        I could see her as one of the healthy, well-trained, district 1-2 types.

      • Lucy

        Hailee and Chloe are like 14!! WAY too young. And jennifer has only done one movie i think. i think she’d be perfect. TEAM JENNIFER all the way. SO EXCITED FOR THIS MOVIE!!

      • JC

        Team Jennifer all the way.

      • Laura

        Katniss needs to be tough and Jennifer Lawrence is a TOUGH girl! Hailee is too young anyways. Please cast Jennifer!!!

      • AA

        They should pick Madeline Carroll, she’s 15 and a really great actress.

      • A-K87

        Jennifer Lawrence is a WOMAN. End of convo. She looks like the woman and has lady lumps.

      • Nerdista

        Ugh, I hope they don’t pick Jennifer just because whatever surgery she did to her face is just weird. She looks like she’s 40 now!

      • May

        Jennifer Lawrence could play Glimmer, but not Katniss. Come on people, lets think and not just throw names around and then settle on any newly high-profile young actress.

      • m1

        @AA: She looks way too young.

      • Kris

        @Lucy,
        She’s done more than 1 movie. Justcause you’ve only heard of one of her movies, doesn’t mean others don’t exist.

      • stickyheels

        Agreed! Jennifer is a fantastic actress but she is 100% too old for the part. She’d be an excellent Glimmer though…

      • ann

        TOTALLY agree with psyche.

      • jake

        In the book Kat describes herself as a young looking 16 , 14 at best (20 or so pages from the end). Any 14 year old has a shot

    • candice

      Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and Cloe Moretz as Prim. SOLD!!!! pleasepleasepleaseplease

      • Love Movies

        Oooo, Moritz as Prim is a great choice.

      • Heidi

        i want KATIE JARVIS for either Katniss or Prim. She’s 18 now I think. Anyone see her in FISH TANK?

      • Renee

        Ohhhhh, Katie Jarvis is a GREAT idea! She was phenomenal in Fish Tank. I agree 100% Heidi!

    • colleen

      Jen Lawrence was an unknown. No one knew about her until she was NOMINATED FOR AN OSCAR. serious is there a problem with this? See Winter’s Bone. She looks young and is a great actress!

      • MeMe

        Thank you Colleen. Watching Winter’s Bone, all I could think was OH MY GOODNESS we have our Katniss. Now we just need some way to figure out how they won’t water down the book to make it a teen movie.

    • Sanjiah

      Team Jennifer as Katniss, Moretz as Prim.

      • May

        You people make me sick. Moretz is going to “blossom” any day now. She’ll be too old looking even for Prim. Ugh.

      • stickyheels

        Jennifer as NOT KATNISS and Moretz as Katniss would be an excellent choice.

      • Snsetblaze

        Isn’t Prim initially around 10 or 11 (as is Rue)? Chloe is already to old for that. I think the suggestion of Jennifer as Glimmor or one of the 1/2 (Clovis?) would be a good idea – or have her wait for a future novel (Johanna for instance).

    • Cygnus

      Thank God Kristen Stewart isnt being considered to ruin another series.

      • Anna

        Amen.

      • stickyheels

        +2

      • primfan

        No Robert Pattinson or Taylor Lautner either. Thank holy heaven!!!!!!!

      • Slimer

        If they want this film to be successful on its own merit, they should avoid all of those people at all costs.

      • Christine

        Stewart didn’t ruin Twilight. It was already crap.

    • Melissa

      I thought of Dakota Fanning with her hair dyed dark brown.

    • J

      Not Breslin, PLEASE!, too cutesy.

      • Anna

        I agree.

      • Laurie

        Seriously, the thought of Breslin made me gag a little. I like her, but definitely not in this role.

      • bootsycolumbia

        I could see her playing Prim. I think she’d be great.

      • For An Angel

        Abigail Breslin is almost 15 now. How could she be a great Prim???

    • Nathan

      Can never go wrong with Chloe Moretz, she’s pretty awesome.

    • Heidi

      KATIE JARVIS from FISH TANK

    • Liz Lemon

      I’m a little worried about the actresses they’re focusing on. I can deal with Hailee Steinfeld, but when I read the books I pictured Katniss as having a more exotic look. Jennifer Lawrence is too old and just all wrong in overall look. Abigail Breslin is SO wrong.
      I wish they would start considering actresses like Ella Prunell or Sarah Bolger.

      • katkat

        jennifer lawrence was really good in winter’s bone but katniss described as having olive skin. it’d be nice to see that reflected in the film instead of a role going to yet another blond actress.

      • stickyheels

        I agree with @Liz Lemon – I pictured someone that had a look that was a little more ethnic – as in, olive skinned.

      • Christina

        “Ethnic” has nothing to do with the color of one’s skin, it’s about your ethnicity which everyone has! It’s pretty insulting to suggest white people are “less ethnic”, as if their background, whether Irish, British, etc. is of less value.

