'Hunger Games': Suzanne Collins talks Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss -- EXCLUSIVE


Image Credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images; Todd Plitt/courtesy of Scholastic

Fans are still buzzing over last week’s news that Jennifer Lawrence has been cast as Katniss Everdeen in the film version of The Hunger Games. EW has received an exclusive statement by Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins on Lawrence’s casting. The complete text of the statement follows:

Dear Readers,

We have found Katniss.

As the author, I went into the casting process with a certain degree of trepidation. Believing your heroine can make the leap from the relative safety of the page to the flesh and bones reality of the screen is something of a creative act of faith. But after watching dozens of auditions by a group of very fine young actresses, I felt there was only one who truly captured the character I wrote in the book.  And I’m thrilled to say that Jennifer Lawrence has accepted the role.

In her remarkable audition piece, I watched Jennifer embody every essential quality necessary to play Katniss. I saw a girl who has the potential rage to send an arrow into the Gamemakers and the protectiveness to make Rue her ally. Who has conquered both Peeta and Gale’s hearts even though she’s done her best to wall herself off emotionally from anything that would lead to romance. Most of all, I believed that this was a girl who could hold out that handful of berries and incite the beaten down districts of Panem to rebel. I think that was the essential question for me. Could she believably inspire a rebellion? Did she project the strength, defiance and intellect you would need to follow her into certain war? For me, she did.

Jennifer’s just an incredible actress. So powerful, vulnerable, beautiful, unforgiving and brave. I never thought we’d find somebody this amazing for the role. And I can’t wait for everyone to see her play it.

Thank you all for sharing in this journey and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Suzanne Collins

Read more:
Jennifer Lawrence will play Katniss in ‘The Hunger Games’
‘Hunger Games’ director Gary Ross talks about ‘the easiest casting decision of my life’
‘Hunger Games': Is Jennifer Lawrence the Katniss of your dreams?
Jennifer Lawrence talks ‘The Hunger Games’ — and her love of Peeta

Comments (136 total) Add your comment
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  • JT

    If Hailee can’t be Katniss, they should at least cast her as Prim.

    • Ace

      I wonders that too but she and Jennifer aren’t believable as sisters… I just hope they get Peeta right.

      • elby8

        shes not supossed to lol

    • KP

      She doesn’t really look anything like Prim, though.

      • Allie

        Wanted Hailee too, but if Suzanne supports it, then I’ll support it too. And its not like Jennifer looks that much like Katniss so why can’t Hailee be Prim?

      • lalaland

        also Hailee has the same height as Jennifer…that might be a problem

    • Anita Wu

      she’s too old to be prim. i think prim should be somewhere in late elementary school or early middle school age

    • 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.

  • Krystle

    Jennifer is an excellent choice!! I’m very excited for this series to begin filming!

  • Kmb

    I was initially hesitant about Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss but after rereading the first book, I have to say, I think she’s almost perfect for the part.

    • muggslie

      agreed. i am really looking forward to this adaptation.

      • jr

        yeah, i watched jennifer in “winter’s bone” and was really impressed. i think above all, peeta’s gotta have the chemistry with jennifer, it doesn’t matter what the guy looks like. I think josh hutcherson would be an interesting choice, but again there has to be chemistry.

      • Colleen

        jr – Absolutely agree with you. The producers can’t just pick the “flavour of the month” guy or even the fan favorite guy. The chemistry has to be there between the two actors or it’s not going to work.

  • M

    It’s exciting to see such a gifted actress accept this role. The Hunger Games series is amazing and I have a feeling that the movie will be excellent too. I have to say that I loved the Twilight novels just as much, if not more, and I wish the casting and creation of the Twilight movies had been handled with as much care and time as the Hunger Games project is being handled. The Twilight movies don’t even come close to the brilliance of the novels and that’s sad to me. They were slapped together in the interest of time and in the interest of making the most money, too bad. I am very excited about the Hunger Games movie…hope it will be great!

  • Allie

    i want aaron johnson for gale

    • Laura

      Not good looking enough.

    • Nora

      yummm… plenty good looking enough. people in real life are not always perfect- i’d be disappointed if they cast someone who looked totally perfect for Gale.

      • Sue

        Hunger Games, Mockingjay, Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird…those would all be choices among mine as well. And I got some great recs from this post. Thanks!

    • Liz Lemon

      He’s all wrong. Gale is supposed to be older, more mature than Katniss. He’s kind of her mentor. He needs to be a man. Aaron Johnson looks too young for the part. Someone like Taylor Kitsch would be perfect.

