There’s one, actually several now that I think about it, facts that are looking menacingly down at me at this point. And no, it’s not a tax collector, or my mother, or even my father, and nope– definitely not a cat. Nope, it’s the fact that while we’re gearing up for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’s release in November, which is less than five months from now give or take a few days, the production start date for Mockingjay: Part One is allegedly next month. That is if we’re inclined to listen to Liam Hemsworth who’s stated recently that they’re starting in September. Erm, actually he just smiled and nodded through a morning chat show interview, and the host said they’re beginning production in September, but Liam
agreed– so I’m goin’ with him on this one! The looming, scary, and staring things though is not just the production start date, it’s this: Where are the casting announcements for the major roles to be filled in the Mockingjay films, where are the filming location/ scouting/ permit request reports, and where are the semi veiled extra casting call announcements? Well, where are they?! Fair warning, this is not a fan-casting article, even though I quite literally have more people in mind for all the major roles, and some of the minor roles as well, in mind than most people have thoughts in a day.
Nope, I’m just here breathing life into my own petty, confused, and slightly paranoid thoughts where it comes to the completion of this franchise, and the completion of it being put forth, and executed with precision, and forethought, and um– care. That and I really need to stop listening to Radiohead, because it messes with my head, and makes me twitchy like Thom Yorke. I just keep thinking back to when casting, and production information was being released, and in many cases leaked to us, and we were satisfied, because we had months, not weeks to ruminate on an actors dossier, or stock photos of a city, or neighborhood to pick through with a scary amount of detail. So, what’s up? Where’s our Coin, where’s our Boggs, I assume these cast members have been vetted and cast at this point in time, but they’re keeping it mum, or in my twitchy-Radiohead-listening-head, they’re still looking for those two, and are going straight for the Insects, Fulvia, and the rest of the lot. All I wanna know is this… have they found themselves a Posy? Also why do all mock-up photos I find of Posy Hawthorne make her look like an Elf?
Let’s pretend I didn’t say any of this, ‘kay… thanks, bye.
Them There Eyes
There are a several things I both look forward to and dread where it comes to the up coming adaptations of Mockingjay. Some of them are completely innocuous things, like are they going to get Katniss’ ill fitting shoes right? And then there’s big things like, are they going to adhere to the first person narrative that the novel was told in, and therefore show us Katniss’ trauma addled mind, with its swirls, and utterly terrifying imagery. Personally, I hope they do, like– I really really hope they do. And then there’s my most favorite thing in the world, okay not most, but pretty high up there– the casting of the remaining cast. I’m most nervous, of course, about the casting of three particular characters though, and they are unsurprisingly President Alma Coin, Captain (No First Name) Boggs, and finally Annie Cresta. People have certain performers in mind, I know they do– and I have to be honest, many of the names that are thrown out by your average book reader, and movie fan– are not who I would want to be cast in those roles at all.
Let’s start with Boggs, shall we? I’ve written probably around ten fan-casting articles about Boggs over the last almost two years, and I think they went over pretty well. Several of the actors who I wrote about even approved and thanked me, yep– behold the power of Twitter. Others have sadly retired, I’m talking about Wentworth Miller, who I wrote about a long long time ago. He’s transitioned to being a full-time screenwriter, sort of like our dear Danny Strong. If you’re at all sad about Went leaving acting behind, don’t be– he’s got a BA from Princeton in English literature, therefore he’s finally using his degree, and I’ll bet you money that his academically minded parents are very proud he’s using it after all of these years. Enough about Went!
Here’s my real deal: I’ve tried very hard to be open-minded where it comes to casting of this franchise over all, and Boggs is likely to be a casting decision that the casting director will take artistic license with. Meaning, they’re likely to scrap any or all racial, or ethnic indicators that Collins wrote about him, i.e. his blue eyes. The thought of this kind of bothers me, because I fear that they will cast a stereotype that I keep seeing repeatedly in film, television, and in people’s fan-casting ideas for this role, and also for others. Okay, so what is it? It’s the racial/ ethnic stereotype that a career military person, like Boggs, should be portrayed by a black actor, or a Latino actor. I don’t know where this stereotype came from, but it’s here, and it’s not going anywhere thanks to wonderfully inept films like Avatar, and shows like The Unit. What’s puzzling to me is this though, statistically speaking the military in the US is over 70% white, and only 18% black or Other. So, who do I point fingers at? Hollywood? Ignorance? Do people just want to cast this role ethnic to change things up, what? Or are people okay with Boggs being “token cast”? Call me racist, I dare you, I’ll just laugh at you.
