Reaching For The Stars

2012 is over, and currently we’re in a news lull, which is fine– ’cause seemingly everyone is on vacation, or on a mind vacation. But, you know what happens the first week of January usually? Everyone starts going to the gym, eating more veggies, and shooting for the proverbial stars. New Years Resolutions are a fad, and they fade– unless you’re a seriously dedicated person, or obsessive to a fault. For me though, I didn’t make any, ’cause I’m perfect, yo! Okay, I mentioned shooting for the stars twice already, three times if you count just now, but that’s what’s going to be happening come next November, and on until 2015. The stars though, the ones I really mean, are the ones we don’t know yet will fulfill the roles that will take our beloved series to its finale. Yep, fan-casting post! Seriously, you had to have seen that coming.

I’ve fan-cast every prominent character, Johanna, Boggs (still not done with that one, mind), Chaff, Finnick, and in my head I’ve even cast several different actors as Darius, but I think that role’s gone the way of Madge (don’t fret, fretting gets you nothing, not even free popcorn). There’s one character/ role I haven’t touched though, maybe because it’s just too big, too impacting, and too much of a trouble-spot, ’cause many people already District_13_rusty_sealhave someone in mind (wait, it’s that way with EVERY bloody character!) This seemingly untouched-by-the-likes-of-me character is President Alma Coin. Yeah, she’s a biggie, and seriously– if Danny (Strong), works his seemingly perfect magic on the screenplays for Mockingjay I and II, President Coin is a role that could get a lady an Oscar, y’know– if the odds are ever in her favor (had to). Taking the cue from the rest of the supporting cast already established, i.e. the ones who aren’t dead by the end of The Hunger Games, and well um, Philip Seymour Hoffman– the rank of the actresses who will want this role are hopefully going to already be past prestigious award nominees/ winners.

Let’s get this out-of-the-way, please don’t suggest Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Dianne Wiest, Blythe Danner, Julie Walters, Kathy Bates, Penelope Wilton, Vanessa Redgrave, Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, and I really really hate saying these ladies but– Sigourney Weaver, Sissy Spacek, and Susan Sarandon. They’re cut off for one reason and one reason only, they’re all over 60 years old, and Alma Coin is said to be about 50. These age differences may not seem like that big a deal, but trust me 50 and 60 + look very different, and if you ask a woman over 60 if she feels and looks different than she did when she was 50, you might get slapped, which means… yes she does.

Here’s the deal, or not deal– have you seen the stock of actresses who are in their mid 40s and into their early 50s?! ‘Cause they are freakin’ amazing! I’ve spent the last day looking over all the eligible ladies, i.e. actresses aged 44 – 53 or so, and I’m floored by the amount of talent that’s out there ready to rip their teeth into a role like Alma Coin. Starting with my ultimate choice, because she’s awesomeTilda Swinton. Tilda is 52, and she’ll be 36291_pro53 next November– she’s probably best known as the White Witch from the Narnia series, but I assure you she’s done a lot more than scare the Pevensie children. I first saw her in Orlando, where she played the title role. Orlando wasn’t your everyday role though, nope– ’cause Orlando in a way time traveled, and in no uncertain terms changed sexes, which means Ms. Swinton is what we like to call versatile. After Orlando, her next internationally recognized role was probably in The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio. She played Sal, the leader of the misfit group who have taken up residence on the utopian seeming island that houses the beach. She was formidable in this role, which is something she seems to exhibit in most of her roles. What I loved her in though was the small independent film Young Adam. It starred Ewan McGregor and Emily Mortimer, who is known best now for her role on HBOs The Newsroom. Young Adam is based on a novel written in the late 1950s of the same name, and to me the film adaptation is one of the best I’ve seen where it comes to book to film adaptations. Tilda played an unhappy woman, a housewife, bitter, disappointed with her lot– and then Ewan McGregor’s character walks into her life, and there’s finally some excitement happening in her world, also decent sex, actually more than decent. Tilda also has one card in her back pocket that most other actresses that could be considered do not, she’s worked with Frances Lawrence before (Constantine). Also, rest assured she’s wholly capable of adopting a North American accent, see Michael Clayton

I have to say this as well, I don’t know where, or why, or how, but I’ve seen numerous people wanting to adhere to the idea that Alma Coin is not an attractive person, so I’m sure my suggesting someone as strikingly beautiful as Tilda Swinton might seem alien. To me though, I think a character like Coin should be deceiving on more than just a cerebral level, I think she needs to look good. I don’t know what kind of good, but not Wicked Witch of the West– that’s for sure. 

One down, about 30 more ladies to go! I’m not even kidding.