      • MOMO

        @Christina-Calm down. Technically you’re right, but we all know “ethnic” is short-hand for non-European.

      • SB

        FYI- “Olive Skin” has nothing whatsoever to do with being non-European. In fact, generally it applies to “white” people more often than any other race because it means that your skin has a green or yellow undertone. Because Olive Skinned people tend to tan well, (as opposed to people with pink or red undertones who tend to burn in the sun), recently people have started assuming that being olive skinned is synonymous with being dark skinned. This is completely untrue. There are many fair, blonde, olive complected people, and there are fair skinned brunettes with olive skin- Angelina Jolie for instance. Katniss could be light or dark with Olive skin. Collins does describe her as having black hair- but don’t discount an actress just because her hair isn’t the right hue- that’s what dye is for.

        Everyone is entitled to their vision of Katniss, let’s pray for a fabulous movie but realize that nothing is going to totally satisfy what you have in your head.

        The only other thing I’ll add is while Lawrence is perfect in age and demeanor (based on the Winter’s Bone performance), she is WAY too big. I think she’s about 5’8″– Katniss is described as being athletic but petite to the point of standing out as small when compared to all the other tributes. (and it’s the reason she can climb trees so well) I agree with whoever suggested Glimmer for Lawrence- that makes much more sense for her stature.

      • Andie

        I know this is silly, but I always pictured Katniss looking like Pocahontas – not necessarily native American, but the long long dark hair and darkish skin.

        And for the record, I have olive skin but I am white, so it is possible.

    • Snsetblaze

      Jennifer Lawrence should be cast as one of the other players in this book or in one of the next books. Some of the other players are older than 16.

    • Mel

      Hey, I love Jennifer Lawrence. She’s my pick.

      But let’s worry more about how they will inevitably ruin one of the best YA novels in years by turning it into a teen-angst-romance trilogy. Please, don’t remove the heart, blood, and tears from this movie!!!

    • seymour

      They should pick someone in her 20s. If they go too young (like these 14 year olds), they’re going to lose all of the viewers out of their tweens. I think tweens are willing to watch a movie starring somebody older than them, but 20-somethings aren’t interested in watching a movie starring somebody much younger.

      With the fairly graphic, gritty nature of the books, this can appeal to a wide demographic if they don’t cast a really young kid.

      • For An Angel

        Who says that 20 year olds wouldn’t watch a movie with teens in it? If they are fans of the book then they’ll watch it regardless and if the movie is well made then anybody can enjoy it. If they didn’t want teens to watch this movie then they would’ve made it Rated R. But they are going to tone it down so that it will appeal to more people.

    • xoanito

      I’m so fed up with teenagers played by older actors. It was refreshing to see Hailee Steinfeld playing someone of her age in True Grit. She may be slightly young for the part now, but I’ll take that any time over too old. Also, if they film the second and third books, it will turn into an advantage.

    • emily

      Are you going watch the movie if Hailee would be cast ? — feels pedo though ( I do not think i will be able to watch it).Honestly, it is not just about teen romance. The romance in the book is very intense with depth more than any adults novel and movie, as well as social issue. Hailee and Chorez are just too young to draw larger audiences.

      • For An Angel

        “Are you going watch the movie if Hailee would be cast ? — feels pedo though ( I do not think i will be able to watch it)”

        You’re just being ridiculous. They are not going to put any Rated R sex scenes in this. Any romance will be PG-13. Hailee and Chloe are talented enough to make this an awesome movie and THAT will draw in larger audiences.

  • Connie

    Really hope they do not screw up the casting of this movie like they have others. Love some of these actresses – maybe Hailee or Saoirse…but Shailene Woodley? Please no.

    • mads

      If they cast Shailene Woodley as Katniss I will not see this movie.

      • Mddmouse

        I had to look her up. Please, no.

      • katie

        Holy smokes, I was thinking the same thing. NOT SHAILENE!!!

        That girl couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag. I can just see Katniss now: All full of nasal scowling and pushing aside her bangs every five seconds.

        Pllleeeeeease, NOT SHAILENE!

      • Nicole

        Oh god, I think I threw up a little. That would be studpendously awful.

    • Laura

      I agree in regards to Shailene Woodley–please, no!!

      • Heidi

        I like the idea of Mae Whitford but maybe she’s too old. She is a bit heavier (read: normal) than these girls but she plays dark well. My favorite thought is Katie Jarvis. I wonder if they have considered her.

    • Anna

      LOLNO

    • bootsycolumbia

      ITA. I don’t even consider her an actress, just some girl who got lucky and got a TV series.

