The announcement comes after months of seemingly endless speculation; just about every Hollywood actress from the ages of 14 to 21 seemed to be a contender for the role. Lawrence was first reported to have been offered the role four days ago, but no official confirmation was given until now.
Other fans also had been hoping for the casting of 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld, another rising starlet who has recently shot to fame for her (also) Oscar-nominated role in True Grit. It appears that Lionsgate has made the decision to age the characters up, as Katniss is described as 16 in the novels. Lawrence's casting will probably act as a guide in casting the rest of the characters, especially love interest Peeta Mellark.
Personally, I'm glad that they're casting older rather than younger, because The Hunger Games does contain a lot of graphic violence and it does deal with a lot of heavy emotion that a younger actress may not be able to pull off. I did lean toward Hailee and would have preferred her, because I adore her and she has the acting chops. But in the end I think that Lionsgate made the right decision with Lawrence, who from what I've heard, definitely has the ability to pull off Katniss' grittiness and steely persona. And while concerns have been raised over her appearance, which is not exactly brunette or gray-eyed, these can easily be alleviated with hair dye or contacts. For me, the fact that she can act well and that the director and author both approve is comforting. Though I really do hope they end up giving her brown hair. Jennifer may not look like the Katniss that I've always visualized in my head, but that's the beauty of going back to the books and being able to imagination the characters and the story on your own!
Author Suzanne Collins had nothing but praise for Lionsgate's choice, commenting that
Jennifer's just an incredible actress...So powerful, vulnerable, beautiful, unforgiving and brave. 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 love The Hunger Games. It sits at the top of my favorite books list (adult and young adult) for being a story. I devoured the entire trilogy this past winter break and they inspired me to read more again, and thus create this blog. The movie, which is looking at a March 23, 2011 release, will definitely be at the top of my to-watch list.
And now the fandom waits with bated breath for the rest of the casting announcements. I'm happy that we finally have a Katniss and can finally move on to the rest of the characters. I'm ready for Peeta!