Jennifer Lawrence will play Katniss in 'The Hunger Games'

winters-bone

Image Credit: Sebastian Mlynarski

Lionsgate confirmed this afternoon that 20-year-old Jennifer Lawrence, whose blisteringly fine work in Winter’s Bone earned her an Oscar nomination, has landed the coveted role of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. In director Gary Ross’ adaptation of the first installment to Suzanne Collins’ beloved trilogy, Lawrence will play the 16-year-old tribute from District 12 who’s forced by a vicious government to participate in an annual reality TV death match. “Jennifer’s just an incredible actress,” praised Collins in a statement. “So powerful, vulnerable, beautiful, unforgiving and brave. I never thought we’d find somebody this perfect for the role. And I can’t wait for everyone to see her play it.” Filming is set to begin later this spring with Lionsgate planning a March 23, 2012 release date.

Read more:
‘Hunger Games’ director Gary Ross talks about ‘the easiest casting decision of my life’ — EXCLUSIVE
‘The Hunger Games': Is Jennifer Lawrence the Katniss of your dreams?
‘The Hunger Games’ gets a release date
‘Hunger Games’ exclusive: What the movie will be rated, and how it feels to be called the next ‘Twilight’
‘Hunger Games’ exclusive: Why Gary Ross got the coveted job, and who suggested Megan Fox for the lead role
‘Hunger Games’ exclusive: Director Gary Ross talks about casting Katniss

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  • thecapitol

    i’ll be the first to come out and say this….all wrong for the part…great actress…but completely wrong for katniss.

    • ZR

      My thoughts exactly

      • Cathy

        Do you have any *actual* reasons, or is this just a gut feeling?

      • AliB

        I agree….Hailee Steinfeld would’ve been better…my initial reaction was a “Nooooooo.”

      • wintersbone

        Jennifer’s character from winter’s bone: ‘Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence), 17, is just able to keep her family together in a dirty, poor rural area, despite a catatonic mother and an absent meth-making father, Jessup’

        tell me she cant play katniss.
        people shouldnt be concerned with the way she looks and how old she appears because nowadays many franchise movies have atrocious acting so we should consider ourselves lucky that we got such a talented, gritty actress!

    • Chelsea

      I totally agree. She is amazingly talented, but in no way, even if she starves herself (not saying she’s fat at all, but she’s curvy and Katniss is starving) and dyes her hair, she’s not a fit to how Katniss is described. She honestly looks 25. That takes away from the horror in the books that is basically children playing in these games.

      • Connie

        Chelsea, spot on.

      • Alaroons

        Chelsea, my thoughts exactly. If this ends up being a success and they make all three books, she’ll be 25 by the time it’s done and looking 30. I just think it was a lazy choice. Hollywood loves to pick pretty people for roles then cover them in dirt to cover up their looks.
        Now picture her in a/her mockingjay outfit – way too sexy, right?

      • POX

        They are trying to make a young adult novel into an adult movie

      • Alli

        Totally agree…. This is just wrong!!
        It’s like Kristen Stewart as Bella in Twilight all over again

      • CL

        This is a PG-13 movie after all and I’m pretty sure they’re gonna have to dial down some of the major themes for the movie. Largely, children forced to kill each other. Plus this is Hollywood people. Every single teen property (from 90210, Dawson’s Creek, to Glee) have late 20s actors playing high schoolers.

      • Love Movies

        I feel like I am the only one who actually thinks this is a good choice. Maybe it is because I paid more attention to Katniss’ spirit than her description. Jennifer appears to have the spirit of Katniss. I think she will do a good job.

      • Kate

        Brilliant actress, totally has the grit. Not emaciated enough- not young enough. @Chelsea totally got it right- they need to look like children for it to be really horrifying.

      • Kristine

        I completely agree Chelsea. Jennifer may be a great actress, but she looks like a mature, curvaceous 25year old woman rather than a starved teen. I see her more as one of the careers like glimmer. I would have preferred saoirse Ronan or hailee steinfeld for katniss. I am really disappointed because it looks like the producers want a more glamorized version rather than the gritty dark tones of the book.

      • Sadie

        Chelsea is completely right. I’m not saying that Jennifer Lawrence may not do an amazing job with the role, but the actors need to look their characters’ ages in order for the movie to be realistic and terrifying. I always pictured Jennifer as playing a character more like Glimmer or Clove: a little older. She really doesn’t look sixteen, she looks twenty-two or twenty-three. I’m still going to see how she does but I’m a little disappointed with the casting.

