So unless you've been living under a rock for the past few days then you probably already know that Lionsgate finally announced that Jennifer Lawrence is going to be playing Katniss in The Hunger Games movie.
Almost immediately the fandom erupted. Some people had positive reactions but most of the reactions were negative. I know that a ton of my reading buddies were disappointed by the casting decision. One of the main complaints from fans is that Jennifer Lawrence isn't ethnic enough to portray Katniss. And here's where things get messy. I've read a ton of news articles and also read a lot of tweets or posts saying things like "She's a great actress suck it up" or "Her ethnicity doesn't matter get over it!" And while I have to agree with some of the things people are saying, I also have to disagree with a lot of it and I would like to say why. Now before I say anything else I just want to let people know that I'm actually okay with Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. I think she is a phenomenal actress and that she will portray the role wonderfully. If Suzanne Collins says she's perfect for Katniss who am I to disagree right? So with that being said I would just like to give my thoughts on this whole ethnicity issue.
Argument 1: BUT THERE'S ALWAYS HAIR DYE AND SELF TANNER!!!
I'm gonna be perfectly honest here and say that if you're arguing against this ethnicity thing with hair dye and self tanner you have TOTALLY missed the point. The point isn't that we think that Jennifer Lawrence can't change how she looks for the part. We know that. We understand that. The point is that you casted a fair skinned blonde to play a possibly ethnically biracial character in the first place. How would everyone feel if they ended up casting a white girl to play Rue and then people said "Hey its okay! They can always use full body makeup to make her look black!" We would all say "OH MY GOSH THATS RACIST!!!" Am I right? So why is it that its NOT okay to cast a white person to play a supposed black character, but it IS okay to cast a white person to play a supposed biracial character? Why the distinction?
Argument 2: Katniss' ETHNICITY doesn't matter! Her CHARACTER does!
Okay so Katniss' looks aren't her defining feature but they're still an important part of her character. Author Ally Carter on Twitter said that us fans are confusing characteristics with character. But aren't characteristics part of what make a character? I mean come on what would Edward Cullen be without his sparkling pale skin??? XD Or the Weasley's without their red hair? And not only that but how many times in The Hunger Games does Suzanne Collins talk about the distinction between the "Seam Look" and the "Town Look"? A lot. Countless times. I think its one of the greatest showings of Katniss' character that even though anyone who looked at her would know that she was from the poorest part of the poorest district, she was still able to incite a revolution. Kind of symbolic don't you think?
Personally I loved that Katniss was ethnic. There aren't too many biracial heroines in literature (Katniss is the only one I can think of) and being biracial myself it was just great to read a book that had lots of racial diversity. Now I know that Katniss wasn't necessarily biracial. Lots of people say that she could have been Italian, or Greek, or any number of other ethnicities with similar features. But the point is this: she could have been biracial. Just because her ethnicity is ambiguous doesn't mean that her character should be automatically defaulted to be European. And another thing to remember is that The Hunger Games is set in the future. Look at how mixed our culture is now and just think about how much more mixed it will be 100 years from now. I think it's pretty safe to assume that Katniss probably wouldn't be 100% European.
That being said I still support Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss even if she isn't ethnic. I just hope they will cast ethnic actors to play other characters like Rue and possibly Gale. (At this point I'm guessing they won't go ethnic for Gale just because then he wouldn't look like Katniss' cousin :/)
This post was not at all meant to bash anybodies ideas or feelings. I merely wanted to say that we Hunger Games fans aren't crazy and that the people who are saying they wish Katniss was ethnic are just as valid as the people who are saying that Katnisses ethnicity doesn't matter.
In closing I would just like to show you this awesome fan art that Katie over at Sophistikatied Reviews made of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss! You can see her post about it here.
Pretty awesome ehhh? And is it just me or does she look kind of like Kelly Clarkson in this picture? Haha.
So how do you guys feel about Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss? Do you think she's gonna be amazing? Did you have another favorite (personally I wanted Hailee Steinfeld.....) that you wish had gotten the part instead? Do you think Katniss' ethnicity is an important component of the story? Sound off in the comments! I would love to know what you guys think.