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Jennifer Lawrence cast as Katniss in “The Hunger Games”

March 19, 2011

On March 17th, Lionsgate Entertainment confirmed that the production of The Hunger Games (2012) has cast Academy Award nominated actress Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) in the lead role of Katniss Everdeen.

In an official press release from the production, The Hunger Games creator author Suzanne Collins and film adaptation director Gary Ross praise Lawrence:

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

“I’m so excited work with Jen and see her bring this character to life,” added Ross. “Katniss requires a young actress with strength, depth, complexity, tenderness, and power. There are very few people alive who can bring that to a role. Jen brings it in spades. She’s going to be an amazing Katniss.”


Lawrence in Winter’s Bone(2010)

Earlier this month, several fans and media outlets expressed concerns that a casting call for a character described as having “dark hair” and “olive skin” only requested Caucasian actors to audition, even though non-Caucasian actors and multiethnic actors also possess Katniss’s physical characteristics. Given The Hunger Games stories takes place hundreds of years into the future, many fans felt Katniss was almost definitely of mixed ethnicity–making her one of very few protagonists in young adult fiction who would be considered biracial or multi-ethnic by “real world” standards.

On March 17th, Entertainment Weekly interviewed director Gary Ross about the casting, asking him point blank whether he and Collins discussed the implications of casting a blonde, Caucasian girl in the role of Katniss.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In the books, Katniss is described as being olive-skinned, dark-haired, possibly biracial. Did you discuss with Suzanne the implications of casting a blonde, caucasian girl?

GARY ROSS: Suzanne and I talked about that as well. There are certain things that are very clear in the book. Rue is African-American. Thresh is African-American. Suzanne had no issues with Jen playing the role. And she thought there was a tremendous amount of flexibility. It wasn’t doctrine to her. Jen will have dark hair in the role, but that’s something movies can easily achieve. [Laughs] I promise all the avid fans of The Hunger Games that we can easily deal with Jennifer’s hair color.

In the interview, Ross redirects fans concerns about racial discrimination as something easily resolved by a bottle of hair dye. At the same time, Ross also states in the interview that Collins felt there was a tremendous amount of “flexibility” casting Katniss. Unfortunately, that “flexibility” was not extended to non-white actors in the casting breakdown distributed by the production.

A Moveline.com editorial characterized Ross’s response as “slightly unsatisfying.”

Below are some of our thoughts on current discussions circulating around this controversial casting decision. We hope the following information will help fans thoughtfully debate the casting choices made by the production.

Katniss as an Appalachian heroine

We believe it’s notable that an actress from Louisville, Kentucky was cast to play a character from Appalachia, particularly considering the negative stereotypes and stigmas that have surrounded that region of the United States. Katniss in The Hunger Games remains one of very few young adult novel protagonists who are from Appalachia and speaks with an Appalachian accent. [Click here for a list of books set in Appalachia.] Whether or not the character will speak with an Appalachian accent in the film is unknown. (We hope so!)

Positive representation of this underrepresented region of the United States is very important. However, we also want to stress that despite prevailing stereotypes that the Appalachia is only comprised of lower income white Americans, the Appalachia is diverse and many different cultural groups have influenced Appalachian culture. For example, the earliest settlers of Appalachia were ancestors to the Cherokee and Iroquois nations; several different Native American tribes would live in the Appalchian region for thousands of years before their forced removal by President Andrew Jackson–The Trail of Tears that resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians resisted removal and still live in Appalachia today. Generations of African Americans have worked in the coal mines, directly inspiring and influencing bluegrass and folk music. Appalachian clog dancing was inspired by a blend of traditional Scotch-Irish, Native American, and African American dances. A group of “tri-racial” people known (sometimes pejoratively) as the Melungeons are unique to the Appalachia region. They are believed to be of mixed European, African, and Native American descent, have dark hair and olive skin, and have historically faced discrimination.

When considering the ancestry of the (albeit fictional) District 12, it’s important to remember that Appalachia, like the rest of the United States, has been historically diverse and continues to diversify in the 21st century.

“Many Caucasian people have olive skin.”