      • Brittany

        BFD. She doesn’t look exactly like the character. With most fans only caring about casting actors who look exactly like the characters its no wonder that people think ya adaptations are crap. Stop focusing on her looks and think more about how lucky we are as fans to actually get a great actress to headline this franchise.

      • Sadie

        @Brittany:
        We only bring age into the debate because age plays such a big role in the books. Children between the ages of 12 and 18 are eligible for competing in the Games. The Capitol doesn’t care about killing kids, and to make the movie realistic and true to the book, the actors really need to look their characters’ parts. Jennifer Lawrence is a fine actress, but she doesn’t look sixteen.

      • muggslie

        i dunno, she looked about 15 in winter’s bone, and got an oscar nom for it. i think this is a really smart choice for this movie franchise. an actress who can actually act. i think she’ll do well.

      • Laura

        Very, very good point. Katniss still needs to be innocent and young enough to garner a protective, horrified reaction from the audience. Jennifer is too mature to pull that off, no matter what kind of make up they slap on her.

      • Vina

        The problem with using “Winter’s Bone” as an example is that movie was shot in 2008-2009. Lawrence is two years older now, and if you’ve seen her in recent interviews she’s definitely grown up and filled out. She’d need to crash diet to pass for sixteen now.

      • Dianna

        Wouldnt you expect Katniss to look older than her years given all the hardships and turmoil she’s been through?

    • stella

      This is so wrong.

      • Tess

        This could be an incredible performance. Lets not forget we aren’t privy to the auditions. Everyone else could have just not connected with the part as well.

      • Laura

        @Tess- then they should have spread a wider net, not copped out. Not an excuse.

      • LT

        From what I read it seems as though they got submissions from actors/actresses and looked through them. I don’t really think there were actual auditions for unknown talent. It’s sad because there could have been someone great who fit the role perfectly but instead they stayed with someone they considered “safe”. Totally agree with you Laura.
        She seems like an amazing actress though, so if anything we can at least be thankful that the acting won’t be horrible!

      • Barbara

        I’m glad to see so many think Jennifer is too old for the part of Katniss. I’m sure they can make her look younger but most of us have a definite picture of Katniss in our mind and I think it will be hard to separate her current pictures we’ve seen and the Katniss they will create with makeup. Katniss had led a rough life but she definitely wasn’t beyond her years in any social relations. She is so innocent and naive and Jennifer doesn’t project that and I can’t imagine they can cover up her life experiences with makeup. I hope we are wrong an she can make us forget who she is and we really feel she IS Katniss. I’m afraid the desire to make the cast more sexually and romantically attractive will take away from the feeling I felt about the CHILDREN in the book.

    • anonymous

      Bingo. Not at all who I would have picked. How disappointing.

    • Liz Lemon

      Agreed. But maybe the filmmaker saw something we don’t. I don’t get it.
      @Alli: It’s NOTHING like that. Jennifer can actually act and The Hunger Games is actually a GOOD story.

    • Flip

      I hate the squirrel-killer. NOT impressed!!!!

      • Nree

        I believe katniss killed some squirrels too.

      • Cathy

        ZING!

    • Trixie

      I totally agree with you. Great actress wrong for the part. Maybe no one at LionsGate read the book?

      • Isolda

        I have to admit that I’ve never heard of her before and she just doesn’t look like Katniss to me… Elizabeth Olsen (Mary-Kate and Ashley’s eonugyr sister)is a new commer and her face looks to me what Katniss would look like more… Any news on who Peta will be?

    • Yummycupcake

      I Liked the girl from true grit

      • Loren

        I’ll try to put this to good use immeditaely.

    • Christine

      Yes, but didn’t we say that about Rob Pattinson as Edward…oh wait.

    • ks

      Thinking that too, I always pictured Katniss with darker hair too…..

      • Tess

        I think once they dye her hair dark… she’ll have darker hair. -.-“

      • Georgiac

        @Tess, HA! I think you may be right…

    • Jul

      I guess I just always pictured a Mila Kunis type girl for the role. Darker skin, darker hair, skinnier. I’m sure Jennifer is a great actress but I just can’t see it.

