Suzanne Collins on writing a 'Hunger Games' movie: 'You have to let things go'

suzanne-collinsImage Credit: Todd Plitt/Contour by Getty ImagesA gutsy bow-and-arrow wielding 16-year-old rules the best-seller charts these days — Katniss Everdeen, the tough-as-nails star of  Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy. The series’ first book (Hunger Games) alone has more than 2.9 million copies in print and spent over 100 consecutive weeks on the New York Times list. Collins (one of EW’s 2010 Entertainers of the Year) dreamed up Games a few years ago while channel surfing, when images of reality TV and the Iraq war melded in her head. Her books’ dystopian world features a government that does whatever it takes to control its citizens, even holding an annual lottery that pits the unlucky winners — all children — against one another, fighting to the death in an outdoor arena while the country watches on TV. Collins, who’s gotten some flak for the kid-on-kid violence in the three books (Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay), has responded by pointing to the powerful anti-war message in her story.  And she also notes that not everyone sees the books as war novels. “People view the books differently — as romance, as dystopian, as action adventure, as political,” she tells EW. “So there seems to be more than one way into the story.”

If somehow you still have not heard of Katniss and her District 12 cohorts, you will soon. Now that the book series is finished (with Mockingjay‘s publication in August), all eyes are on the upcoming Hunger Games movies. The first film, which will be helmed by Seabiscuit director Gary Ross, isn’t due out until 2012, but fans are already arguing feverishly over who should play Katniss on the big screen — Kaya Scodelario? Alexandra Daddario? Emma Watson? Fortunately,  Collins, a seasoned scriptwriter with several kids’ shows under her belt, wrote the first draft of the screenplay herself and says Lionsgate, who acquired the books, has “established a dialogue with me, making me feel my input was valuable and welcome.”

“Obviously, you have to let things go,” she says of the process, “but it’s more than a question of condensation. You want to preserve the essence while making the film stand on its own. It’s an art in itself.”

For more about Suzanne Collins and EW’s 14 other 2010 Entertainers of the Year, pick up the Dec. 10 issue of the magazine, with Taylor Swift on the cover.

More ‘Hunger Games':
‘Hunger Games': Cast the movie!
‘Hunger Games': Can it be PG-13?
‘Hunger Games': Reality TV lit?
‘Hunger Games’ = ‘Twilight’? No!

Comments (74 total) Add your comment
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  • Sgerbil

    What a useless waste of space article.

    • AliB

      Troll Alert!

      LoL Anyway I love the Hunger Games and can’t wait for the movies. I hope they do them justice :)
      I think the girl the young Elly in Lost (the one with the gun in Jughead) could make a good Katniss…I just hope they pick someone who’s tough and rough around the edges.

      • Natalie Ann

        I would Totally fit the part of Katniss haha. im just like her in real life. =D

      • Nurse Love

        I agree and SwedenDatingSite was Amazing

      • Jittu

        errr clip, not pin. Hahaha See? I'm all eietxcd I can't type the right words.

    • Xena

      Sgerbil, is that because this refers to a “book”? And not the pretty dancing colors in front of your eyes?

    • Sgerbil

      Look I love this series, I just felt the article didn’t tell us anything new or useful. Where is the journalism? Tell us something new about the movie or series.

    • Morgs

      I think Jennifer Lawrence from Winter’s Bone should play Katniss. CASTING DIRECTORS: JENNIFER LAWRENCE!!! She would kill that part.

      • stephanie pinto

        thats crazy how you wanted her and she really is going to play her in the movie lol

      • Scott Rodison

        What the heeelll? How did you predict this?!?!?!

  • Fit

    I hope they cast Lucas Till as Peeta. I imagined him when reading the books.

    • mary

      Me too, hope lucas till as peeta. The more I read the book, the more I think him as peeta.

  • Cindy Sue

    I loved the first two books but the last book was a huge dissappointment for me. It just ended so badly. There was no reason to kill Prim and really a people who had fought against the hunger games turned around and did them too…..awful

    • Laura

      Um, that was kinda the point. That an oppressed government is no better than an oppressive government. I thought the ending was exactly what the books needed. How can anyone who has been through what they went through ever have a normal, well-adjusted life? It may have felt dissatisifying from a typical happy-ending book, but it was appropriate for the mood of the whole series.

    • patricia

      Whoa– way to spoil the ending for people who haven’t read the last book!!!!

      • Kelly

        im sorry but all you guys reading the comments when you haven’t finished the last book deserve to be spoiled.

      • Ashley g

        I do not feel bad for you, I read all 3 books in 2 days, they are quick reads and if you haven’t read the last one yet it’s your fault for not making it a priority

    • m1

      Thanks for the spoiler, jerk.

    • Jesus

      Why would you do that? I haven’t even got to the last book yet.

    • Jerry

      Actually the last book was the best in my opinion, i think the reason why she had certain main characters die was because she wanted to get the message out on how much emotional pain war causes. Dont spoil the books please.

      • zee

        if i hadn’t finished all 3 already i’d call u an a*s

    • Lily

      You’re a jerk for spoiling it. I’ve only just completed the first book, moron.

      Now I’ll address some other idiotic comments:

      “im sorry but all you guys reading the comments when you haven’t finished the last book deserve to be spoiled.”
      – What the hell? This article is about the movie. Completing all three books is not a requirement enshrined in law. Jerk.