      • Dani

        Mae Whitford would be perfect if she fit the physical description better. She’s fantastic on Parenthood. She was also amazing voicing Katara in Avatar: The last Airbender (the cartoon not the awful film)

  • alice

    They better hurry up with casting, filming will be underway soon and if they’re not fast enough , Hailee & Jennifer will sign on to another project.
    Nothing is final but I can speak favorites, Hailee is my Katniss

    • Melissa

      How about the older sister from the Narnia series? She already uses a bow & arrow?

  • Anna

    Oooh my…Things keep getting worse…

    • dden

      How is that? All this is, is a list of any actress that could do the part. Do you have a better idea?

  • Carol

    s2 Kaya!!

    • Kris

      Agreed. Kaya is the perfect choice.

      • Taylor

        agreed!!

    • JC

      Kaya is, on paper, the best choice for Katniss. Right age, right look, but can she play the part? I’m leaning towards yes.

      • For An Angel

        I’m leaning towards no.

  • Sarah

    Hailee Steinfeld FTW!

  • PaulH

    Kristen Bell for Katniss. Also FTW.

    • cara

      LOL. Kristen Bell is completely wrong in about every way imaginable. She’s too old for this part (she’s already played a teen back on Veronica Mars and is now 30!), not to mention far too fair and blonde to be dark-haired, olive-skinned Katniss, hair dye aside. Plus her super white & prominent veneers are a bit too perfect for District 12, imo.

    • Sarah

      No freaking way.

    • KD

      Kristen Bell could have a kid Katniss’age! She’s awesome though, and a huge fan of the books. I could see her playing Effie, and she tweeted awhile back that she wanted to play Joanna. Would definitely love to see her in the film, but suggesting her for the role of Katniss is absurd.

      • bootsycolumbia

        I can’t see her as Joanna. She’d be good as Effie.

    • Tim (@rural_juror)

      K.Bell is actually my choice for Portia.

  • ak

    wait. Jennifer Lawrence? Don’t get me wrong: sister knocked me out in Winter’s Bone. like, slayed me, she was so fantastic. But that is about the worst casting I have ever heard.

    I dig the Lyndsey of it all, but she’s just too old. I think it would really discredit the character.

    nina dobrev is my Katniss, with her i-can’t-help-but-be-sexy sexy played down tons.

    • Shelly

      Nina Dobrev – what an interesting idea. I never considered her, until just now. I don’t know how old she actually is, but I could see it.

      • Alia

        Dobrev is awfully fragile looking to play Katniss, IMHO. Maybe if she put on some muscle.

      • Bre Rose

        Girl stabbed herself on TVD two weeks or so ago, and she is def. not fragile.

    • Zawmer

      I like your style and your thoughts on this! I’d be down with Dobrev. I’m just stunned that they keep talking about Hailee Steinfeld and Chloe Moretz, who, as awesome as they are, are completely too young.

      • stickyheels

        How are they too young? The character in the books is 15 or so? Are the re-writing for the film?

      • For An Angel

        It boggles my mind how many people seem to be forgetting that this will be a trilogy. A 14 year old is not too young to play a 16 year old if it’s the first of 3 movies! By the time they make the last movie they will be older than the character. If you hire someone who is in their 20’s now then by the time they make the last movie they’ll be almost twice the character’s age. Use your head people!

    • a fan

      Nina is 23. If Lyndsey is too old at 24 she is too old at 23. I would like the unknown actress who shot that fan made video short a couple of months back (it was featured on the shel life blog). She did an outstanding job. And Prim in the books is either black or latina so no Cloe Moretz please.

      • a fan

        Sorry I was thinking about Rue. I guess Chloe could be Prim after all.

    • Anna

      Nah, too Nickelodeon-y.

  • Dave

    I haven’t read the books, so I’m not an expert on the subject. But shouldn’t they cast someone close in age to the character? Someone in their 20s is too old. I don’t buy Lyndsy Fonseca as a 16 year old, or even Jennifer Lawrence. They also have to think about sequels. How much does the character age throughout the series? If they pick an actress in her 20s now, she may very well be 30 by the time they make the third movie. If the character is still supposed to be in her teens at that time, it’s not gonna fly. Go with someone around 14-16 years old.

    • AlisonRose

      I’ve just finished the two first books (no spoilers on the ending, PLEASE!) and I’m with the others voting for Hailee Steinfeld. I think she’d be perfect, and if they do the whole trilogy, she won’t “age out” before it’s done.

      • AB

        Hailey Steinfeld is all wrong. Too immature.

      • Jenn

        It’s a book about children fighting to the death. For it to have impact, they have to LOOK like CHILDREN. Plus Katniss is meant to look a bit young for her age.

      • Sanjiah

        NO to Hailee. Jennifer for Katniss and Chloe for Prim.

      • Jenz

        I bet they cast someone 17 or 18 for filming reasons. Someone who is 18 can work longer hours than a 14 year old. I just hope they pick whoever shows the most promise. The casting of Katniss will make or break the film.