      • dranchgirl

        Totally agree–my first thought was Mila Kunis

    • Coco

      Agreed!

      • Renia

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    • Dim

      Suzanne Collins doesn’t seem to think she’s all wrong for the part. She’s actually very excited!

      • savannah

        i emailed ms collions 13 times trying to get audition info i wanted to even at least audition for prim and i look excatly like her ive been acting and preforming since i was two susan if u ever see the please reply to this ill keep checking her and my email for responses

      • Sunny

        I just read “The Hunger Games” and loved it. I will read the last 2 installments Catching Fire and Mockingjay soon. I like the look but was not cexepting them to turn her into a brunette. I guess they wanted to downplay her sexuality as she is freaking hot in real life. Could be the next Twilight series.

    • MHN

      i agree shes 20! and katniss is 16. 4 year difference! i think this is gonna b like the other movies like percy jackson and eragon.

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    • Lena

      i agree I imagined katniss totally different

      • Early

        It’s much easier to udnertasnd when you put it that way!

    • myra

      Who will they cast as buttercup?
      a) a very old geriatric cat that is also a great actor because after all in movies and tv old cats always play kittens.
      b) a red or black cat with acting experience and awards nominations because after all color is not important they will dye its hair and acting is more important. Plus it’s impossible to cast a yellow cat that also has acting talent.
      c) a black old cat that became famous not because his acting but its singing but had a 5 minute role in a movie and gary ross liked his acting.
      d) Cate blanchet! She is an oscar winner actress and because of that she can pull off anything. If you don’t think she is the right one watch all of her previous movies. She even played BOB DYLAN!
      e) a yellow mashed-in nose,half of one ear missing, eyes the color of rotting squad.
      f) a squirrel or a dog because there is one thing called makeup and there’s also Hollywood magic.
      G)None of the above they will just cut out Buttercup because he is a minor role.

  • Angie

    She doesn’t look 16. At all. They should just make Katniss 18.

    • Liz Lemon

      Films these days don’t really care if the actor looks 16. They will still say they’re 16. For example, if I’m not mistaken, all the actors on Glee are supposed to be around 15 in the first season. Tom Welling was about 25 when he started playing 16 year old Clark Kent. So, I’m not surprised they went with someone older like Jennifer, because they can get away with sexualizing her more. It would be really weird seeing a 14 year old actress do some of the stuff that Katniss does in the books.

      • whatnowsucka

        It’s MEANT to be weird. If they had people in their 20’s playing the parts, it wouldn’t have the same impact on the viewers. It’s BECAUSE the kids in the Games are so young and “innocent” that’s what makes it so demented and sick. Having a girl who looks like she’s in her 20’s will have NOWHERE NEAR the same effect as a small, weak, young looking teenager.

        Bad choice Lionsgate, very disappointed. It just feels convenient, you know? Because Jennifer is so big right now, what with awards season wrapping up. She’s tremendously talented, but just…wrong. And it seems like 90% of the fans agree.

      • @whatnowsucka

        I think they’ll still make her look younger. And they’ll probably have her drop weight before filming starts, since Katniss is supposed to be malnourished. But I think it’s just easier for them to shoot all that stuff (violence, sexual exploitation, etc) with an older actress as opposed to a pre-teen actress. A lot of things go into choosing an actress. It’s not just based on talent. Jennifer is legal, so she’ll be able to put in more hours on set. Child actors are only allowed to shoot for a certain amount of time and then they have to take breaks. They’ll be able move faster with someone like Jennifer.

      • Brittany

        @whatnowsucka You have a great point. With the release date being only a year away and with the entire movie to film they need someone who can log in the long hours to get this movie finished. Plus she is a fantastic actress.

      • Vina

        @whatnowsucka “Harry Potter” and “Super 8″ and every other movie featuring kids never seem to have a problem with this.

      • liz

        i think the difference when casting older actors in teen roles is trying to find actors that look young. tom welling, looked young when he was cast as clark kent, but old enough to have the muscle development necessary to have the physic of a young superman. steven r. mcqueen from vampire diaries is 22 and looks like a baby, even though he’s actually older in real life than nina he looks the part of elena’s younger brother.
        i get the headaches involved for any production using actors under the age of 18. they can only work so many hours of the day, they have to have constant breaks and time for school, it makes shooting a lot more difficult and usually extends the production.
        my problem with jennifer is, she looks older than she is, not younger. i’m not really sure how they’re going to get around that. i’m not saying she’s not a good actress, and might have the right mind set and emotional courage for the role.
        hunger games is supposed to be shocking, and gritty, and sometimes repulsive. as a reader your disgusted that the government and people could actually find the games entertaining because it’s kids killing kids. when the kids don’t look like kids in the movie, you’re really going to loose that feeling you have while reading the book.