      • Davi

        Revenez d’urgence, Koz, une proposition de loi visnat e0 supprimer tout conge9 pour qui que ce soi a e9te9 de9pose9e en catimini la nuit dernie8re par le de9pute9 UMP Alekseef Stakhanov.Ne nous privez pas, cruellement, du plaisir d’en discuter du bien- ou mal-fonde9.

    • Ali

      Oui l’expression : Pochette Cd est ce que je me suis effectivement dit aussi en maotnnt ces quelques photos. Je suis assez surpris du re9sultat d’ailleurs et je t’avoue que pour une premie8re, je suis satisfait de certains plans trouve9s.Je t’avoue qu’au niveau lumie8re, nous avons eu beaucoup de chance. Le coucher de soleil entre les vitres brise9es de l’ancienne mine, cela y a beaucoup contribue9.A dimanche Thomas,Philippe

  • John N.

    I guess Hunger Games is the new Twilight for EW given the extensive coverage this movie has been receiving. Just like with Twilight, I have never heard of Hunger Games before EW’s obsession so I suppose I should prepare myself for the onslaught of coverage for this movie.

    • Laura

      You should at least read the books. They’re written very well and I mean come on, the gov’t forcing kids to kill other kids on TV? It’s a little more innovative than some chick falling in love with a vampire and a werewolf.

      • Anna


      • Allie


      • jr

        haha i’ve read both & think it’s pretty safe to say that these books are nothing like twilight

      • Liz Lemon

        I wouldn’t use the words, “well written” to describe the Hunger Games books. They’re anything, but that. However, they’re still practically classics compared to twilight. I think the media will try to make the Hunger Games all about the “love triangle,” but the series is not about that at all. If anything, the romance takes a backseat to everything going on. Katniss doesn’t even think about it half the time unless she’s using it for strategic purposes.

    • Coco

      I agree. I have read the books, in fact I love the books but I hate the way EW drowns its readers in minutiae. Do we really need to hear from the director, actress and author regarding a casting decision? It’s a done deal isn’t it? so let’s just move on.

      • AB

        we’re hearing about it so much because the fans are *itching about the casting so much

      • Bhanu

        I have been wanting to read Mockingjay since the first rievew I read. I have on my wish list but being retired leaves only a small budget for books., sigh..Hey, maybe I can win one of these two in giveaway.lolThanks for the opportunity to enter this awesome giveaway.misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

    • Courtney

      I first heard about the Hunger Games in a piece in Time magazine. They’ve been around on critics’ lists.

    • Kelsey

      Actually, The Hunger Games is a very well-written series that’s very mature and thoughtful and has an actual message. I’m THRILLED it’s replacing Twilight in EW’s coverage.

      • stella

        YES…….. twilight is just crap. the three most popular series was harry potter, twilight, and the hunger games… and twilight is the worst one out of them. I’ve never read harry potter, but it seems more interesting and mature than twilight. magic and someone that tries to save something/someone…something like that – and some kind of “hero” that is weak and is all romantic…the first one is wayyy better. I’m kind of thrilled that it’s replacing twilight..but in another way, not. But I don’t want fans of it to be screaming like crazy for it like they did for twilight – it makes it seem like…not that mature of a thing… – more of a stupid teenage obessed crazy fan thing

  • Bibi

    I have a feeling they will drag down the quality of the books just as they did with Twilight. Snoozefest. Already went far away from the physical description and age of Katniss. Disappointed. And don’t get me wrong I like this actress. Way and see, I guess.

    • John K

      Twilight was never considered quality – literary speaking the Twilight books were crap. Good selling crap, but crap nonetheless. At least the Hunger Games books were pretty well written. Unfair to compare the two – one was fluff and the other literature.

      • Blu

        Calling it “literature” is a bit of a hyperbole, but yes the series is better written.

    • allie

      Physical descriptions can be adjusted. As far as the age…. I heard someone on another blog explain it like this: “if you cast a 15 or 16 year old you run the risk of them aging over the 3-5 years it would take to write a script and film all three movies; whereas with Jennifer, yes she’s 20, but she probably won’t age physically as much in the same time frame.” I am glad to hear that Suzanne Collins is on board. As much as this may irk a few people, I think that Willow Smith might be perfect for Rue!

      • Allie

        do we know she can act though? The rest of her family we’ve seen evidence of that, but not Willow herself.

      • Rebecca

        Also, the director has to consider the age restrictions for working actors. There’s a limit to the amoount of time actors under 18 can be on set. They’d have to also work around their school schedule as well. By selecting an actress over 18 for this role, they can film the movie without delays.

    • kittykat

      I believe the opposite will happen. The quality of the books will be dragged up.

      • Angie

        How will that happen when the books are already written?

  • Heather

    I’m so glad she released a statement like this. I trust in the author since she brought the world to life. I’m excited to see the other characters cast as well.