Them There Eyes



  1. Tilda is one of my top choices for Coin! My other thought was Cate Blanchett–she also has that ice-queen thing going for her that would suit Coin very well.

    However, I don’t disdain the idea of an older actress playing the role–I think we get a little too literal sometimes when it comes to translating a book to the screen. Beetee was not described as African American, but Jeffrey Wright is one of our finest actors and I was totally stoked when they announced his casting. I think it’s O.K. to deviate from descriptions, especially for supporting characters.

    If one of the actresses you disqualified were to get the role, it wouldn’t exactly destroy me. They are all great and most could play the heck out of the role. I’m guessing since it’s such an awesome role (and not a lot of those come along for actresses over the age of 40) there’s going to be a LOT of big names vying for the opportunity to play her.

  2. Oh, goody! Sounds like we have months of casting ol’ Alma, which is fine by me. Whther or not FLaw sticks to the age parameters you’ve given, I think it is helpful to look at actresses within a limited set of variables.

    And I am in agreement about Tilda. She can make magic in any role!

  3. Do you have any African American actresses in mind? When I read the description of Coin’s hair, I pictured a young Cicely Tyson in the role. But no one current coming to mind.

      1. Oh yes, Angela Bassett would be an interesting choice, and she could also relieve your concern for signaling to audience that Coin is bad.

  4. “They’re cut off for one reason and one reason only, they’re all over 60 years old, and Alma Coin is said to be about 50.”

    I will have to disagree. Wiress is supposed to be in her late 30s, but they cast 55-year old Amanda Plummer, and the fandom rejoiced. Beetee, who is supposed to be older than Wiress, is played by the 47-year old Jeffrey Wright. The morphlings are described as people about 60, but the people they cast are some 30 years younger than that. Something similar happened with Seeder – she’s supposed to be about 60, but I’m pretty sure Maria Howell is much, much younger than that. Even Lynn Cohen is much younger than Mags’ age – apparently she’s 68, although in that case I think she can sell being 80 (I hope I didn’t insult her), especially after I’ve seen her as Uncle Pete’s wife in Damages. Bottom line, getting the actors of the exact same age hasn’t been the priority of the casting directors so far. Especially when, as in many of those cases, their exact ages aren’t all that important.

    Besides, I would definitely say no to Judi Dench, who is 78, I think that some of the ladies listed look younger than 60, and what matters is how they look as a certain character, not how old they are in real life. When I saw Sigourney Weaver last year in the uncredited but crucial role in the *cough cough that would be a spoiler* a certain cult hit, she looked more like 50 than 60.

    Tilda Swinton would be a good choice for Coin, but I still prefer the idea of Sigourney Weaver for one reason: Swinton is better known to the wider audiences for playing villains and not so much for playing heroes, so I feel like her playing Coin could almost signal to the non-book readers right away that Coin is a villain, rather than just morally ambiguous and somewhat annoying but still one of the good guys. That would not be an issue with ‘Ellen Ripley’ as Coin.

    Neither of them fit the plain-looking description, but I doubt that finding a plain-looking actress will be the priority when casting Coin. They hardly made it a priority to match Snow’s physical description (a small man) when casting him (for which I’m very happy, Donald Sutherland makes a great villainous dictator).

    1. Oh, yeah, that certain cult hit was awesome. The less you know about it, the better it is. I knew nothing at all about it!

      Sigourney is definitely my second choice for Coin.

      Also, I didn’t even remember Snow was described as a small man. Personally, I really like Donald Sutherland playing him. He looks so… Snow. I mean, I don’t want to offend him, but he surely looks like a cruel dictator in the film!

  5. While I don’t have any specific actress to fancast for Coin, I will say that while I don’t mind older actresses in their 60s being recruited to play the role, and I can accept women in their upper 40s, I do NOT want Coin to be played by anyone younger than that.

    As for plain-looking, I realize that unfortunately, most successful Hollywood actresses who snag lead roles are meant to be attractive, so I’m not holding my breath for that. However, I don’t mind that, as long as Coin isn’t turned into some glammed-up, sexy vixen of a villianess. She’s not meant to be that kind of villian at all. I doubt that Danny Strong’s screenplay will portray her that way, though, as the political films he’s done so far don’t present main female characters that way.

    After all, one reason she “recruits” Katniss as the Mockingjay in the first place, is because she realizes that she herself does not have enough charisma to be a rallying point for rebellion PR, and likely, the reason she then tries to get rid of Katniss later is based on the same reason, the fear of Katniss’s “effect on people” that she herself can’t ever hope to have.

