Hey all. I don't post here often, but I think this is relevant.
The Hunger Games is a popular young adult fiction series being adapted into a film by "Lionsgate Entertainment". The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is described as having grey eyes, olive skin, and dark hair. What's more, this seems to be a characteristics endemic to the place she lives, shared by her best friend and nearly everyone in her community, making it extremely likely it is a racial characteristic. In fact, it is a made a point of that Katniss's family is mixed, her father of darker complexion and her mother (being more affluent) is lighter, and her sister inherited her mother's looks. My friend on Tumblr
put it best:
Katniss does come from a mixed family. It is never specified exactly what race, but both Katniss and Gale are described as olive-skinned with black hair and grey eyes (imaginary genetics maybe to get the eyes, I don’t know, not my field). I would generally expect Katniss’s actor to be of Mediterranean, Latin, Middle Eastern, or Asian descent. It was made a relatively significant plot point that Katniss’s mother came from a more affluent family, where-in nearly everyone at that income level was pale skinned with blue eyes and usually light-colored hair. Katniss’s mother and her sister Prim are supposed to be a contrast Katniss and the other people in the Seam because they are white gals with blonde hair. It makes them stand out as Katniss’s mother was not being born to that life. It was an important CONTRAST to the Capitol lifestyle that Katniss’s mother went with love rather that societal comfort and staying within her expected income bracket.
Whether Katniss is supposed to be mixed POC is debatable, but it seems very likely she is. She is definitely a role POC shouldn't be barred from playing, thanks to her description. The casting call for the Hunger Games came out recently. Did it ask for someone dark haired, or olive skinned? No. It did, however, specify Caucasian.
- 15 to 20 years old
- “underfed but strong”
- “naturally pretty underneath her tomboyishness”
At the very least, Katniss's role should be open ethnicity. Barring talented PoC women from the role is inexcusable.
I was wondering what we could do about this. I think sending letters to LionsGate would be a good start. I wonder what Susanne Collins (the author's) thoughts would be on this as well.
The information about the casting call is here