      “I do not feel bad for you, I read all 3 books in 2 days, they are quick reads and if you haven’t read the last one yet it’s your fault for not making it a priority”

      – As for you, maybe you have all day to lounge around reading books, but earning a living to keep a roof over my head is my priority. I have to go out and earn a living and with what’s left over I can do things like buy the books I want to read in what little leisure time I have. Yes, that means that Monday to Friday, I have to wake up at 5:30a.m. and I don’t get home until 9:45p.m. I guess hard work is a concept an airhead like you could never understand.

  • Brandi

    Wow, they don’t even mention Lyndsy Fonseca, who has actually been given the script for the movie. And I’m just so against Kaya Scodelario for the part. I don’t know what it is about her, but I just don’t see her as Katniss.

    • Kate

      same here. i don’t understand why they want kaya to be katniss so bad? i like lyndsy and alexandra daddario for katniss!

    • Kevin

      Lyndsy Fonseca? She’s like 24 years old! So, um, NO!

      • Brandi

        so? in my opinion, she looks young…and I try not to incorporate Twilight at all but it’s just an example…Robert Pattinson’s like 24, and he’s supposed to be playing someone who is forever 17…i think Lyndsy Fonseca would be fine…seriously, she doesn’t look 24 or whatever age she is

      • Lisa

        I’m 22 and I think that Lyndsy, who is 23, does look older than me. At the very youngest, she looks 20. That may work for the first movie, but you have to to remember that there are 3 movies to be made.

        Lest we forget WHY they have to film the Twilight movies back-to-back. Because they actors age while the characters don’t. Between THG and Mockingjay, only about 2 years tops passed.

        While, in the movie world, they’ll most likely film these over a spam of time; not stacked on top of each other. So, you could potentially have a 27-year-old playing a 17-18 y/o by MJ. 23 can look like a teenager. 27 is not as easy.

        I’d say make the actress about 17-19 right now.

    • zee

      what i don’t get is the whole fascination with English actors and actresses

      • Kristen

        Exactly. I am pretty sure that Disctrict 12 is Appalachia. NO ENGLAND in sight. Get an American actress. Maybe even one from the South. And a teenager please. The story loses a lot if it is 20 somethings. THen it really is just another reality show.

  • Abel

    I hope they cast jodelle ferland as katniss. She fits the role well and is the right age.

    • Felix

      Sshh, quiet! You’ll bring the Twilight-haters down on our heads!

      • m1

        Not really.

  • jj

    Can’t wait for the movie!

  • Briana

    I will admit, I do like the idea of Jodelle because she is 16 and she was Katniss for Halloween and she looked FANTASTIC.

    However, as long as it’s not Kaya, I’m okay. I really…she’s just…not right. That’s all it is. Something about thinking of her as Katniss leaves a bad taste in my mouth.


    Actresses Lyndsy Fonseca and Kaya Scodelario have expressed interest in the film and received scripts in October 2010. Chloe Moretz, Malese Jow and Jodelle Ferland are also interested in the role of Katniss.

    Fingers crossed, things work out to our favor, guys.

  • Kevin

    Kaya Scodelario… yes please.

  • Mr T

    This is pretty much an out and out rip-off of a Japanese movie called “Battle Royale”, which has almost exactly the same premise. The only thing BR doesn’t have is the tv angle – which was added in “The Condemned”, and American action movie that uses many of the same ideas. If you’re interested in this movie or these novels, do yourself an favor and see BATTLE ROYALE – you’ll like it.

    • Lisa

      You might want to read the second and third book in this series. Having seen and read Battle Royale, I can say that they are very different stories after the first book.

    • ?who?

      battle royale is brilliant I’ve read the book seen the movie and I’m currently reading the manga. If people think the hunger games is violent (not really) don’t read BR on an empty stomach

    • Bernard

      Bingo! That hsoolwnels is what left me in the middle about whether this was a true testament of feeling or just showboating for the camera.

  • jk

    CHLOE MORETZ!!!!!!!!!!!

    • MeMe

      No, no, no.
      Judge me, but I would be so on board for Nina Dobrev. She’s fantastic in The Vampire Diaries. And sure, whatever ‘she looks too old’ EVERYONE on movies/tv looks too old for their parts. I accept that.

  • tipsy

    Whoever they cast, she better nail Katniss`s Southern twang. Therefore, a Southerner may be the best choice and there are many actresses from the South.

  • hugergames!♥

    i say someone unknowen should play Katniss.NO ONE FROM TWILIGHT!!!!

    • Abel

      Does that include Jodelle ferland, because after her halloween pics she just looks like Katniss. Besides she was only in eclipse for five minutes

  • Tegan

    I will be so upset if Alexandra Daddario plays Katniss. She already ruined Annabeth Chase from Percy Jackson, she was not right for Annabeth and she is not right for Katniss.

    • Dani

      I could not agree with you more. Everytime she gets mentioned for Katniss I just cringe. She was the worst part of Percy Jackson. She was so awkward during the action sequences there is no way she could pull off the things Katniss has to do.

  • Poppy

    Lyndsy Fonseca. Hands down. Please, oh please, not Kaya…I don’t know why, but I don’t think I could stomach it.

    I’ve always pictured someone like Lyndsy as Katniss. So for me, that’s perfect casting if you give her more of a tan.

  • Jeff C.

    Kaya FTW…Fonseca is just too old.

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