USA Today has some info from Nina Jacobson (Producer) on the movie and casting:
Moments after 20-year-old Jennifer Lawrence was announced as the lead in the movie adaption of The Hunger Games, the Twitter-sphere burst to life. Many rejoiced. But others insisted she was too old for the part of the teenage heroine.
Or that her eyes weren’t gray and that her hair was the wrong color.
“Every decision is being so closely watched,” says producer Nina Jacobson. “I understand the fierce and intense feeling the fans have for this movie.”
Given The Hunger Games’ plot about a futuristic society whose youth must battle in a state-enforced tradition, it’s fitting that the preparation be viewed through the lens of a survival guide:
•Form key alliances. Collins’ active involvement in every step of the film sends a clear message to the faithful: The book will not stray.
•Find the chosen one. Finding a star for the book’s central character, Katniss Everdeen, was the casting competition of 2011. Chloe Moretz, Abigail Breslin and Hailee Steinfeld were just a few of the “it girls” in the running. “We left no stone unturned,” Jacobson says. But Lawrence’s gritty performance in 2010′s Winter’s Bone— as a character moved to violence to protect her family, much like Katniss — gave her a leg up. “It was a lucky break to see her in that role,” Jacobson says.
It was her audition, where she says goodbye to her family before leaving for the Games, that sealed the part and left onlookers in tears. Jacobson says the choice was easy. “You can manipulate appearance, not essence. Jennifer taps the inner life of Katniss.”
•Stake out your ground. Re-creating the book’s leafy battlescapes was crucial. “We’ve found locations that have so far exceeded anything I can imagine,” Jacobson says. “It’s perfect.”
Producers have been mum about the exact locale, but notices soliciting extras in North Carolina have tipped their hand.
•Find your supporting studs. Like Twilight,The Hunger Games has a complicated love triangle with two very eligible men vying for Katniss’ affections.
The soulful Josh Hutcherson (breakthrough role: The Kids Are All Right) nabbed the spot of the kindhearted Peeta. Liam Hemsworth (brother of Thor’s Chris Hemsworth) took the role of protective Gale.
•Recruit the crafty veterans.Stanley Tucci casting announcements don’t usually rock the Internet, but that changed when he signed as The Hunger Games’ quirky TV host.
“This is a wonderfully eccentric character, and I think Stanley is going to make a perfect Caesar Flickerman,” director Gary Ross says.
Woody Harrelson also came on board Tuesday in the role of Katniss’ drunken mentor
•Train hard. Lawrence is undertaking everything from agility training to archery work for her character. “She’s getting extensive training in all the skills Katniss possesses,” Jacobson says.
•Prepare for other battles. Lionsgate studios has the rights to Collins’ Hunger trilogy. In the likely event that the movie is a success, expect to see a lot of Katniss Everdeen.
As Jacobson says, “We’re in this for the long haul.”
I feel very good about the movie and I’m constantly getting more excited. When it comes to the heavy backlash from fans, it has died down, but there is still some scrutiny. Ugh, I just want to see the movie. Oh, and THG will forever live in Twi’s shadow. A big thank you to the media for beating it in to no end. Your persistence is admirable.