We are seeing this comment being made by people who defend the casting call, which only requested Caucasian actors. While it is true that Caucasians can be described as having an olive skin tone (for example, it is a commonly used descriptor for people of Greek and Mediterranean descent), olive skin tone is also used to describe many people of color. (Recently, a House Republican from the Kansas State Legislature was criticized for characterizing a college student with “olive complexion” as an undocumented immigrant.)

It is not possible to conclude the “real-world” ethnicity of characters like Katniss, Haymitch, and Gale in The Hunger Games simply based on the “olive skin” descriptor in the books. Limiting casting calls to Caucasian actors–particularly when, in Hollywood the word Caucasian is used interchangeably with “white”–prevents talented actors of color from gaining access to auditions.

The casting office proceeded under the assumption that Katniss “should be Caucasian.” This preferential casting language closed off opportunities for actors of color, and reduced possibilities for Katniss to be depicted as multiethnic.

Metaphors and Messages

Aliya, a Guyanese blogger and law student from Toronto, Canada, wrote a compelling essay on why she feels Katniss Everdeen is a Woman of Color. She argues how Katniss is otherized in the text, how Suzanne Collins’ influences included people of color, and how contexts change in the story with different readings of the ethnicity of the protagonist. It’s an interesting perspective and worth a read.

“If Collins intended this metaphor to Third World struggles and wars, and Katniss is a woman of color – then I love this trilogy, because it is the kind of book that would allow women and YA of color (olive or otherwise) to envision their struggles differently. They could see themselves as heroes, as agents for change, as people who can resist instead of merely struggling to exist…

If Collins intended this metaphor, and Katniss is a white girl with skin somewhat darker than her mother, then I hate this book: because then Collins is deliberately appropriating the struggles of millions and placing white protagonists in places where people of color should be (and in reality, are).

Why would the latter possibility upset me enough to hate the books? Because it disallows compassion and empathy. Instead of Northern readers seeing themselves as in the position of the Capitol, they see themselves as the oppressed, hungry girl from District 12 striving against whatever form their oppressions individually take. This would be a tragedy. Additionally, as a woman who grew up in a third world country, this is offensive: it feels like media from a culture that contributes to oppression throughout the world is re-writing a history to feed to children that writes me (and people who look like me) right out of it. The potential for using media and fiction to draw analogies to real life and potentially garner support for real, living people was lost…. In our eagerness to “be” Katniss, are audiences going to forget the Katnisses that actually exist – that actual hunger, and rebel?”

What next?

Because the lead male character, Peeta Mellark, is described as having blonde hair and blue eyes in the novels, this means that the two main characters and heroes in the film will most likely both be played by white actors. Ostensibly, Katniss’s mother and sister will also be cast with light hair and blue eyes as described in the books. Lastly, because the production must cast someone who resembles Katniss to play Gale Hawthorne (in the story, many people believe the two are cousins,) the production must find someone who physically resembles Lawrence in appearance. This means that in the film, the characters closest to the main character will likely all be depicted with white actors.

In the interview, director Gary Ross indicates that the supporting characters of Rue and Thresh will be African American. Beyond these two roles, there are several characters in the novel whose ethnicities are not clearly delineated (Cinna, Haymitch, etc.) Will actors of color be actively recruited and given equal consideration for these roles? Will actors of color be represented or tokenized?

We do not deny that Lawrence is a talented actress–she was clearly favored by the director and author. We do believe the casting breakdown was a barrier to non-white actors. It was unfair that non-white actors with olive skin and dark hair were not recruited in the same way, influencing whether or not they had the same opportunities to audition as white actors had. We hope the production will become more open to recruiting and casting actors of color in their ongoing casting process.

Categories: blog, Featured, The Hunger Games
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About the Author

Marissa Lee is one of the co-founders of Racebending.com

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  • http://Website girl

    I always imagined the main character as having Mediterranean or Native American background. In my opinion a Hispanic person would have best represented the character. If they were going to hire a white actor, they should have hired someone with olive skin. This is just a joke. She should be the sister, not Katniss.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent, balanced assessment.

  • http://dcmoviegirl.blogspot.com dcmoviegirl

    Excellent piece. The thing is, no matter how they cast from here on out, regarding Rue and Thresh in particular, it will still be in keeping with the status quo, when it comes where non-white actors fit in the hierarchy.

    They’ll be supporting and *SPOILER!* they’ll be dying for the far more important to the narrative, -main white characters.

