Saturday, June 4, 2011

"Hunger Games" Casting Mania! (part nine)

Welcome to the last journal about casting for The Hunger Games. I hope that anyone who reads this (hello? Anyone?) enjoyed my breathless and ofttimes ditzy coverage. Overall, I am quite pleased with the folks they’ve cast and am greatly looking forward to seeing them embody their characters! This should be a wild ride, assuming they don’t crush it too hard beneath the PG-13 stamp. But I’m trusting they won’t, because author Suzanne Collins (who has screenwriting experience) is onboard. Fingers crossed! And here’s the final major casting news:

The Role: President Coriolanus Snow, leader of the nation of Panem (formerly the USA), evil dictator, all-around horrible person. At the start of things, Snow seems like a mere evil figurehead (his role in The Hunger Games is actually quite small), but once she pisses him off, Katniss learns that Snow is intelligent, insidious, and deeply sadistic. Swathed in makeup and opulent robes, Snow sits like a spider at the center of the plot, which is an apt metaphor, as he poisoned his way to the presidency. His cloying, rose-scented perfume masks the stench of blood and rot from his own body. He is utterly disgusting and a great villain, especially in the last book, Mockingjay. Shan’t spoil it. It’s horrific.

The Actor: Donald Sutherland! A true class act, ladies and gentlemen! Seems like he’s been around forever, entertaining us with his long, mournful face and X-ray eyes. Despite his age, he’s been acting pretty much steadily, though most of his best roles are from bygone eras: MASH, Ordinary People, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Animal House, JFK, and the criminally obscure Don’t Look Now, which features possibly the hottest sex scene in movie history, between Sutherland and Julie Christie. Yes, those were the days when someone who looked like Donald Sutherland could be a sex symbol. Oh, and he’s Jack Bauer’s dad.

My Approval Rating: 8.5 out of 10. Can’t really go wrong with Donald Sutherland. I knew that they’d be picking a true capital-T Thespian for the role of Snow; how could they not? Venerable actors of a certain age tend to flip over juicy villain roles, and Sutherland is even more interesting a choice because he doesn’t play baddies that often. I do have some reservations about his looks, especially his considerable height; Snow is supposed to be a small and weak-looking man who connived his way to power. But Sutherland will bring his own twist to the character, and I’m all over that.

Who I Would Have Picked: All those thespians I mentioned? I tagged a whole bunch of them as potential Snows. Amazing, really, how many actors I could picture playing him, each for separate reasons. I think my biggest contenders, those at the top of my mental list, were Malcolm McDowell (snarly and theatrical), Frank Langella (waxy and ominous), Timothy Spall (small and conniving), or Tim Curry again (most of the above). Any one of these guys would have made a good Snow. But that just makes it better, that so many actors could have pulled this off in a way that we all loved to hate! Not any actor, though. Entertainment Weekly suggested Steve Martin. Jesus. I love Steve Martin, but what the fuck. Of course, Entertainment Weekly also suggested that Taylor Swift should be in the movie. I wish I was kidding. Why do I read Entertainment Weekly again?

So...time to wrap up Hunger Games Casting Mania. For now, anyway. Sometime down the road, they’ll be casting for the sequels, and there are several crucial characters who will need to be considered: Finnick Odair, Johanna Mason, Alma Coin, Beetee and Wiress...and so forth. Of course you know who all these people are, because if you’ve read this much, you’re into The Hunger Games and are eagerly looking forward to these movies, as I am. See you at the premiere!

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