  • Stef

    Not who I would have picked, but I’ll reserve full judgment until I see the movie. I hope she can pull it off.

    • Cris

      Agreed. Personally, I think she’s too old for the part, but she’s shown how good an actress she is. I’ll wait to see the movie rather than jumping to conclusions.

  • Sarah

    Eh, hopefully she can really transform herself to play the role of Katniss. She definitely has talent. Hopefully now we can get Hunter Parrish as Peeta.

    • Chelsea

      David Kross (The Reader) is my Peeta, but I won’t hate it if Hunter gets the part. As long as it’s not one of those prettyboy actors (Alex Pettyfer) who can’t act for anything. Peeta needs to have a sweetness about him.

      • Connie

        I’m worried about who will play Peeta and Gale…I really don’t want them to screw up this movie!

      • bruno

        ooh, david cross is a good one.

      • Liz Lemon

        Alex Pettyfer is not pretty. He’s hideous. I’m hoping for Hunter Parrish as well or maybe Freddie Stroma. I also wouldn’t mind David Kross, but I don’t think he can speak English.

      • Chelsea

        German is definitely his first language but “The Reader” is in English so he can definitely speak it.

      • Liz Lemon

        I read somewhere when The Reader first came out that the only English David knew was his lines. He learned English, specifically for that movie. So I don’t think he’s fluent…but maybe he is now.
        I just really don’t want them to screw up this movie. It has the potential to be really good, because the story is interesting. The books were not the best, because grammar and pacing are not the author’s strong points, but I think the films could be better than the books. *fingers crossed*

      • Chelsea

        I figure if he could pull off speaking English well enough in such an emotional (and rather adult) role like Michael in The Reader, he would do fine as Peeta. Honestly, I’ll be happy as long as they cast someone who can ACT. Casting Pettyfer would make me want to not see the movie.

  • Kate

    Hope she has the hair dye and the tanning spray ready.

    • Kelsey

      amen!!! shes good in other movies but she doesnt fit the role in my mind. alexandra daddario fits the role more than Jennifer

      • Sadie

        Alexandra Daddario may be about the same age as Jennifer Lawrence, but she can pass for sixteen or seventeen. Again, I’d like to express that Jennifer is an excellent actress and it will be interesting to see what she does with the role, but she’d be better off playing a role like Glimmer: older and a better fit for her description.

  • HarkerJ

    She’s too old! Incredibly talented but just too freaking OLD! Why with Chloe Moretz and Hailee Steinfeld (not to mention countless unknowns) would they go for Jennifer Lawrence?

    • Connie

      Agreed! Such a disappointment!

    • Alaroons

      Totally agree.

    • DK

      b/c Chloe & Hailee are still a bit young for the part. yes, they can pull it off (though people who think Lawrence looks wrong for the part yet want Moretz for the part is beyond me) but Hollywood is too scared. Also, it’s better to go with an older actor b/c they can work longer days, no worrying for Child Labor laws you see

      • Sadie

        When I was reading the books, I pictured Hailee Steinfeld as Katniss and Chloe Grace Moretz as Prim. Chloe’s about the right age and looks the part, and she’s proved she’s got acting chops in a drama.

    • Kris

      Because they want Hunter Parish for Peeta and even he said that getting a 14 year-old girl to play Katniss would just make it weird.

    • Liz Lemon

      Chloe is too young. Hailee would’ve worked, but I can see why they didn’t choose her. I was hoping they would at least consider Ella Purnell.

    • whatnowsucka

      Agree, Harker.

      • Indra

        I’ve always waentd to try a deep-fried snickers or something! Those fairs and festivals are so cute and look like so much fun! But I sure haven’t been playing any mud volleyball. This weekend I’ve been getting ready for school.

  • Ems

    you knew it wasn’t going to be anyone under 18 so they could work them longer in the days.

    So long as they don’t intend on keeping her a blond and they don’t cast that awful “I am number 4 kid” I’ll be there opening day.

