As the August 24 release date for Suzanne Collins' third "Hunger Games" novel "Mockingjay" swoops ever closer, I can't help but feel a mix of eagerness and anxiety. Eagerness because I'm dying to find out how Katniss Everdeen and Panem's fight for freedom ends—not to mention who our young heroine picks as her true love (if anyone!).
But I'm also anxious knowing I have to say goodbye to a character I've grown to really enjoy. Though I should say it's more like a "see you later" than a final adieu as "The Hunger Games" movie is on the horizon. In case you missed our report last week, the film adaptation will likely go into production in early 2011!
To be sure, transforming a beloved novel into a film is no easy task. Which events and details must the screen writer include? Which must be cut for economy's sake? (Sadly this cannot be a five-hour movie.) How will set directors bring this dystopian future to life? And probably the most worrisome: Who will play resourceful survivor Katniss? Before the ink dries on any contracts, we'd like to pitch our favorites for the plum role of the "Hunger Games" champion.
Just as a refresher, Suzanne describes 16-year-old Katniss as having straight black hair, olive skin and grey eyes. She's quick, crafty and will do anything to protect those she loves (she did take the place of her sister in the Games, after all).
With that in mind, here are the three actresses we think should be in the running to wear Katniss' blazing mantle:
1. MALESE JOW
Our top pick for Katniss is "The Vampire Diaries" actress Malese Jow. We're still mourning the loss of her strong, independent vamp Anna on the CW series, and we see many similarities between tough chica Anna and equally gritty Katniss. Physically, she's a near perfect match with the addition of gray contact lenses. And with Malese appearing in this year's "Social Network," perhaps she can pull a Betty White and harness the power of Facebook to get her cast in the role. Who wants to start the petition?
2. JODELLE FERLAND
One of the newest members of the "Twilight Saga" family, Jodelle will play newborn vampire Bree Tanner in "Eclipse" out later this month. Age-wise, soon-to-be 16-year-old Jodelle is a perfect match. And anyone who can convincingly play the counterintuitive role of a fragile, frightened vampire knows how to walk the line between tough and tender (a place Katniss uncomfortably finds herself often).
3. TROIAN BELLISARIO
Troian may not be a household name just yet, but we bet her turn in the upcoming ABC Family series "Pretty Little Liars," will change that. A frothy blend of "Gossip Girl" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer," "PLL" is bound to set Troian's star a loft, and with her dead-on dark hair and cute-yet-sober appearance, she's another stellar contender for the role.
What say you "Hunger Games" fans? Do you agree with our HC Casting Couch suggestions or do you have another actress to recommend?