  • http://twitter.com/chalupatime chalupatime

    Ridiculous, the “controversy” here is all in your heads. If the author herself has no issues with it then there’s no issue whatsoever, it’s not LG’s fault fans have created this image of Katniss and they didn’t fufill it.

    This is PC gone amok and yes, I’m a minority. I’ve seen the characters in “A Good Earth” a movie about Chinese people in China played by white actors so you can understand why I’d have a snort of contempt for people who get their panties in a wad over this.

    I mean seriously what are you all upset about? That some token hispanic of mixed black actresses didn’t get to audition for a role they would have zero chance of getting? Do we need a Rooney Rule for Hollywood?

    There are plenty of times when racebending is a real issue, this is not even close to being one of them. All you’ve done with this Katniss nonsense is ruin your credibility like the Boy who cried Wolf.

    And Aliyas post that you transcribed is double standard racism. She has to be “a person of color” because of Katniss’ struggles.

    This is what happened with the bible. People take these passages and take them to where they were never intended to go and then it turns into stuff like the hatred of homosexuality. Only this time we have the author who is alive and willing to make her opinion know and the “Katniss is colored” believers still aren’t convinced.

    If you don’t like it don’t watch the movie and happily read the book and your vision of Katniss. Or better yet write your own book with your perfect 100% colored protagonist. Don’t ruin other people’s enjoyment of the franchise with your ridiculous complaints.

  • http://twitter.com/chalupatime chalupatime

    I wrote than in a huff and might not have gotten some points through, to clarify.

    -You and all the others crying “racebending” are being nitpicky as hell.

    -You are overanalyzing the crap out of this. THG has enough symbolism right in the open without you having to go digging for new ones, ones that aren’t there. I’m pretty sure the author didn’t give that much thought to Applachia much less Katniss’ complexion. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    – When I referenced “The Good Earth” I meant that while I was annoyed by the fact they hired white actors (This movie was made in like 1959 so I wasn’t THAT upset as I would be with a contemporary movie) I got over it and moved on. And that was blatant racebending. You are talking about a character who is racially ambigous at best.

    -I honestly don’t care about what the casting callout said. With Last Airbender the outrage was more understandable, this is just nothing. As the great Allen Iverson would say “We’re talking about PRACTICE.” You guys are taking two words “oliver skin”, “dark hair” and built a religon around it. We’re talking about “olive skin” and “dark hair” NOT “Panem was set in the Middle East” or Katniss is a african sounding name, nothing like that. You’re causing a fuss because of two insignificant words that Suzanne Collins didn’t even give that much thought too because she was planning out the next story arc. If Katniss race was important, duh I dunno she would’ve made it more effing clear.

    -What makes me angry is what you’re doing is leeching onto something popular (The Hunger Games triology) and exploiting it to push your message.

  • Unknown

    To the folks- Appalachian are mostly white, fella. Why do you think about this white actor as miscast? I got white friends who have olive skinned parents and even dark skinned one

  • Angelar

    My father’s family grew up in Appalachia. I have dark hair, dark eyes, and olive skin. As I read this book, for one of the first times, I felt like I was reading about a character who sounded like MY family. Yes, we’re “caucasian.” If we went back far enough, we might discover that we have Lumbee or Cherokee in our family tree. I am not sure. But overall, we are classified as “caucasian.” I am not sure how to take your article. There’s a whole group of people like me – poor white people, who are routinely overlooked in the discourse about marginalized peoples. But we exist. I am a first generation college student who was routinely told my some in my family that I should drop out of high school as soon I reached the age of 16 because it would be legal then, lol. I mean, that was just part of the culture.

    I read so much literature with all my different students in an attempt to let them find characters who appeal to them because the characters are like them. For me, on a very personal level, I was very happy to feel like Suzanne Collins had created a character like me. There are people like me who are classified as white, but who come from this coal-mining area. I understand that white people are not marginalized in the same way as people of color, but to make the argument that people in Appalachia are not marginalized is bizarre to me. Perhaps the author of the essay that you cite is completely unaware of Appalachian culture.

