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PopMatters asks: Is Hollywood Whitewashing The Hunger Games?
I'm going to hold any freakouts back until an official shortlist is released.
27 September 2010 in A/V, Books - Science Fiction, Books - YA | Permalink
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I honestly had to rack my brain trying to picture Katniss, as she isn't described at length. It's interesting that anyone is making assumptions about her race one way or another; though she's obviously not blonde, how do we know that she is Hispanic? Isn't Prim blonde? In the world of the Hunger Games, is there even such as thing as race anymore?
27 September 2010 at 05:16 PM
I know that she's described as having 'olive skin and dark hair', but that's pretty much all we're given for descriptors, at least as far as I remember. And while I think 'olive skin and dark hair' is quite broad -- though it doesn't suggest any specific ethnicity to me, just, you know, someone with 'olive skin and dark hair -- Chloe M. definitely doesn't fit the bill in my mind. Anyway, casting stuff is always fun to watch when it's this high-profile.
And you're right about Prim -- she is most definitely described as blonde.
27 September 2010 at 05:35 PM
Yeah, Chloe doesn't work any way you slice it (age, the blond hair), though I think her role as the frontrunner (pure speculation at this point, from what I gather) has more to do with one-note casting (hey, didn't she punch people in that one movie?) than with whitewashing.
On the other hand, she might've made a good Prim, though by the time the movie rolls she will probably be too old!
27 September 2010 at 05:50 PM
Yeah, I haven't seen anything from anyone that's actually, you know, involved in the making of the movie. I think, like you said, that people are just naming Chloe because she has shown her fighty chops.
27 September 2010 at 06:11 PM
I agreed that "olive skin and dark hair" is pretty open re: ethnicity. I'm a burn-then-tan kind of peach color, but my sister and dad have been described as "olive" my whole life. I prefer the idea of casting unknowns (but sadly, no one in Hollywood is asking me). And with regards to whitewashing, I'm much more concerned about Rue-she's definitely a character of color, and it doesn't seem un-Hollywood to me too just cast the "cutest" darn twelve year old they can find, regardless (or maybe in opposition to) how the character's actually described.
27 September 2010 at 06:43 PM
I'd like a page number on that straight black hair cite, because I'm too lazy to go searching for it on my own. For some reason I was always thinking very dark brown. (Now that I think about it, my brain-Katniss has the coloration of an Olivia Munn, really.) What really made an impression on me in this post is the complaint about a UK cover with blond Peeta. Um, he's blond. Why is it wrong to portray him as such? (The decision to have a cover with just him and not Katniss is questionable, I'll grant you.)
I think what will illuminate this whole issue will be if they make there be a "Seam" look about Katniss, Gale, and others from 12. Really, enough people in District 12 should have the dark hair, olive skin, and gray eyes that it is a common look.
I'm hoping for casting unknowns for the kids, and then celebs for the adults. It worked for Harry Potter. I'm with Drawexplosions - Rue is the one I'm waiting to hear about.
28 September 2010 at 12:58 AM
I'm SO rooting for unknowns, and I've been lazy about looking for specific page numbers, too. (We should make the author of the PopMatters post look it up!)
Re: Peeta, oh yeah, look at that. I could have sworn that bit wasn't there when I first read the article, because I'm surprised that didn't jump out at me. But maybe I missed it. A clear error like that really makes me want page numbers now.
Re: Rue. YES. We shall see. Let's hope they don't go all Airbender on us.
28 September 2010 at 08:24 AM
Hi Folks, thanks for commenting on my PopMatters piece! I'm amazed by how much play it's had.
@Kimberley - I wish I could give you an exact page number on the Katniss description, but I read all the books on my Kindle. It's quite close to the beginning, though, in the scene where she's meeting up with Gale to go hunting. I hope that helps. I can get the Kindle location number for you, if you like.
@Kimberley & Leila - re: Peeta - it was just meant as an observation, in case people were wondering how he was rendered. You can see some of the international covers here, if you're interested.
And yes, it will be interesting to see what happens with Rue!
28 September 2010 at 11:52 PM
In the year 2010, we should all be over this racial b.s. Get over it, it's just a book, just a movie, not an insidious evil government plot. Sorry to be the unpopular, dissenting voice, but this is so trivial in comparison to the real issues facing the average American out there today. You want to talk real injustice? I can tell you about false inprisonment, for starters.
29 September 2010 at 11:19 AM
There's no need to apologize for disagreeing, Saramom!
That said, I'm passionate about books and about story -- talking about them makes me happy, and that's that. "Just a book" is a phrase that raises my hackles, because I strongly believe that fiction is one of the best ways of exploring and understanding the world, and with developing empathy and understanding for other people. (That isn't to say that it's a replacement for being IN the world, but I don't think that it can be so easily dismissed.) I suspect that many of the readers of this blog feel similarly.
Also, as many have noted over the last year or so -- and I'm just speaking about the book/book-to-film world, not the bigger picture -- while I certainly agree that people should be over "this racial b.s.", I think that it's pretty clear that many aren't. Over it, I mean.
29 September 2010 at 04:34 PM
Sorry to sound like a crusty old woman, but is it really necessary that they make a film of every book to become even moderately successful? I mean, really (shaking walking stick angrily...)
Enjoyed your post. It reminded me of all that controversy recently when Justine Larbelestier's 'Liar' was published in the US with a caucasian girl on the cover, despite the protagonist being black.
Baker's Daughter |
30 September 2010 at 09:02 AM
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