Hunger Games Tribute Casting Continues

The names just keep coming out of that big glass ball to fill our full complement of 24 tributes for the upcoming film of The Hunger Games. So far, actors are in place for the leads of Katniss and Peeta, along with her friend Gale, her mother, and her sister Prim. John C. Reilly appears to be in talks for the role of Haymitch, and there are rumors of a possible Effie Trinket.

We also have supporting roles casting decisions for the characters of Rue and Thresh, as well as for the tributes from Districts 1 and 3. If you’d like to follow as the rest of the Tributes are selected, try this handy feature on the Hunger Games Movie Facebook page. It is convenient, but I keep expecting the training scores to pop up so I can place my bets along with the other Capitol viewers. Speaking of our Capitol metanarrative, join us after the jump for some more thoughts on the casting choices and their reflection of Gamemaker values.

 The casting for Rue and Thresh was announced last week, and the general response has been quite positive.  Amandla Sterling, cast as Rue, is a relative unknown with absolutely hypnotic eyes and a face that, if it is backed up by acting ability, will surely tear our hearts out on film. Thresh will be played by Dayo Okeniyi, a young man of great physical presence who looks like he may be able to carry the more thoughtful moments of his character. It is intriguing that the movie folks went with African-American actors since, as we’ve noted here, Latino actors would have also been very appropriate. Collins herself indicated, after backlash that the casting was too “vanilla,” that Rue and Thresh would be played by African Americans. While the idea of African American agricultural labor is certainly resonant with American history, that sort of work is often performed by folks from Central or Latin American countries. Perhaps District 10, the livestock district, will have Tributes who look Southwestern.

So far, the rest of the tributes are pretty much Anglo, though the techie District 3 kids could have logically been Southeast Asian. They are also, without exception, all glossy Hollywood types who have had the Remake treatment. Of course, we’re only seeing the promo shots the actors use all the time, not images that reflect how they’ll look in the film. 

Of course, we don’t just comment on the casting because we’re caught up in the movie preparations.  But with a text like The Hunger Games, it is fascinating to note the way in which this movie production may be guilty of the very mistakes perpetrated by the Captiol. While I do enjoy the facebook feature that is filling in each district’s tributes as they are chosen, there is a subtle (or perhaps not so subtle) connection here to the way the Tributes are chosen in the Games, paraded before the public, and then offered up as fodder for entertainment. Though we hope none of these young actors meets an untimely end, it is hard not to see the Capitol’s seal on the endless commentaries on their looks, their backgrounds, and even perverse conversations that would make President Snow blush. While we do enjoy seeing how the actors fit our expectations from the text,  let’s hope we don’t start placing bets on how long each one lasts.


  1. Arabella Figg says

    Lookswise, I think these kids look perfect, especially Sterling as Rue–dainty with a core of toughness.

  2. Great post, Elizabeth. I saw a headline that said “District 4 Tributes Confirmed” and about jumped out of my chair.

  3. Ditto James’ comment, Elizabeth. The irony is getting thick enough that you have to hope there is intelligence behind it rather than a function of the Hollywood/Capitol conveyor belt skewered in the books. thank you for keeping your finger on this subject as reminder and point of reflection lest we get sucked into our movie seats as Capitol citizens.

  4. I wonder if some of the irony is intentional. I don’t want to give hollywood too much credit but Suzanne Collins is fairly involved with the project though I am not sure that it extends to marketing in the slightest. Actually, that is doubtful.

    I found that in the books Suzanne Collins seemed to purposefully try and pull us into the seat of a capitol citizen watching the games. I have read blogs of people reading the books where they were virtually cheering and calling for the “evil” Cato’s death. They bought into what the capitol was selling them just like Katniss does for a while. She is the narrator after all and I think this is likely the response she was looking for from a YA audience. Then when they are given Cato’s death it is so beyond horrible that they regret ever wishing or hoping for it. It really drives home part of Collins’ point. And the audience realizes right when Katniss does that Cato was never the enemy.

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