    One of the most beautiful and most poignant things about Hunger Games, in my opinion, is the relationship that Katniss forges with Rue, and later with the people of Rue’s district. In my opinion, this is a clear message to us. There is a marginalization that poor whites and poor people of color share. It is no mistake that those districts ban together to fight oppression in this novel rather than continuing to send their children to kill one another. So, now, why would would chose to argue about the level of pigment in our skin? Why would we not instead think about how to help one another?

    • Marissa Lee

      Hi Angelar, thank you for commenting. I tried to stress in my article above that indeed, the Appalachian region has been subject to stereotypes and negative portrayals in media representation and is a marginalized group. One of the positive aspects of the casting of Jennifer Lawrence, an actress from Appalachia, is that hopefully this group of marginalized people will be represented in the film by her. (Hopefully Katniss will keep her Appalachian accent in the movie!) But we also hope that people of color will be depicted as living in the Seam, too.

      • Alyson

        A quibble: while it is true that Lawrence is from Kentucky, and that parts of Kentucky are in Appalachia, Lawrence’s hometown of Louisville is not in Appalachia (eastern Kentucky), it’s in the bluegrass region of central Kentucky. So Lawrence is not an Appalachian.

      • Marie

        As a person from Kentucky, I can tell you that Louisville is not Appalachia. It is Kentucky, but it is hilly if not flat land, heading to the river and into Indiana.

      • Venom

        Nope, didn’t catch any significant POC there (don’t think there was an accent either). They did however show a largely black region re-enacting the end of Do the Right Thing.

  • Bella12

    I always thought Katniss was Hispanic.

  • KSC

    @Angelar:

    The issue is that the casting director did not consider non-Caucasian (white) actors for the part of Katniss AT ALL.

    I live in Appalachia, and there are black Appalachians who also have olive skin and straight black hair. There are also Native American/American Indian Appalachians who have olive skin and straight black hair. Why, then did the casting directors only look at white women for the role?

    This isn’t about whether or not Appalachians are marginalized (and the article makes it quite clear that the people in this region are). This is about how Hollywood systematically shuts the doors on people who are not white, or who don’t code as white.

    Ask yourself this: if the hair color, skin color and eye color of Katniss did not matter to the casting directors (which is why they cast blond, light skinned, blue-eyed Lawrence) why then was KeKe Palmer, a beautiful, talented actress, not called in to at least audition? Is it because she has dark brown skin? What about Zoe Kravitz? She has olive skin and dark hair. Too black? Fine, what about a young Latina? Seychelle Gabriel? A little too Mexican? Okay, what about a young Native American/American Indian actress…? Oh wait, Hollywood casts white people as Native Americans/American Indians.

    Never mind.

  • http://twitter.com/MitzumiK Hoshiria Turner

    is it wrong that i didn’t really care what race katniss nor any of the other characters were when i was reading the book?
    Katniss-cool girl
    Peeta-sweetheart
    Gale-hot guy
    To be honest, i don’t want this to be a live action movie if people are going to fuss over ethnicity. Make it an anime or something. *shrug*

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  • makena

    Any update now that they have casted Gale and Peeta?

    • http://www.racebending.com Marissa Lee

      We haven’t spoken to the production since Jennifer Lawrence’s casting. Although we correctly predicted that Gale would also be white (despite being described as having olive skin) we did not think he would also be blonde.

  • Jade

    Initially when I heard about Lawrence’s casting, I didn’t think about racebending at all. Actually I was pretty pleased, because I hadn’t seen any of Lawrence’s movies but I’d heard lots about her performance in Winter’s Bone, and I was hoping that she really was a great actor and could pull off Katniss because I really want this to be a well-done movie. So when I saw this on this website I was kind of confused; I hadn’t realized this involved racebending. Even now, I don’t think that it’s a case of “Wow it’s very obvious that Katniss is of the COMPLETELY wrong race and ethnicities just got slighted.”

    I DO think racebending has a point, though, in the way that in the casting call they specifically put out “Caucasian”, and in the fact that this severely limits the chances of minority actors/actresses and tips it in the favour of Caucasians. I see that as being the problem here, and I think it’d be important that that kind of quiet influence of selection should stop.

    So again: the problem lies not with Lawrence’s casting, but in the process itself and with the way that the call was put out there, closing off some doors before it had even begun.

