When it comes to BookPage reader interest, news of The Hunger Games is nearly on par with news of The Help . . . so I expect heated reactions to this info!

Lionsgate has confirmed that Jennifer Lawrence—the 20-year-old actress who received an Oscar nomination for her work in Winter's Bone—will play Katniss in Gary Ross’ adaptation of The Hunger Games.

Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin and several other young actresses were rumored to be in the running for this role, and I suspect many fans will raise eyebrows at Lawrence's casting. As we learn early on in The Hunger Games, Katniss has "straight black hair," "olive skin" and "gray eyes," and the blonde, fair Lawrence does not fit this physical description. (She's also four years older than the 16-year-old Katniss.) Still: Appearances aren't everything, and Lawrence's tough, haunting performance in Winter's Bone convinced me that she could be at home in the arena of Panem.

The Hunger Games movie comes out March 23, 2012. Only 366 days to mull over who should play Peeta and Gale, and try to imagine Cinna's amazing costumes!

What do you think of the new Katniss?

Also in BookPage: Read reviews of The Hunger Games and Mockingjay; read an interview with Suzanne Collins about Catching Fire. Also: Watch a video of some very enthusiastic Hunger Games fans.

 

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