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Tag: The Hunger Games (21-30 of 35)

'The Hunger Games': An open letter to director Gary Ross

Hunger-Games-directorImage Credit: Lee Roth/RothStock/PR PhotosDear Gary Ross: According to Variety, you’re all-but-officially the director of the Hunger Games movie. Congratulations! You haven’t directed a movie in seven years — Seabiscuit, saw it– and now you’re at the center of the next big young-adult franchise. Hooray! Now, I hope you won’t mind, but I have one minor request: Please, please, please, please, don’t make The Hunger Games gritty. Don’t shoot the movie with handheld cameras. Don’t bleach all the color out of the film stock until everything looks like rusted Depression-era gunmetal. Don’t forget: Katniss Everdeen is not Jason Bourne.

Now, I’m no snob. Gritty can be cool. Heck, calling a movie “gritty” used to be a compliment. Saving Private Ryan, The Lord of the Rings, and The Bourne Identity all took sainted genres known for glossy excess — the war film, the fantasy epic, the espionage thriller — and smeared them in mud. Actors spoke every line in an angry whisper. The color scheme was monochromatic, mostly hovering between comatose-blue and industrial-gray. It was awesome…for awhile. But now, “gritty” is everywhere. We’ve seen the Gritty James Bond movie, the Gritty Superhero movie, the Gritty Twilight movie, the Gritty Terminator movie. We’ve seen Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, the single muddiest movie ever made. READ FULL STORY

'The Hunger Games': Jodelle Ferland dresses as Katniss for Halloween

jodellemicah/Twitpic.com

Jodelle Ferland had a tiny part in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse as Bree Tanner, but for her Halloween costume, she set her sights on a lead role. The actress tweeted a few images of herself dressed up as Katniss Everdeen, complete with a Mockingjay pin, a bow and arrow, and the District 12 tribute’s iconic braid. Was this a stealth audition for the upcoming movie? Ferland insisted that she’s just a Games fanatic, tweeting, “I thought Katniss would be a really fun costume. Don’t take it so seriously…I’m not trying to say, ‘Hey, look at me. I should be Katniss.’ It’s not a competition.”

True, it’s not a competition. But with rumors circulating about other actresses receiving the Hunger Games script, this is an intriguing new development. I was operating under the mistaken impression that Ferland was roughly 10 years old, but she’s actually 16…the same age as Katniss in the first book. What do you think, Shelf Lifers? Should Ferland’s name be thrown into the running for Katniss? Or do you think she looks too young for the part? Shouldn’t she at least get points for dressing as Katniss two years before everybody else does?

Tyra Banks gives 'The Hunger Games' some love

tyra-banks-hunger-gamesImage Credit: Sylvain Gaboury/PR PhotosYet another celebrity has joined the chorus of tweets touting The Hunger Games. Tyra Banks, who’s in the midst of writing her own entry into the Western canon, just mentioned that she finished Catching Fire, the second book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy. How good did she think it was? “Soooooo good!!!” That is especially impressive, since six o’s and three exclamation points is the highest possible score in Tyra’s rating system. (By comparison, she thought Twilight was “Soooo good!!” and she broke with critical consensus by only giving the new Franzen a tepid “Soo good!”)

'The Hunger Games' versus the ratings game: How will the movie get a PG-13?

hunger-games-ratingBooks are one of the last unrated media. It’s probably that old maxim, “Well, at least they’re reading,” that has kept the Tipper Gores and the Joe Liebermans of the world from slapping a parental warning on the cover of YA novels (“Warning: Graphic paragraphs ahead”). But once these books are turned into movies, all such bets are off. The MPAA gets to rub their hands together, purr “Exceeellent,” and slap on a rating that may or may not be complete nonsense.

The Hunger Games poses a particularly interesting problem. The book is designed for readers 13-and-up, the same group covered by a PG-13 rating, but this is no Harry Potter. As dark as the later books and films in J.K. Rowling’s series got, and as malicious and evil as Voldemort was, they in no way match the violence and horror of 24 individuals battling to the death as televised bloodsport. Arrows through the throat, spears in the side, faces chewed off by wolves. Add to that the fact that it’s children, as young as 12, on the receiving and giving ends of these attacks, and you can begin to understand how there will probably be some issues translating this story from the page to the screen. It’s important to note that all this killing serves a very distinct purpose in the books. The Hunger Games is a war novel, and Collins means it to reflect the horror and destruction that accompanies human conflict. No deaths are portrayed glibly, not even those of the villains. But it may be too much to ask the organization that cites “slime,” “quirky situations,” and “intense depiction of very bad weather” as reasons for giving a movie a harsher rating to recognize that distinction. So how will The Hunger Games movie pull off a PG-13?

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'The Hunger Games': Taking the book world (and Hollywood) by storm

hunger-gamesMove over, Bella Swan. Katniss Everdeen is the new tween It Girl. The tough-as-nails teenage heroine of Suzanne Collins’  best-selling trilogy The Hunger Games already has her own Facebook page and Wikipedia profile. This summer, Mockingjay, the third and final book, moved more than 450,000 copies in its first week. “Book 3 was the breakthrough book for Harry Potter and Twilight, too,” says HG editor David Levithan, Scholastic’s executive editorial director. “We’re hitting right on schedule.”