  • KateC

    I think it’s rather pointless to argue this topic. The one and only person who has a say on Katniss’s race/ethnicity is the author. Suzanne Collins hired and artist to draw Katniss and the end result clearly portrayed her as a Causasian. If the person who made the character says she’s white, then Katniss is white, and thus the reason why the casting call was only extended to white females.

    Let’s stop this hate and just enjoy seeing this amazing story come to life on the silver screen.

    • http://www.racebending.com Marissa Lee

      Actually, as far as I am aware the only book cover art for the Hunger Games was commissioned by the publisher in the UK, not by Collins. We were also not able to find any quotes from Collins confirming Katniss was white and even requested a quote from Lionsgate.

      Not sure why you would consider that to be a hateful opinion, but YMMV.

    • Anonymous

      KateC,
      Do not tell anyone to stop anything. This is a far more important issue than your fandom of this book series is allowing you to realize. In fact, it is making you bais. If you read this article and the other one on this site regarding “Rue” you would’ve seen as plain as day that the author specifically said that Katniss had no race defined. So the fact you are claiming she did say Katniss is white is a display of you making up whatever it is in your mind you want to make up in order to pretend that there is no issue.

      Katniss had no race defined and neither did the character of Gale. Therefore the casting process should not have limited those roles to white actors only but they did. That is a example of one of the ways that Hollywood keeps nonwhite actors down and rarely if ever getting big opportunities which is one of the things this site and supports like me are fighting against.

  • Allie

    CAN’T WAIT FOR THE MOVIE ! (:

  • guestalex

    Ok I am happy that they kept true to Thresh and Rue and even happier that they made Cinna Black. But I never thought about it I read Katniss as a tan white female. I did and I’m a black female, who very much stresses diversity. Once I thought about it I did think that she could be Hispanic, and I don’t agree with putting a race down in the casting call for a character who’s race was never specified. Even in those terms I think it can still be looked passed such as the case for Donald Glover as Spiderman. But I do think Jennifer is talented and I do think it was a good casting choice.

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  • Superman64

    I saw the movie and, the sad thing is, it’s great. One of the best movies I’ve seen. The fact that it’s tainted with Hollywood racism (rightfully) bothers the hell out of me and the fact that he deflected the question by saying ‘hair dye’ shows that they refuse to even admit that this Hollywood racism exists.

    What’s also sad is that even the Red Letter Media guys, who are actually intelligent, are completely oblivious to this and list a bunch of movies with black main characters…all of which ‘just happened’ to be movies that dealt specifically with racism.

    Yes, most of America (I hope) isn’t as racist as Hollywood purports but the fact that they continue to refuse actors of other ethnicities in main character roles sends a clear message of ‘you can only root for white heroes’. This is how you brainwash people: make them think that white is the standard and that all other races are the deviation of the standard.

    Now, to be fair to the author and the actual actor who plays Katniss: I do not believe either of them are racist and I’m sure the author isn’t aware of something that Hollywood always tries to hide. BUT. Gary Ross seems incredibly aware of this and the fact that he doesn’t even fess up to it is disgusting.

    • Tisiphone

      I think Collins understands race and history. Her books were meant to be multicultural although now there’s also District culture. Ross… I find that there is occasionally the progressive director who isn’t progressive in every way and will really understand and revolutionize one thing but remain clueless on another. I suspect people who make film studied how to make film and less how to critique films and film’s relation to culture.

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  • Shayla_loves_you

    my opinion is it shouldnt matter if rue or thresh or anyone else for that matter is black or white who cares we are all equal we all have feelings and it shouldnt make you not want to watch the movies that stupid!! Get over it we all dont always get what we want in life. Thats life!

  • Concerned viewer

    Good article.  This matters.  I’ll boycott the movie till it comes out on video and rent it at a local video shop where proceeds hopefully won’t reach the makers.  And I’ll read the book first.
    Shayla_loves_you —  If you think we’re all a bunch of whiners consider– 
    If you were an actrice who was intentionally screened out based on race, would you
    feel we were all a bunch of whiners who should just sit back and enjoy?  Curb you
    own complaining.  People have a right to talk about the politics of the entertainment 
    they consume, and its good to think critically about everything even if we do consume it 
    and enjoy it.

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  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry, but that ‘Why Katniss Everdeen is a Woman of Color’ article was somewhat racist, as was pointed out by nearly every commentator on the home page. The author cannot seem to fathom that a white protagonist is capable of struggle because, apparently, only POC have struggles.

