Jennifer Lawrence and Hailee Steinfeld Up for Lead in THE HUNGER GAMES [UPDATED]

     March 2, 2011

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To say that director Gary Ross’ (Pleasantville) adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games is being followed closely by fans is a bit of an understatement. Absolutely pivotal to the success of the film adaptation is the casting of the series’ lead role of Katniss. When describing what they were looking for in actresses for the role, Ross previously stated that what makes the character attractive is her strength, assuredness, defiance “and ultimately her compassion.”

The powers that be are currently searching for the right actress, and now word comes that two of this year’s Academy Award nominees, Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) are in the running. Speaking with MTV, Steinfeld confirmed that she’s met with Ross to discuss the role. For much more, including why Lawrence may be the frontrunner, hit the jump. [Update: Variety has confirmed that Lawrence and Steinfeld are vying for the role, with Lawrence generating the most interest. They also add 14-year-old Abigail Breslin to the list of actresses being considered for the part of Katniss.]

jennifer-lawrence-imageIn addition to Steinfeld’s comments, Lawrence has apparently met with Ross and the studio, and may even be the frontrunner. Lainey Gossip reports (via SlashFilm) that Lawrence has read for the part and the-powers-that-be are very fond of her. Here’s what their report has to say:

“Jennifer Lawrence’s name came up repeatedly. Then, over the weekend, sources confirmed to me exclusively that she’d read for it and they loved her. So much. Like no one else they’ve seen has even come close to what she delivered. The way it was described to me: ‘Jennifer really went for it and she blew them away’. I’m told a deal is being hammered out right now. And they’re almost there. Some details still need to be finalised, and anything can happen where negotiations are concerned, but they’re close. Lionsgate apparently really wants her.”

Now, this could very well turn out to be pure rumor. Nothing has been confirmed, especially whether or not Lawrence has actually read for the role yet. However, even if this report is untrue, one would assume that Lawrence is one of the leading candidates being considered for the part. Katniss is a teenager, and at 20 Lawrence could very well tackle the role.

At 14, Steinfeld is indeed closer to the actual age-range of Katniss. Personally, I’d love to see the young actress take on the part. She showed phenomenal strength in True Grit and I could really see her bringing that same weight and determination to the character. Though Lawrence would be a fine choice as well. I mean, they were both nominated for an Oscar this year, so it’s pretty much win/win.

Ross recently stated that, even though the source material is rather dark, the films will be rated PG-13. He couldn’t see excluding the audience that has so loved the books and stressed that “this book means too much to too many teenagers.” The Hunger Games, the first film in a series of three, is set to hit theaters on March 23rd, 2012.

the-hunger-gamesFor those of you completely lost/unaware of the story of The Hunger Games, here’s a synopsis:

In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’ young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.

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