The Hunger Games takes place in a bleak, postapocalyptic world where, every year, 24 children are randomly selected and forced to battle to the death on television. And while the saga — which kicks off when Katniss volunteers for the bloodfest in order to save her sister — hasn’t yet reached the cultural saturation of Stephenie Meyer’s megahit, comparisons are inevitable: Both are addictively readable young-adult series about a female teen in a complicated love triangle. But the similarities end there. HG is more thoughtful and much, much darker. The books (which hide a compelling antiwar message behind the veneer of a tween thriller) are exceptionally well written and expertly paced, with near-constant suspense. And unlike Twilight‘s passive, angsty Bella, Katniss is a self-possessed young woman who demonstrates equal parts compassion and fearlessness. READ FULL STORY

'Hunger Games': Is Rue black? And should race matter when you're casting the movie?

Hunter-Games-Willow-ChloeImage Credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images; Michael Kovac/Wire Record 20862974So far, most early Hunger Games casting predictions have focused on Katniss Everdeen (see the Great Kaya/Lyndsy Debate) and the boys who love her. But what about Rue? The youngest tribute (12 years old) in the 74th Hunger Games, Rue would be a difficult role for any pre-teen actress. Adding some complexity: the fact that Rue is clearly described as having “satiny brown skin” on page 98. Don’t worry if you didn’t know that Rue and her fellow District 11 tribute Thresh were black. I didn’t either after my first read. (Like most people, I raced through the book in about three seconds.) But now that it’s time to cast the movie, we should ask: How important is it that Rue be played by an African American actress?

You could argue that, in Panem, race matters much less than which district you’re from. It wouldn’t radically alter the structure of THG if Rue were played by, say, Chloe Moretz. But it feels like there should be some color in this movie, if only to avoid something like the color-bleached Last Airbender or the caucasiafied Earthsea. And there’s arguably a deeper level of meaning to Rue’s ethnicity: one commenter on Keith Staskiewicz’s recent post argued that District 11, where citizens work all day in the fields and live in fear of the Peacekeepers, explicitly references plantation life in antebellum South.

What do you think, Shelf Lifers? Would you be offended if they didn’t cast a black actress for Rue? Doesn’t bigscreen sci-fi/fantasy just need more non-white actors on principle? Do you agree with our choice of Willow Smith for the part, or have the fates decreed that Chloe Moretz absolutely must have a role in this franchise?

Kaya Scodelario and Lyndsy Fonseca receive 'The Hunger Games' script

hunger-games-castingImage Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Joe Scarnici/FilmMagic.com; Dave M. Benett/Getty ImagesWho will play the girl on fire? It’s still early in the casting process for the upcoming movie adaptation of The Hunger Games, but there are already some names popping up in connection with the much-desired lead role of Katniss Everdeen. The heavily fan-touted Skins actress Kaya Scodelario apparently tweeted yesterday that she had received “a certain script for a film based on a book,” referring to the Suzanne Collins-penned screenplay. The tweets were later deleted, but a screen capture can be found here. Additionally, Lyndsy Fonseca of Kick-Ass and Nikita told NextMovie at New York Comic Con that she was also sent the script. Not to toot our own Magic 8-Ball—it usually just says “Ask Again Later”—but this means that for now it’s basically EW’s pick vs. EW readers’ pick.

Except…there are rumors abounding that Fonseca’s Kick-Ass co-star Chloe Moretz is lobbying for the part as well, which puts the age range of our potential Katnisses from 13 all the way to 23. Clearly there’s still a ways to go before we find out definitively who will be notching her first arrow as The Hunger Games heroine, but what do you think of the options so far? Is Moretz too young? Fonseca too old? Scodelario too just right? All three are hoping the odds will be ever in their favor, but there can only be one Katniss Everdeen. Who gets your vote?

'The Hunger Games': How reality TV explains the YA sensation

hunger-gamesImage Credit: CBS/Landov; FoxThe Hunger Games is an incisive satire of reality television shows. It’s easy to compare Suzanne Collins’ series to earlier “totalitarian government/media bloodsport” stories like The Running Man and Battle Royale. But there’s a key difference. In those earlier most-dangerous-game stories, the bloodsports were essentially ghoulish game shows (the film version of Running Man made this explicit by casting Family Feud host Richard Dawson the villain.) But The Hunger Games was written in a very different media context. Collins has discussed how the initial spur for the series came when she was channel-flipping between war coverage and reality TV. Just consider how effectively Collins weaves so many reality TV tropes into her story:

The Makeover: One of the great running subplots on American Idol is the steady Hollywood-ization of the contestants over the course of a season. Remember when Clay Aiken had glasses? Or when Adam Lambert didn’t wear guyliner? Practically the first third of Games focuses on a similar makeover process, including a full-body wax.