    • maiv

      Yup, I’m pretty sure that’s why they didn’t hire anyone underage. I mean, that’s why they always hire older people to play hs kids….

    • Rachel

      If they hire that “I am number 4 kid” for Peeta I will officially be a Gale shipper.

      • Sadie

        Right on.

  • Jen

    I don’t hate it, but I was rooting for Hailee Steinfeld.

    • Rachel

      I was rooting for Hailee because she looks more like the character than any of the other candidates.

      • Alli

        Totally

      • jk

        me too…SO disappointed by this!!!

      • Maya

        Which is more important to you? Looks or acting ability? Jennifer played a 17 year old girl living in poverty who to care for her younger siblings because her crazy mother is incapable. She also hunts. I would rather have someone who plays the part impeccably, but doesn’t look exactly perfect, than some crappy actress who look the part.

        jussayin

      • Maya

        I’m not saying that Hailee is a crappy actress. She was AMAZING in True Grit, I just don’t think she could pull a role like this off just yet. Maybe a 16 or 17 year old Hailee…

  • Connie

    Just what I was NOT hoping for…she’s too old for the role. Amazing actress, but by the time they are done shooting a trilogy, she will be in her mid twenties.

  • Nikita

    Lyndsy Fonseca was the better choice…

    • Yummycupcake

      No way. Too pretty

    • jenny

      exactly what i wanted. so much better

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    • jackie

      agreed. exaclty how i pictured katniss even before i knew they were making a movie

  • Katy

    Oh shut up she is perfect for the role watch Winter’s Bone she can do it…

    • josh

      Oh you shut up. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

    • Tess

      She will be amazing. I’m glad they didn’t pick Hailee, she’s too cutesy and her performance in True Grit, while great for her age was overrated.

    • fritzi

      Agree completely Katy. Apparently these commenters didn’t actually see Winter’s Bone (her oscar nominated performance) where she played a 16 year old.

      • Dada

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  • Jenna

    I’m just glad it isn’t Kirsten Stewart or some annoying teenybopper actress. While I wonder how Jennifer Lawrence will do in the intense action scenes, I think she’ll be great in the more emotional scenes.

    • pam

      It’s Kristen dumbass, and she wouldn’t have taken the role even if offered.

      • whatevs

        Geez, relax. Kristen can be good for lighthearted teen fare, but she wouldn’t be good for an adaptation of a character who emotes.

      • Dave

        “and she wouldn’t have taken the role even if offered.”
        Why? Is she above it? Is she too cool for it? Not good enough for her? She’s already slumming it with Twilight, can’t get any worse than that.

      • Kris

        Yes because Kristen truly has a bright future ahead of her. Kristen’s career has already peaked. She’d be lucky to get this role.

      • laughing at pam

        How do you know she wouldn’t have taken the role even if offered? Did she tell you that or are you just speaking for her with your vast knowledge of all that is Kristen Stewart?

  • Jennifer

    Disappointing.

  • K

    I’m glad they picked a quality actress — she was wonderful in WB and has the necessary grit and physicality, but I too was hoping for Haillee who seemed tailor made for the role.

  • Jasmine

    I actually like this. She is a good actress (good enough to get an actor nomination) I just have to see a picture ignite with brown hair and then I’ll be satisfied

    • Tess

      Agreed! I’m looking forward to seeing why they picked her over loads of other actresses; it can’t just be her age, otherwise why bother auditioning Steinfeld and Moretz?

      • Christina

        They auditioned the underage actresses because they wanted to make it seem they were listening to the fans. But I don’t believe they seriously considered picking either of them. It was always going to be an older actress because of the labor laws.

      • Tess

        Oh well. Now we’ll just have to make do with a crappy Oscar nominated actress that played a similar character convincingly and is not so young it’ll be creepy to watch them making out.

      • Fathi

        I really liked the Hunger Games and Catching Fire, but Mockingjay was rtderead. It was basically 200 pages ofthis happened and then I got seriously injured and blacked out for days and then this happened and I blacked out for days and then THIS happened and I blacked out and when I woke up the war was over!JIGGA WHA GURL.

    • Auth

      I seriously LOVE sttihcreng my calves. Such a wonderful feeling. I am pretty bad about sttihcreng after a workout. Ill do maybe 5 min, when I know I really should do more. Especially after games! I typically just want to lie there and not move lolKat recently posted..

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