Media Consumers for Entertainment Equality
With so many characters of color, The Hunger Games, based on the dystopian young adult novels by Suzanne Collins, heralds an unprecedented opportunity for young actors of color to star in a tentpole film. In 2010 and 2011, Racebending.com received a number of emails from fans of The Hunger Games who had seen online casting speculation exclusively centering on the casting of white actors.
Racebending.com has placed repeated calls to Lionsgate to speak to their diversity officers. In addition, Racebending.com has sent letters to Lionsgate President Alli Shearmur, who will be overseeing the production of The Hunger Games. Click here to read a letter that was sent on November 9th, 2010. In the letter, we remind Lionsgate to consider actors of color for the role of Katniss encourage Lionsgate to “affirm its commitment to diversity” and “encourage the production of The Hunger Games to pursue a fair and open casting process.”
For months, our attempts to contact Lionsgate received no response or follow up. We were able to speak with a producer of the film in March 2011. We urged Lionsgate Entertainment to affirm its commitment to diversity, encourage the production of The Hunger Games to pursue a fair and open casting process, and hope that the final cast will reflect the author’s intent of diversity.
Unfortunately, the production would not revise the casting breakdown for Katniss to state “Olive skin/Dark hair. Submit Any Ethnicity” instead of simply “Caucasian.” That being said, we were able to express our opinion that Rue should be played by a black actress and that actors of color should be allowed to audition for characters who did not have a clearly delineated ethnicity in the books, such as Gale, Cinna, Haymitch, and the tributes. We firmly believe that any scifi depiction of the future should be at least as diverse if not more diverse than the world we live in today.
On March 17th, 2011, Jennifer Lawrence was announced as playing the role of Katniss. More information here: Jennifer Lawrence cast as Katniss in “The Hunger Games”.
If you are a fan of The Hunger Games and are interested in volunteering, please contact us!
We need hardcore fans of the series to brief Racebending.com staffers who are less familiar with the series. We needs folks to snip quotes from the books. We need people who are tracking the casting of the film already anyway to keep us up to date on the latest news.
We would love to post guest articles from fans about how classism and racism intersect in the world of The Hunger Games.