Annie Cresta: We have heard nothing about this role being cast. We only know that Sam Claflin is playing Finnick with Annie Cresta as part of his back-story in mind, as indicated by several interviews Sam has done since he was cast, and since he wrapped on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. That is literally all we know about Annie Cresta. So, I think I can safely say that because there’s been little to no acknowledgement of this character so far, the fan-casting of this role has stagnated, or is in a really weird ass funk. After Sam was cast as Finnick the name I saw the most, disturbingly, was Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey. I know why this happened on an intellectual level, but on an emotional one– I just sat back and went “say what?” And I said what, because Bergès-Frisbey has one of the thickest Spanish accents I have ever heard, and I have friends who are from Spain. So, to those who are in love with this idea, because Sam and her shared screen time in another franchise– please start thinking outside the box. I’m even thinking outside the box for this one, because oddly enough out of the three characters I’m writing about today, Annie Cresta is the only one I’m 100% on board with them casting with an ethnic actress! And yep, I think some people would put Bergès-Frisbey on an ethnic actress list, but– don’t make me point out that I can’t understand what she’s saying! Too late. I have no ideal for Annie, I just want someone who’s got off the charts chemistry with Sam, and who warms the cockles of my cold dark heart.
President Alma Coin: Oh dear god, are you all still here? I know how fickle, and fleeting people’s attention is on the Internet, so if you’re still reading this, kudos. Alma Coin is a little bit of a hot button topic for me, much like Boggs, but in her case I’m a stickler for a multitude of things about her casting. In my head, or my head canon, which is backed up by Mockingjay I might add, I’ve always thought of Coin as a woman who physically is not how many people have been seeming to imagine her. Let’s go over a few things about District Thirteen: It’s population for over 70 years has been living under ground, this means little to no sun damage has befallen them, and to me this means a lot of them do not look their age. Sun damage increases the aging process for many people, and if you’ve lived your life in an underground complex for 50 years, your skin is probably that of someone 15 years younger who actually sees the sun on a regular basis. Thirteen is a very regimented society, people are scheduled to within an inch of their lives, all the way down to when they eat, what they eat, when they sleep, and where they’re allowed to go. I’d even posit that part of the regimentation for the population is strict exercise regimes for everyone. If you can also recall, District Thirteen experienced a devastating health epidemic several years before Katniss and co. showed up, it rendered some people scarred both inside and out, i.e. many people have pock scars on their faces, and are infertile because of the disease. In my head District Thirteen is like District Two without the blood lust. So with all of that in mind when I imagine Alma Coin, a woman in her early 50s, I picture a woman who’s in pique condition physically, she’s un-scarred by the epidemic, although she may have been laid barren because of it, and also because she never had children, she probably looks younger than she actually is. Then there’s the unfounded idea that she’s unattractive. I don’t see that, in fact I see the exact opposite, I see Alma Coin as someone who District Thirteen rallied behind because she’s a symbol of their ideal. Strong, intelligent, and yes– beautiful. Beauty and brains, basically Coin is the Evil Queen from Snow White, or Cinderella‘s step mother, beautiful, cunning– totally fucked in the head.
And nope, I don’t mean the Disney versions, I mean the Grimm’s.
Them There Eyes
I’m changing things up a bit today! Normally I’m all about fantasy casting people I want to be in the roles of my favorite yet to be cast characters, but not today! Today it’s all about the ideas that make shivers run down our spines in revulsion, that make us cry for all the wrong reasons, and could also quite possibly make us throw heavy objects across rooms in sheer frustration, and anger. These are yours and my Nightmare Boggs! I wish I could get that title to be all squiggly, like it’s melting, oh well.
Let’s start with the lesser of several evils. I’m actually a fan of this guy, and I do think he’s a good actor when he’s not allowing himself to be type-cast, which is exactly what casting him as Boggs would be, because he’s made a name for himself by playing stoic, tough guys with guns. He is Mark Wahlberg. I like Mark, I wouldn’t die a thousand deaths if he was cast as Boggs, but it would frankly be boring if he was. Meh to Mark Wahlberg being cast as Boggs! Let’s hope it doesn’t happen, shall we?
Wow, let’s roll on down with some more type-casting! Bruce Willis. I’m sorry, I have friends that love the idea of Bruce Willis playing Boggs, and the only way I’d like the idea is if The Hunger Games had been published in the mid ’90s, and he was coming off of Pulp Fiction’s praises. Now though, now Willis is 57, decidedly bald, still very good-looking I’ll give him that, but he’s played Boggs type roles for almost 30 years. Let someone else try it on for size, and let him go off and do more work with Wes Anderson.
I hate this idea. There, now that that’s out, here it is– Stephen Lang. I’m not sorry for detesting this idea, even though it’s been suggested in comments on this site, and praised in comments on this site– I seriously think this is one of the least imaginative Boggs casting ideas I’ve come across. It’s type-casting at its finest again, because every other role this actor has had is a militaristic role. Honest, go look at his dossier, it’s one gun-toting, combat fatigue wearing man person after the other– he also seems to growl most of his lines, and I can’t appreciate that, I just can’t. So, no thank you very much to Stephen Lang as Boggs times a million gazillion. Oh, also he’s 60 years old, people!
Just saying it, Will Smith! There are worse ideas, but Will Smith is a pretty bad not good one. Moving on.
How about Keanu Reeves? To me he’s actually a lesser of the evil bad horrible ideas, because I’ve seen him do some good work, and I’ve been a fan of his since the early ’90s. Casting Keanu wouldn’t even be type-casting, it would just be weird casting. So, oddly enough, even though several people have told me that they hate the idea of Keanu playing Boggs, I’m putting the idea on a special shelf called the “I’m Listening, Because I Like How Out Of Left Field This Idea Is” erm… shelf?
This one’s just stupid, because I’ve never seen him act well in anything, and I wish he’d make better choices, but I don’t want one of his better choices to be The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and 2. It’s Gerard Butler. Look, I respect the man as an individual, it takes a lot of gumption to leave a successful law practice to chase the dream of becoming an actor, and by his own right he is an actor– but he’s not a very good one as evidenced by the trail of mediocre films and performances he’s laid at our feet. I do not see him having the ability to pull off Boggs’ humor, heart, emotional fortitude, or his warmth. Gerard Butler, love that he’s from Glasgow, would scream “bloody hell, no fookin’ way!” if he were cast.
Two words– Vin Diesel. Two more words, Arnold Schwarzenegger. And now for the man of the hour, the name that came to my mind when I came up with this concept, and also the most common name that was said when I asked others who their nightmare Boggs is– it’s Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Come on, you have to agree that Johnson is pretty much the pinnacle of the bad Boggs ideas? Sure everyone he’s ever worked with sings his praises for being a sweet, chummy, trust worthy, funny, individual– but have we not seen the man play the same role since he left the WWE? True, they’ve all got different names, but it’s the same delivery, the same cadence, the same expression, it’s like watching a season of a television show, only the cars change, the location changes, but the characters don’t, which doesn’t work, because he’s playing different characters! Worst Boggs casting idea ever, and I’m pretty damn sure it’ll never happen anyway. On trend I’ll also add that any one who has ever been on the WWE is not allowed within 2 feet of this franchise, they are banished. And yep, you should pronounce that the Shakespearean way– Banish-ed.
I apologize if you wake up in a cold sweat tonight, nightmares do that to you, and these have been floating around my head for years.
Them There Eyes
I really mean Batman. I’m sorry, where do I start? For the last few weeks we’ve had a virtual dry-spell of solid, reputable, and interesting news on The Hunger Games franchise front, as well as news pertaining to the beloved cast, that includes new projects etc. Today though, aha, not today! I don’t know what came first, so I’ll just begin with what I became privy to first, and that’s the mounting news that Danny Strong, I so want to add esquire to his name now, and I doubt he’d mind if I did– so, Danny Strong (Esquire), has turned in his screenplay adaptation of Mockingjay, which we all should know by now is only the first half of the novel, at least that’s what I’m assuming. Any who, with the info that Strong (Esquire), has turned in his screenplay, the subsequent news is that the studio liked it enough to contract him to write Part Two. Guys, we have Part Two likely being written right now, which means– stuff. I’m at a loss for words at this point, because my brain is still processing that Part One is finished, and all I want to know, more than who the hell is going to play Annie Cresta, is where did he split the novel!?
In my head one of the perfect places to split the novel in two, when adapted to the screen, has always been when Peeta and Katniss are reunited in the belly of District 13, and we get that confusing as hell moment where he starts to choke her. Perfect cliff-hanger to me, because face it, they don’t have Dobby’s death to break up this story. They do however have the mental death of the Peeta we all know, and love to itty-bitty pieces. We all know the saying “leave them wanting more”, and that is is where my mind goes if they do decide to fade to black after Peeta reaches out, and attempts to squeeze the life out of Katniss. Other moments where the split might feel natural is Chapter 9, or this moment…
“But between the images, we are privy to the real-life action being played out on the set. Peeta’s attempt to continue speaking. The camera knocked down to record the white tiled floor. The scuffle of boots. The impact of the blow that’s inseparable from Peeta’s cry of pain.
And his blood as it splatters the tiles.”
This is literally where Part II: The Assault begins, which in my head makes so much sense to split the story there, it’s almost uncanny. Imagine the impact of seeing the splatter of blood on tiles, and then the scramble, or the look on Katniss’ face realizing Peeta may be dead within minutes, and the static screen, and the mad silent look of horror permeating everyone’s minds and faces. Cliff-hangers are beautiful things, my friends, this is what I learned from nine seasons of The X-Files. Other people have their opinions, like that the story should be split when Katniss learns that Gale has left District 13 with a squad to rescue Peeta and co. But to me, that moment doesn’t have enough momentum to it, and/or action. Think about it.
Now for the other news to pierce our souls today, or at least mine. Jennifer Lawrence is going to be doing a film with Batman. I mean it, she’s signed on, according to Deadline, to be in David O. Russell’s next project, which boasts a cast that already includes these fine gentlemen: Christian Bale, also known as Batman, Bradley Cooper, and none other than Jeremy Renner. I have to confess, Christian Bale is high on my list of actors who I’d love to be considered for the role of Boggs, and yes– I’m wholly aware of him being only in his late 30s, just like Bradley Cooper– but he’s one of the best actors of his generation, and an Academy Award winner. Also, seriously if you have a problem with Christian Bale taking up residence in the role of Captain Boggs in my head, along with countless others, it’s my head– and it’s a fantastic place to live, I’m telling you. In my wonderful head space though, even if Christian, Bradley, or Jeremy are not cast as Boggs, consolation prize is they will all be in a movie together, and I’ll probably end up buying a copy of it.
I need cake.
Them There Eyes
I said it last week, and it still holds true– I could write a fantasy-casting article everyday for a month, and I’d still have ideas. Well, here I am again, and until the drudgery of pretty no worthwhile Catching Fire and/or Mockingjay news ceases, you’re stuck with me living in a fanciful haze. Yeah, yeah, Judianna talking up about her inspiration behind Katniss’ Interview dress is groovy and everything, but personally– I don’t want to know, because I’m a snob who thinks she got the dress deadly wrong. So, not going there. And the Oscar race, and the multitude of Jen sound-bites, it’s just too much for me to all take in right now. Fan-casting is a safe haven for me, and when this duo came to my mind in a fit of sleep deprived genius, my heart leapt with joy– or maybe I was just dehydrated? They’re siblings, and they’ve worked together several times, and their dynamic is something to revel, and basically bathe in, because it’s so weirdly good. They are Joan and John Cusack. Just ruminate on this for a sec, and then come back to the facts: John’s 46, fit, well over 6 feet tall, a trained kick boxer (yes, those moves he displayed in Say Anything were real, as were the ones in Grosse Pointe Blank), an extremely versatile actor, reputable, and has played stoic, military, and fatherly roles before. Joan is 50, not quite as successful as her younger brother, but I’ll never hold that against her, she’s a hard worker, talented, extremely funny, and everything I’ve ever seen her in she’s more than good. John, of course in this fantasy casting is Captain Boggs, and Joan is the steely President Alma Coin, if you haven’t figured that out from the title, and everything.
Maybe I just really like the idea of them pairing up again, because it’s been 13 years since their last project together (High Fidelity in 2000). Also, maybe I just really like the idea of Joan taking someone on who’s on a whole different level of scary than she’s taken on before. Because, even though I know she’s working on the Showtime series Shameless right now, I’d like to see her in something that I’d willingly watch. Fact: I didn’t like the UK version of Shameless, I’m not even up for trying out the US’s. Not even James McAvoy kept me interested in the series– and he was naked, and screwing his now wife on the kitchen floor. The characters no matter what accent they’re using are entirely unappealing to me. But, about Joan though, she may not be the icy beauty some of us had in mind, but she’s a solid choice if they ever make one. As for John, just– do I really have to make a case for John? He’s been doing this acting thing for about 30 years, and he’s probably not going to stop until some Libertarian takes him out with a truck, or– y’know, old age? There ya’ go, two people checked off my list for possible Boggs’, and possible Coins, and yes– they’re really long lists.
I won’t be done until these roles are truly cast. And even then I will continue to fan-cast these roles for the remakes that will be done in about 15 years.
Them There Eyes