  • F7335

    I don’t understand why a pale white actress was used for Katniss anyway, as the book clearly says multiple times that she has olive coloured skin. Also that she has black hair, so why they decided to die it brown, I don’t know. Either way it seems that white people were cast over coloured people, even though they are not correct for that role.

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  • Anonymous

    The author had no problem with it, why should the audience?

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  • I LOVE The Hunger Games

    I love The Hunger Games movie, all the books, and Jennifer Lawrence! I’m really glad they chose her to play Katniss Everdeen :)

  • I LOVE The Hunger Games

    I also wrote the one below this and I forgot to add something: I’m also really glad that they chose Josh Hutcherson to play Peeta Mellark, I love him also :)

  • Pandora

    I’m confused. Yes, Katniss is described as having olive oil skin and grey eyes. But, I think people are missing one obvious fact: Katniss has a BLONDE haired BLUE eyed mother as well as a blonde, blued eyed SISTER. Not only is she white, but her father would have had to have at least some Causcasian genes in order to produce both dark and fair-haired children.
    Yes it would make sense if she had at least some Native American ancestry, but it’s obvious that she is white (plain and simple). Even more interesting is how some want to completely browse over the fact that the film-makers even bothered to cast African Americans in the major roles of Rue and Thresh (and Cinna?). What especially rubs me the wrong way is how some have insinuated that the actress and the author may be racist, themselves. Seriously, there are so many instances where these accusations are 100 % valid, yet you’re expending them on something as vague as this?
    All of this I can state as a proud African American woman with some Cherokee ancestry. Jennifer Lawrence certainly wouldn’t have been my first choice, but for once I will side with the casting call (something I can’t say too often), because; would it really make sense for a non-white/abundantly bi-racial girl to be doting after a blond haired, blue eyed biological sibling?

  • DC79

    Vin Diesel has a blond blue eyed brother, as a real life example.

  • Ashe

    I’m biracial-half white and half black-and people have mistaken me for latina and native american. My little brother is multiracial-black, white and native american-and he’s white-passing, with blue eyes and blonde hair. I’ve gotten plenty of people who are stunned(!) that we’re brother and sister.

    So, it’s nice to see someone who actually understands. It’s really annoying when people operate under the mindset that unless your features match up precisely, you’re not related. :’D

    • El DiabloGirl

      Thank you! It’s true; in my family which has Scottish Highlander and Cherokee ancestry on what is supposedly the ‘Black American’ side alone, and then Russian and Polish Ashkenazi Jewish on the European side, and then a whole bunch of other ethnicities when we count the in-laws, we have everything ranging from rosy brown skin with straight black hair to pale pink skin with curly blond hair, brown eyes, blue eyes, hazel eyes, and green eyes… with children differing from their parents in any number of combinations because genetics just plays out in unique ways – It’s a mixed family! And you don’t need to be a scientist to figure this out (though, since blond hair and light eyes are recessive, it’s especially likely that a blond mother could have a dark haired, dark eyed child). You’d think to some people a dark haired, dark eyed child with a blond, blue eyed mother represents something akin to a cow giving birth to a kitten. LOL.

  • Amy

    A person with olive skin is not white. I have olive skin but I don’t consider myself white.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Sarah.Wilson.12369 Sarah Wilson

    So Katniss was described as having “straight black hair” and “olive skin.” – Olive
    skin could indeed be seen to some as Native American but just because you
    imagined it so- it doesn’t mean its racist when they cast a white girl. My
    Grandparents, mother and brother are Caucasian yet all have olive skin- it can
    go both ways people which is why I believe this ‘outrage’ to be ridiculous and
    petty.

    They didn’t cast Jennifer Lawrence for her ethnics- It’s about acting, and how she portrayed Katniss so perfectly- Suzanne Collins was a part of the casting
    process and said “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.” I hate how everyone is saying they cast wrong when the author of the
    damn book thought Jennifer was the best. “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.”

    The racism people should really be concerned about it that of what came from
    the audience- They were outraged when Rue and Thresh were cast as black! When it’s far clearer in the book that they have dark skin opposed to Katniss. Rue: “She has dark brown skin and eyes.” Thresh: “has the same dark skin as Rue, but the resemblance stops there.”

