The Hunger Games: Author takes book to the big screen

Author Suzanne Collins talks about the challenges of adapting her beloved book to the big screen and her thoughts on Oscar-nominated actress Jennifer Lawrence playing her beloved heroine Katniss.

Based on the books by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games is a trilogy that has earned such a huge cult following that Hollywood couldn’t help but take notice.

The story revolves around Katniss, a 16-year-old girl who is forced to enter a grueling competition—a futuristic televised event in which 12 to 18 year olds from the 12 different regions of Panem (the former North America) are forced to battle one another to the death, as a means of illustrating the ruling government’s might.

Hollywood It Girl and Oscar-nominated actress Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone, X-Men: First Class) has hit the jackpot for the lead role of Katniss in what is said to be the next big Hollywood franchise.

“As the author, I went into the casting process with a certain degree of trepidation. Believing your heroine can make the leap from the relative safety of the page to the flesh and bones reality of the screen is something of a creative act of faith,” Collins said in a statement . “But after watching dozens of auditions by a group of very fine young actresses, I felt there was only one who truly captured the character I wrote in the book.  In her remarkable audition piece, I watched Jennifer embody every essential quality necessary to play Katniss. 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.”

Collins has also revealed that she was flattered when her book was optioned for the film and assures fans she’ll be involved in the process—especially with the script. “When you’re adapting a novel into a two-hour movie you can’t take everything with you,” Collins said. “The story has to be condensed to fit the new form. Then there’s the question of how best to take a book told in the first person and present tense and transform it into a satisfying dramatic experience. In the novel, you never leave Katniss for a second and are privy to all of her thoughts so you need a way to dramatize her inner world and to make it possible for other characters to exist outside of her company. Finally, there’s the challenge of how to present the violence while still maintaining a PG-13 rating so that your core audience can view it. A lot of things are acceptable on a page that wouldn’t be on a screen. But how certain moments are depicted will ultimately be in the director’s hands.”

Lawrence told EW.com: “I couldn’t be happier about being a part of The Hunger Games and to play Katniss. I have a huge responsibility to the fans of this incredible book and I don’t take it lightly. I will give everything I have to these movies and to this role to make it worthy of Suzanne Collin’s masterpiece.”

The Hunger Games movie is currently slated for a March 23, 2012 release date.

ABOUT THE BOOKS (Scholastic):

The Hunger Games

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see. Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Catching Fire

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Mocking Jay

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.

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Comments & Discussion

  1. blaise • March 23, 2011 @ 10:33 PM

    This had so much potential to be a great movie but i think limiting it to a pg-13 rating is a mistake. What made this book so great was the bloody battles and cruelty. It’s not that i think blood and cruelty make a good movie. This story depends on it, without it you lose the entire idea of how horrible the hunger games are. This pg-13 rating sounds like a money grab to me.

  2. Andrea • March 24, 2011 @ 1:22 PM

    What I hated about this book was the blood and the cruelty. It completely made me sick. I don’t know what kind of people would find a story about children killing each other for other people’s entertainment, entertaining. Oh, yeah, actually, I know what kind of people. The kind of people who live in the Capitol (in the book). If that’s the kind of person you are, my condolences.

  3. Amanda • March 25, 2011 @ 2:19 PM

    It’s also incredibly depressing. There’s no way to get out of being part of this slaughter. If you have a child, you have a good chance of him or her being murdered in the games and what’s more, you are forced to watch him/her being butchered on TV. Who would even have children in that society? The government doesn’t even let them have a chance to feed themselves. Almost all the children are chronically underfed and many die of starvation before they’re even old enough to be chosen to murder or be murdered. I only read the first one. It has a really ambiguous ending and from reading the descriptions of the other two, I see it doesn’t get any better.

  4. Marie • April 29, 2011 @ 12:46 AM

    This book was so depressing but it was really good too. But I dont believe that people would actually have kids with the thought of them being murdered by another child on national television. That would be the most gruesome thing to watch ever!!! Plus those capitol people were so stupid and obsessed with themselves. I wanted to throw the book on the floor when they were talking about how excited they were to watch the hunger games but I was so obsessed with the book I kind of couldn’t. I do not want to go watch this movie. Id rather go jump off a cliff then watch a movie about children killing each other in an arena no matter how much I loved the book. (minus the killing parts)

  5. Rose • December 22, 2011 @ 5:24 PM

    Jennifer Lawrence may be blonde and pale- skinned. Josh Hutcherson may be brown-haired and brown-eyed. Gale wasn’t who we expected either. But you can die their hair blonde or brunette, and you can make their skin tanner. It doesn’t matter about the looks! Sure, they aren’t te picture perfect-looking Kattniss, or Peeta. It’s not what they look like, it is their acting talents that got them the role. Ignore eveything else. These are talented actors and act

  6. Rose • December 22, 2011 @ 5:25 PM

    …acterresses! Appreciate them!
    Thank you

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