Hunger Games Movie News: A young Seneca Crane, Most Tributes in place, extras and doubles being cast in Western NC

As filming time draws near for the cinematic adaptation of The Hunger Games, our Hollywood Gamemakers keep dropping  new pieces into their game. Just cast— Wes Bentley as Seneca Crane, head Gamemaker. Strangely enough, Crane doesn’t actually appear in the novel at all, except in the group of Gamemakers Katniss breaks up with her arrow-through-the-apple-in-the-pig’s-mouth trick. Collins doesn’t even reveal his name until Catching Fire when President Snow tells Katniss that Crane’s sentimental choice to crown both Katniss and Peeta as Victors in the 74th Games has led to his execution and replacement with Plutarch Heavensbee. Evidently, the  movie folks are expanding Crane’s role. Though he’s a minor character, we can infer a great deal about him (see the post on birds that delves into his name), but it is interesting that, in the film, Crane will be a young, attractive man (I don’t know about anyone else, but I pictured a sort of John Gielgud type, feeling sorry for those sweet kids and perhaps a little senile and confused about reality after years of thinking he was Zeus), and will apparently have a large role, hence the big announcement. This may tie in with rumors that there will be more back story in the film, filling us in about the rebellion and other events previous to the Reaping that throws Katniss into the arena. Perhaps the Pearl  Plot will get some justification! Other characters far more important than Crane have yet to be cast (Cinna, the Prep Team, even Haymtich, all still up in the air).

Cato and Clove are still big question marks on our Facebook Tribute score card, though they and the District 10 Tributes are the only remaining blanks. I’ve noticed a strange trend in the young faces popping up on that handy little tool. Many of the boys are ethnically interesting, indicated both by their names and their features. Others, like that amazing-looking boy for 4, have memorable, unique faces. While all the girls are, of, course, pretty, very few of them really stand out or seem unusual (though each boy is very much an individual).  The exception for me is District 9/Annie Thurman, who, like her District partner, looks so very young. Wow. Is the cookie-cutter effect of most of the girls merely because these are head shots done by the Gamemakers who produce cute, perky young women for the consumption of our media-driven world? Or is this another indication of the arena that is Hollywood, where all the kids already have their own stylists?

Here in Western North Carolina, young people who fit the physical descriptions of  the actors playing the principals are being recruited as stand-ins. Extras are expected to be booked soon, so I’ll let you know if any of my hopeful friends and colleagues make the cut. It sounds like the extra folks (whose Facebook page has been very informative; h/t to Michelle for sending me there!) are still seeking men who look like farmers, miners, and factory workers, as well as African-Americans of all ages and sizes. This does indicate that there is some effort, at least with background, to create Districts that look like they are inhabited by real, live, people who have suffered. Their difficulty in rounding up the men they need, as well as those who are not Anglo, stems in part from the fact that they are working in a really “vanilla” area of the country (trust me; I live here. Our ethnic minorities are usually Latino farm workers, college students at the universities,  or folks from over in Cherokee. I was trying to think of people  I could inform about the extra work, but nearly anyone I thought of lives too far away to participate.). But there is also another force at work here. Clearly, teenagers, especially affluent ones, showed up in droves for the extra calls because they weren’t fooled by  the “Artemis” title. They knew this was their chance to be in the movie based on the book they love. Moms were apparently in abundance too, either because they also love the book or went to support their kids. Men, however, have not yet caught on. The demographic that is missing is, of course, is the group of folks who haven’t read the book. Invariably, when I tried to convince a fellow Civil War living historian or friend from church to sign up to be an extra, I had to explain the novel to him and emphasize the fact that the movie is a paying gig.

If the movie folks are to draw in an appropriate crowd for the Districts, they will, ironically, need a large number of people outside the target demographic of the text, folks with no more idea of what they are participating in than the average kid whose name gets pulled out of the big glass bowl.  We’ll continue to post news here as we get word of the faces that will be in the background, as well the ones that will, in 22 cases, inevitably shine in the sky to announce the deaths of the young characters they play.


  1. Elizabeth says

    Just in, Stanley Tucci wil be playing Caesar Flickerman. Rats, no Dick Clark….

  2. Arabella Figg says

    I can see Ryan Seacrest chewing up that role deliciously; can’t see Tucci at all. Does anyone else think the District 4 boy “looks like” a little Finnick?

  3. PotterMom05 says
  4. Elizabeth says

    Nope! But I’m actually a professor at a college whose classes are just wrapping up, so big casting update blog coming when grades are in! (We have all the Tributes now, too!)

  5. PotterMom05 says

    Of course! we ended last week- turned in grades on Monday- oh the joyous freedom! good luck with yours!

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