Here’s part of an interesting article my sister found. I will highlight the parts that I found most interesting.
Now in high gear: the quest to find a young woman to anchor “The Hunger Games,” an adaptation of a dark tale of survival and camaraderie that has a serious grip on young readers. The novel by Suzanne Collins opens a trilogy (8.8 million copies in print) about a dystopian future in which kids are picked by lottery for TV stardom followed by a gladiatorial fight to the death. Production on the film is scheduled to begin in the spring, but first filmmakers have to find their Katniss Everdeen, the fiery heroine, an expert archer.
In online polls and plaintive open letters to the filmmakers, fans of the books have campaigned on behalf of actors they envision in key roles. However, a vocal contingent is calling for complete unknowns in the lead roles, saying that’s critical for authenticity. The filmmakers, including director Gary Ross (“Pleasantville,” “Seabiscuit”) have sought to build trust with fans by making the casting process sound as democratic as possible while being careful not to box themselves in.
“It’s not that we won’t consider incredible actors in this age group, but we’re very much open to the people who’ve never been seen before, who could walk in the door and announce themselves,” says Alli Shearmur, president of motion picture production for Lionsgate, the film’s co-producer.
In an industry eager to create the next “Harry Potter” or “Twilight” series, also adapted from books for young readers, some filmmakers say that famous faces could deter audiences with images of the protagonists fixed in their heads. “There’s so much youth-driven stuff going on right now, studios are willing to take chances on unknown actors in many of these roles” because the title is the box-office draw, says Adam Schweitzer, co-head of motion picture talent at International Creative Management.
Inside an art-deco office tower in Los Angeles, casting director Debra Zane puts Katniss candidates through their paces. The script is secret and hasn’t been finalized, so actresses read dialogue typed out from the book. On hand is a Nerf bow-and-arrow set, one of several toy weapons Ms. Zane bought from Amazon.com to help actors slip into character.
In an office across the hall, however, submissions are literally piling up from Katniss hopefuls working outside the system. Several plastic tubs hold waist-high stacks of puffy envelopes with handwritten addresses from places such as Swan Lake, N.Y., and Cedar City, Utah. Ms. Zane opens a box from South Korea containing glossy headshots and a neatly penned three-page letter. From another envelope (one that did not include any photographs) she reads from a typical pitch, “I want to be that girl. I can be her! I just have to dye my hair.”
Ms. Zane’s staff is opening every piece of mail, she says, but she’s skeptical that a star is waiting to be discovered in the pile. “If you have that thing, you do find your way here,” she says, referring to Hollywood.
An adjacent office holds yet another potential entry point for aspiring Katnisses, one that reflects the technical changes sweeping the business. On a wide computer monitor is a website run by Breakdown Services, where Ms. Zane’s staff has posted the single paragraph laying out the filmmakers’ broad criteria for Katniss. She should be Caucasian, between ages 15 and 20, who could portray someone “underfed but strong,” and “naturally pretty underneath her tomboyishness.” Since the notice was posted two weeks ago, more than 1,600 resumes had been submitted for the role of Katniss. So far, 25 of these submissions had been moved to a “selected” heading for potential contenders.
I agree with the Katniss they’re looking for. I am also fine with them looking for both already known actors and newbs. This gives me faith that they are actually looking for someone who can BE Katniss.