I’m an avid reader, and one of my favorite book series is The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. I’ve read the entire trilogy twice (first book 3 times), and I’ve absolutely loved it with each reading.
She did an amazing job presenting the story in an emotionally gripping way, especially as it pertains to character development (creating characters the reader can connect with.) As such, I had a really clear idea in my mind of what each character was like, from Katniss and Peeta to Haymitch, Cinna and beyond.
When I heard they were making a movie, I was incredibly excited, but at the same time I was fearful. I mean, how often does a movie live up to the book? Eragon biffed it, as did Percy Jackson. Legend of the Seeker (based on The Sword of Truth series) went so far astray from the books that it died after just 2 seasons. Game of Thrones was off to a good start in the first season, but it’s straying in season 2.
Sufficeth to say I was really, really hoping The Hunger Games movie would do the book justice…
Alas, after seeing the movie, I’d call it 50/50. The movie captured a lot of the emotional moments from the book, and did a pretty good job sticking to the storyline (minus a few thing), but…
The cast they picked just wasn’t…right. Something was off. Some characters were OK, but overall they actors they picked just didn’t live up to what I had envisioned as I read the books.
So, without further ado, this is how I would have cast the key characters in the movie:
- Katniss Everdeen – I would have gone with Ellen Page. Jennifer Lawrence did OK, but she just wasn’t quite right for the role. Ellen Page has got that sarcastic brooding thing that would have been perfect for Katniss.
- Peeta Mellark – I can’t actually think of a young enough actor who would have been a good fit, but surely anyone would have been better than Josh Hutcherson. He made the character seem like a total puss/goofball. The only role I think he has ever done well was in Bridge to Terabithia.
- Cinna – I would have tried to get Mr. Jay for this role. He’s exactly what I was picturing when I read the book.
- Cato – I think I would have gone with Kellan Lutz. I pictured Cato as large, imposing, fierce…not Alexander Ludwig, the scrawny kid from The Seeker and Witch Mountain.
- President Snow – In my mind, I was picturing Malcolm McDowell. Donald Sutherland did fine, but he just wasn’t quite what I was picturing. Malcolm McDowell does sinister really well.
- Haymitch Abernathy – I pictured Haymitch as a big, gruff guy, definitely not Woody Harrelson. Not sure who I would have picked though…maybe Russel Crowe or Gerard Butler? Hard one.
I think the rest of the casting was fine, and by that I mean I can’t really think of anyone better 🙂 Overall it was a good movie, and I think for anyone who saw the movie before reading the books it would have been fantastic. But alas, once you’ve read a book and carefully formed the characters in your mind, it’s hard to be satisfied!
Who would you have picked? What casting choice really pissed you off? Any other books turned into movies that you thought really sucked? Let me know in the comments!