      • Heidi

        Seriously, think of Katie Jarvis from FISH TANK (which was her first role ever and you could not take your eyes off her). Look her up.

      • bootsycolumbia

        AB, how can you say Hailee Steinfeld is too immature for this role. Did you see her in True Grit? She was incredible and more than held her own with greats like Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. She’d be an ideal choice as Katniss. I hope they pick her.

      • For An Angel

        AB and Sanjiah are on drugs.

    • A

      I agree. If they cast someone too old, it’s not going to work out well for the sequels. We don’t want a 30 year old playing a teenager.

    • emily

      Because Katniss is more mature than a 16 years old. She has to nurse and bring food/cloths to the table for her mom and litter sister at age of 11, she lives like a parent to take care her family. Why people focus so much on the look. Hailee is just too young to deliver the depth of a caregiver

      • A

        Just because she’s a mature 16 year old doesn’t mean she should look like a 25 year old. 16 year old girls should look like 16 year old girls. A mature attitude doesn’t make you look any older. And it’s called acting. I’m sure Hailee Steinfeld or another teenage actress can pull off being mature. It’s been done before.

    • Rae

      this movie already annoys me…I sure hope they choose a newbie…the chase for the next big role by these people is annoying as heck…and the desperation to make Hunger Games the next Twilight already leaves me disinterested.

  • Team Peeta!

    Jennifer Lawrence – Too Old.
    Hailee Steinfeld – Eh Idk..
    Abigail Breslin – No!
    Chloë Moretz – I could see it, though she doesn’t look like her.
    Lyndsy Fonseca – Like her, but too old!
    Emma Roberts – Too Nice!
    Saoirse Ronan – No!
    Kaya Scodelario – Maybe
    Emily Browning – Maybe
    Shailene Woodley – No!

    • dden

      Well, that was a whole list of contradictions.

    • Rosey

      I think Saorise should be Prim- she can act, and she looks so young and little. She’d be great, especially if they made if to book 3 with the films…

      • For An Angel

        Saoirse Ronan as Prim?!?! What are you crazy? She will be 17 in exactly one month!

    • emily

      Kaya scodelario is too edge -like those wealth/rebel teenagers. Katniss is never edge: she is an heroine in 16 physical age but not 16 mental. Just like what Jennifer lawrence delivers in winter’s bone — tough/determined/ vulnerable without edge.

  • AnaB

    Both Steinfeld and Lawrence have the acting chops to pull off a great Katniss…
    But in my book, Lyndsy Fonseca is still the best choice – even if she is older!

    • Jen

      I agree with you 100%!

    • Casting Agent

      Anyone who has watched Nikita knows that Lyndsy, without make-up and in a pony-tail, looks like she’s 16 – and she is a perfect Katniss cuz she can look older in future movies.

      • President Snow

        I agree. Lyndsy Fonseca is the best choice!

    • Fullbloomed

      Yah!! Lyndsey was the Katniss I imagined while reading the books. She would be great…but yeah, the age thing.

  • ak

    actually, i retract that previous statement. I just peeped pictures of Hailee outside of her Grit character, and WOW. had never thought of her looking that way. she is DEAD on. on board, totally.
    Edit: Nina Dobrev, FTL.

  • Landant

    Kaya Scodelario. They’ve already started down the wrong path with choosing a male director… but she’d save the film for me.

    • Mddmouse

      Like with Potter keeping the roles British, this one needs an American playing an Appalachian girl.

      • May

        It’s whoever’s best, not about the actress’ nationality. Accents can be changed. Are you kidding me Mddmouse?

      • nunnya

        Actually, I am an Appalachian girl and the best representation of our accent came from Jude Law in Cold Mountain. Last I heard, he is a Brit.

      • Anna

        Kaya would be perfect. She’s pretty, but she’s not perfect and Hollywood-y like all of the other peope mentioned here. She looks like a normal girl.

      • bootsycolumbia

        Remember that Vivian Leigh, a Brit, played Scarlett O’Hara, the quintessential Southern belle. May is right. It should be about the actor, not the nationality. Having said that, I hope Ellen Page (a Canuck) gets a role in the film–not as Katniss, but one of the older roles.

    • Rachel

      Kaya would be perfect. I can totally picture her as katniss

  • Vicki Ess

    ugh, the 14 year olds are too young looking, and the 24 year olds too old looking. i’m hoping they get an older looking 16 year old, unknown actress… and isn’t katniss described as having olive skin?

    • Vicki Ess

      I just pictured her much differently than any of these actresses… though I’m sure Hailee could pull it off!

  • Sarah

    I have always picture Saorise Ronan and Chloe Moretz as Prim, not Katniss. I love the idea of Hailee Steinfeld.

    • LOL

      Katniss? Was Dogniss already taken?

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