    “The problem lies not with Lawrence’s casting, but in the process itself and with the way that the call was put out there, closing off some doors before it had even begun.” – Jade

    • happyappa

      First of all, people need to stop using “Caucasian” to mean white. The word has a racist and ugly history. Second, why are so many people arguing “Well white people can olive skin, white people can come from appalachia, white people can have straight black hair, this casting is justified!!!!!!!” Yet they don’t understand that wocs can fulfill all those points too. You quote the racist comments about Rue and Thresh so it should come as no surprise to you that characters that don’t have a race explicitly described are defaulted to white and even where they are, shit like this still happens.

      And it’s hilarious that you say Lawrence was the best for the role, and yet you quote the problematic “Caucasians only” aka whites only casting.

      “Suzanne Collins was a part of the casting process”

      btw, authors can be sellouts too. Just because Collins gave her stamp of approval doesn’t justify the whitewashing.
      example – http://www.racebending.com/v4/blog/supporting-character-whitewashed-film-adaptation-warm-bodies/

      She also said this: “They were not particularly intended to be biracial. It is a time period where hundreds of years have passed from now. There’s been a lot of ethnic mixing.”
      And ethnic mixing means what exactly? All white main characters?

      Oh gee at least the white characters suffer from oppression and the token black people who die aren’t whitewashed.

    • Venom

      But Jennifer Lawrence is NOT olive, and also too old. Someone like Victoria Justice would have been perfect.

      • JLP

        There were thirty actresses who auditioned for the role. Jennifer Lawrence got it because she had qualities the others did not, like height and experience. She is a natural at being hardened.

        • Venom

          They should not have even considered her in the first place. She is not olive, does not have straight black hair, and too old.

          • JLP

            Only going by looks? How shallow of you.

          • Venom

            They’re supposed to be young, that’s the whole point. When you have a 20-something who clearly looks 20-something pretending to be 14, not only is that hard to take seriously, but the visceral impact for the author’s message is lost.
            Oh and height is also a superficial aspect and the people who made this movie only wanted white girls. They’re much more guilty of being shallow.

          • JLP

            Jennifer Lawrence was 21 when she was cast, not much older than some of the others they considered, like Emily Browning, Lyndsy Fonseca (who is 26 and is still playing a teenager in Kick-Ass), or Emma Roberts. I think Jennifer still looks like a teenager. She looks no more different than when she was on Monk, at 16. You can get away with early 20-somethings playing teenagers. Plus, they likely have greater acting abilities.

            Andrew Garfield is nearly 30, older than what Tobey Maquire was when he played Spider-Man, and I had no idea he was that old until I looked it up.

            Never work with children or animals.- WC Fields

          • Venom

            She’s too, mature I guess you could say. In Silver Linings Playbook, she had been married and widowed for some time. Someone who can do that clearly is not a convincing adolescent. And again, that’s the whole point of this story, that children are fighting to the death. Imagine if the artist of the Tale of Two Hoodies painting had depicted the person brandishing the Skittles as an adult. Doesn’t have the same impact now does it?

            And BTW Garfield was definitely way too old and miscast in that part. But then the whole movie was an awful mess only made to hold on to the license. Doing justice to the material was not a priority.

  • Brianna Walker

    Can’t understand why they couldn’t find a Caucasian actor with Native American descent. They exist. Actually, my mother and her sister and brothers and father and mother and their brothers and sisters were/are INDEED white/Indian. I imagined Katniss the way I saw my mother when she was a young child. Dark hair and olive skin. My grandmother has ‘caucasian’ on her birth certificate due to the fact she was adopted by two white persons in the 30’s, but boy did she look DIFFERENT. Dark black hair and skin that could tan to look like a Brazillian. Her husband was the very same. In one summer, he could go from a white guy with a tan to a color nearly black. I grew up thinking this was how caucasians looked. Apparently, they tend to be the minority. But, Katniss can definitely be caucasian and have that skin color. However, Lawrence doesn’t reflect that. There are caucasian actors who do. On a side note, I loved Lawrence in the film. I think she was portrayed well. If she was described as having a skin color ‘that would turn almost black in the summer’ and she was casted as Lawrence, I would have a problem. Casting was able to have their loophole with Katniss.