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Why 'The Hunger Games' isn't the new 'Twilight'

It’s Twilight all over again.

How many times have I heard that in the two years since The Hunger Games came out? Too many too count. And I have to say, it continues to baffle me: These novels could not be more different. Stephenie Meyer’s is more of a traditional romance (populated, I grant you, by some pretty untraditional characters); while Suzanne Collins’ is a tale of war and survival.

Is it that both books star unforgettable women? I suppose you could say that in the most sweeping and general sense, Katniss Everdeen and Bella Swan are alike: Both have cores of steel. They know what they want, and they aren’t going to back down. But for me, any similarity ends there.

Forged by famine, disease, and unbelievable hardship, Katniss, 16, regularly slips beneath the electrified barbed wire fence to hunt and forage for her her family–a crime punishable by death. She’s not interested in romance. She’s not big on forgiveness (even when it comes to her own mother). And when her younger sister, Primrose, is selected by lottery to participate in the barbaric murder ritual called The Hunger Games, Katniss steps in and takes her place. Bella, on the other hand, has known sadness but not poverty or want.  Arriving in Forks to live with her dad, knowing no one, she’s the shy girl, the outcast, who’s suddenly plucked from obscurity by the ravishingly handsome Edward Cullen. Hers is the stuff of classic fairy tales; she’s a princess who must be rescued, time and time again, by her one of her two prince charmings, either the vampire or the werewolf. Frankly, compared to Katniss, Bella is simply the more passive character: For the most part, things happen to her. Katniss, on the other hand, copes with disaster by strategizing–and bulldozing–her way through the situation. Does she ever need to be rescued? Absolutely. But  she also rescues Peeta–a real or feigned love interest?–more than once along the way.

That brings me to the love triangle issue. Could it be that people compare the two books because their heroines must choose between two men? Again, I don’t find this valid. Bella, it seems to me, never wavers in her love for Edward, despite Jacob’s devotion. In contrast,  I’m left with the feeling that Katniss may very well not know what love is at all. She may have been too badly damaged by war, by deprivation, by emotional and physical torture to ever be able to love fully and normally. Whatever she feels for Peeta or for Gale, it isn’t the headlong devotion Bella has for Edward.  More importantly, the question of whom Katniss will end up with isn’t what drives the narrative.  In other words, the question isn’t, Which one will she marry? The question is, Will she live until the end of the book?

So weigh in, Shelf Lifers. Do you think Twilight and The Hunger Games tread the same territory?

'The Hunger Games': Celebrities tweet their love

Hunger-Games-trilogy-tweetsImage Credit: Bob Charlotte/PR Photos (2); Jason Kempin/Getty ImagesA few weeks ago, Kristen Bell professed her love for Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy on Twitter. But it seems she’s not the only celeb to give The Hunger Games love in 140 characters or less. Here’s a sample of other celebs who can’t get enough of the books:

Elizabeth Banks: (actress, most recently seen on 30 Rock as Avery Jessup)

  • “MOCKINGJAY!!! Clearing three days of my life to devour this book. 3rd in Hunger Games trilogy. Read these!”

John Gallagher Jr.: (actor, Broadway star of American Idiot)

  • I just finished The Hunger Games and must IMMEDIATELY get to a book store to procure the second entry! Now reading… http://twitpic.com/2cbf0s
  • 1st copy fresh from a just opened shipment box. Thanks Book Court! http://twitpic.com/2ef1nf
  • Finished Catching Fire of the Hunger Games trilogy. Don’t know how most fans of the series waited a whole year for 3rd book.
  • It’s release day for Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins! Get your copy today! No I’m not working for the PR team. Just a really big fan/dork.
  • Had to put down Janis Ian for this. 100 pages in. It’s a nail biter! http://twitpic.com/2ipxyz
  • Just landed in LA. I spied several castmates reading The Hunger Games on the plane. It’s spreading!

Jodelle Ferland: (actress, most recently seen in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse as Bree)

  • @ZoeyActress Have I read them? Like 5 times! haha Im totally obsessed with them they are AMAZING! Being Katniss would be a dream come true=)
  • Hm….wonder where I could get a bow and arrows…I think I know who I wanna be for Halloween ;)
  • @JoMarie15 I was Gale before…but then I was converted to Peeta after Mockingjay! (gale was a bit of a jerk in it)
  • I got the Mockingjay pin! =) http://twitpic.com/2nl5y4
  • BTW I got my Mockingjay pin at Borders while I was at the airport (it’s US only store) & it’s actually a keychain, gonna turn it into a pin!

Melinda Doolittle:

  • “@SpunkyC 3rd installment of The Hunger Games series!” and “@gavincreel If you like fiction, you should read The Hunger Games! :-)”

And if showing love via Twitter isn’t enough, CBS Style named the trilogy one of this fall’s must-haves to carry around. And at a recent trip to a bookstore, President Obama’s daughters Sasha and Malia picked up titles from the trilogy.

Have you read The Hunger Games? And do you know of other celebrities who enjoy the books? Let me know in the comments below.

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