  • Anya

    That’s all well and good except that the idiotic casting director specified “Caucasian” — thereby eliminating any number of other qualified actresses. I have no doubt that Jennifer is the best of the Caucasian bunch, though she more resembles the merchant class in the book (like her mother and Prim) than the “olive-skinned, dark-haired Katniss.”

    • Rebecca

      Being olive-skinned does not mean non-Caucasian. An olive skin tone is slightly beige with yellow undertones, much like Jen’s own. That aside, darkening her hair isn’t exactly going to be a problem.

    • Amber

      She is caucasian. I understand that she is described as olive-skinned and dark-haired”, but there’s no way she’s not caucasian if she’s Prim’s sister. I appreciate that diversity is important. I absolutely think that several characters call for non-caucasian actors. But this isn’t an issue of racism. How would it ever be believable that they were sisters if Katniss weren’t caucasian?

      • Liz

        Amber, I completely agree. That’s exactly the way I feel. She absolutely has to be caucasian to make it believable that she’s Prim’s (pale & blonde) sister.

    • AB

      seriously, are you that ignorant? I’m caucasian and I’m olive-skin-toned. Move outside your little box.

    • Lauren

      Olive skinned basically equals Caucasian or Asian. I feel like a lot of people don’t understand what olive-skinned means. Most olive-skinned people are Greek, Italian, or Middle Eastern. It means you tan but have a greenish undertone when you are pale.

  • Kay

    I wasn’t too sold on JL’s casting, but this note makes me feel better. Collins could have been less enthusiastic had she not truly been thrilled by JL’s casting. So her level of admiration here makes me hopeful.

  • Kelsey

    While I think it’s good casting, what did anyone expect her to say? “Good lord, this is awful and I’m sorry I sold them the rights to make it”? Come on.

    • James

      Sometimes when you have to work this hard to convince people this is the right decision, it makes me think they wish it was somehow different. Why all the worry. Once the decision is made, then move on and make the movie, not keep on justifying who is cast and why. Will this justification go on with every casting decision?

      • Jackie

        I think she realizes that there are a lot of people who have their own mental images of who Katniss should be, and she knows that there are some people that will disagree with this casting decision. This is her way of placating those people and telling them that she is behind this 100%.

    • fritzi

      Perhaps you aren’t aware of what happened when Tom Cruise was cast as Lestat in Interview with the Vampire? Anne Rice came out slamming the casting.

  • Lunna

    I still have mixed feelings about this casting…

  • a.

    I agree with Heather…and after I had seen Winter’s Bone, Jennifer Lawrence was the ONLY actress I wanted to see play Katniss Everdeen. You know, considering the fact that Suzanne Collins herself has given Jennifer Lawrence such a wonderful, ringing endorsement, those who questioned the casting of Lawrence should relax. The author, the one who created Katniss Everdeen and her world, has spoken.

  • Leah

    Suzanne’s letter totally gave me chills. My fear is assuaged- I now cannot wait to see Jennier play Katniss.

  • Missy1982

    Who else is hoping that if they make 3 movies, they fix the hot mess that was Mockingjay? I loved loved loved the series, and was so incredibly disappointed but the anti-climatic last book. I do think Jennifer will be a great Katniss though.

    • Mel

      Oh, I disagree. I think this one was practically written for cinematic portrayal. The pacing will be much more easily viewable, basically the entire first part can be fixed for the big screen.

      Also, I LOVED the last book. I think it packed the most emotional punch of all three.

    • Brandy

      Mockingjay might have been my favorite of the series. I thought it was most varied. I got a little bit tired of the arena in books one and two (esp two).

      • Allie

        I didn’t think Mockingjay was that bad. It wasn’t my favorite out of the whole series, but it was still good.

    • Chris

      The whole series is exceptional. The books are literature and should be used to teach social studies/history to teenagers showing the techniques gov’t’s use to control its’ populous. It’s today’s 1984. I’m so sick of the “run here..run there” books. S. Collins has written masterpieces. After seeing Winter’s Bone, she’s perfect for Katness. When you watch the news please think about Katness’ arena experience!

    • Liz Lemon

      Yeah the Mockingjay sucked. One of Collins’ biggest flaws is that she rushes the story. She does it in all three books. She just speeds through it instead of taking her time and explaining what the heck is going on. In some cases, she uses too much detail and in others not enough. I think she has issues when it comes to putting what she’s imagining down on paper. The whole battle in The Mockingjay was a jumbled mess. I also wasn’t a fan of what she did with Katniss in the last book. There was a lot of hiding in closets and not enough of the bold, stubborn Katniss that was in the previous books. However, luckily the story is good enough that it should translate well to screen.

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