Put your party hats on. Uncork a bottle of champagne. Throw confetti and make out with an inflatable chocolate dolphin. The next young dystopian future heroes have been announced, and Willow Smith will NOT be appearing as Rue! YAAAAYYYYYY!!! To be fair, I don’t really hate Willow Smith, but casting her would have been a gigantic, obvious, gimmicky stunt. It would have been kinda funny to see her get (SPOILER ALERT) impaled with a big-ass spear, but not worth the fan rage. Unknowns are the way to go. So, without further ado...
The Roles: Rue and Thresh, the Hunger Games competitors from District 11, which is located within the former Deep South and has basically reverted to old-school slavery. YES, FOOLS, THESE CHARACTERS ARE BLACK. NOW STOP DEBATING THE SUBJECT. Rue is a resourceful little fighter with an incredible singing voice who becomes Katniss’s close friend and ally during the games, and (SPOILER ALERT) her death is basically the most tragic and poignant scene in the entire trilogy. Thresh is big, scary, and uncomplicated; he basically hides for most of the Games, saves Katniss’s life at a crucial point, then (SPOILER ALERT) dies offscreen. It’s the symbolism that matters.
The Actors: Amandla Stenberg as Rue and Dayo Okeniyi as Thresh. Trust me, I’ve never heard of them either, and that’s a GOOD thing. Both have one or two things on their resume, but they’re essentially brand spanking new to Hollywood.
My Approval Rating: 8.5 out of 10 for both of them. My usual benefit-of-the-doubt strategy works much better when actors don’t come with past baggage! At least this time, there won’t be any retarded fans going, “THEY HAVE THE WRONG HAIR COLOR BAAAAAAWWW.” I just watched Stenberg in some TV ads on YouTube and she has an open-faced loveliness that looks just about right for Rue. If she can avoid being “adorable,” she’ll do just fine. Okeniyi is a total mystery with practically no online information, but then, Thresh has like five lines of dialogue total. No reason why he won’t do fine as well. It’s nice to see star-making turns as opposed to “I’m-already-a-star-so-I’m-going-to-force-you-to-spend-even-more-time-looking-at-my-big-smug-stupid-face” turns. Have I mentioned how much Alex Pettyfer sucks?
Who I Would Have Picked: Absolutely no clue. Maybe if there were a teenage version of Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje, he could be Thresh. But then, I have a massive fanboy crush on Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje. Think I’ll leave this one to the professionals.
Gosh and golly, ain’t this casting mania exciting? They still have to cast the other teenage Tributes, including the evil District Two killers, Cato and Clove, and the sneaky survivalist girl known as Foxface. Not to mention Katniss’s sister, Prim, and a plethora of important adult roles! Can’t wait! And now, this hotness: