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