    As for how obvious it will be that she’s a villian; while Strong’s screenplays certainly have a certain political slant, I wouldn’t say that they portray anyone on either side as actually EVIL, and it will be interesting to see if they present Coin as morally ambiguous, or a straight out evil, power-hungry villianess with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. (Note that even regarding canon MJ, some readers found that SC did not do a well enough job convincing them that Coin was so evil that she was worse than Snow, and deserved death more than he did.)

    1. I didn’t think we were supposed to think she was WORSE than Snow or that she deserved death more (although some readers think she’s worse). But she turned out to be the new Snow. The difference between her and Snow at that point and the reason why Katniss needed to kill HER was because she was a dictator in power, while Snow was a former dictator who was going to be executed anyway.

      1. I actually agree that the reason Katniss chose to kill Coin instead of Snow is not because Coin was “more evil” than him, but because she was still an active threat to others, while Snow had already been neutralized. She wasn’t trying to “dispense punishment” and deciding Coin deserved death more than Snow, but was acting to protect others.

        I should probably also add, that there are also people who feel that what Katniss did was merely about taking personal revenge, and that she found that what Coin did to her personally, by taking Prim from her, was worse than what Snow did. Some people then get into “and this proves Katniss is a horrible person, because she only cared about what happened to Prim, she didn’t care that Snow had ordered the torture of Peeta, Johanna and possibly Annie, ordered the bombing of D12 that wiped out 90% of its population, etc.”

        I also would like to say that I personally never really got a grasp of Coin as a real person who I could imagine living and breathing. She just seemed to be a cardboard cutout villianess who just copies everything Snow does. From “kidnap people if you think they’ll be useful in your propaganda campaign” to “use hijacked Peeta to take Katniss out” to “use Hunger Games to humiliate a defeated enemy”. So I really hope that the movie portrayal of Coin makes into more than “just another Snow”. Because right now, she has as much character development to me as Orwell’s pigs in Animal Farm, or maybe even less.

  6. I really like the idea of Tilda Swindon. She was fantastic in Michael Clayton. And I agree that the role of Coin should be, in the hands of Mr. Strong, interesting enough to lure in an A+ caliber actress. I’m curious to see what names get serious consideration for this part.

    So happy to be fancasting again.

  7. I picture Alma as a real-life version of Malory Archer, or a Jessica Walter circa Arrested Development with gray hair (too bad she’s in her 70s now). When I first started thinking of actresses, I admit Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren were the first that came to mind. But I really like the idea of Tilda Swinton as Coin, she definitely has the chops to pull it off. I’m in agreement with Satsuma, as long as she’s not too young or the villainous vixen, I’m open. Looking forward to more fancasting!

    I have to disagree about avoiding casting an actress because she usually plays villains, thus tipping off the audience. Because in the book Coin, at first, says and does the right things and people trusts her, except for Katniss – whom most people think is just incapable of trust. But having an actress that is typically the “bad guy” will help the audience resonate with Katniss’s reluctance to trust Coin. Plus I think it will really play up the moral ambiguity in part 1 to have the dichotomy of someone who acts helpful and kind yet is associated with the “bad guy.”

    I’m also hoping that Strong goes for a more ambiguous Coin in the script. I agree with Timetravelingbunny that she is not necessarily worse than Snow, but is the new evil in power. I always thought of her as equally evil, just exercised and revealed in different ways. Her true motives are revealed slowly as each layer of the pretense falls away where as Snow’s motives are always plain, at least to the audience if not the Capitol. Also I think this sort of character is more interesting to watch and more attractive for big names actresses to play – not to mention academy judges.

  8. OMG you read my mind. Tilda Swinton would be perfect! My other suggestions would be Viola Davis, Cherry Jones, or Melissa Leo. In fact I have a theory that they were actually looking at Melissa Leo for Coin when the rumours surfaced about her going for the part of Mags last year. Which would be amazing! #conspiracytheory.

  9. Tilda Swinton would be a perfect choice! I do agree that Coin shouldnt be glamourised, but thats a given. Shes a president, not a model. So Tilda is perfect for that. (Since I very much disagree on her being ‘strikingly beautiful’, I was actually shocked that anyone would think that she is even remotely attractive, but to each their own.)

    I dont think the viewer would automatically think that she is a villain. Maybe at the beginning wouldnt trust her, (like I did in the book) but as she gets more dialogue in the book, I thought she was pretty stern, but at least she was fighting the same fight as Katniss, which is to overthrow the Capitol. But of course, Coin wasnt as straight-forward about the things that she does. While Snow is completely honest to Katniss, evil, but honest. Itll be interesting to see how they map her out in the movie. At the end of the day, no matter who will play her, the way the movie portrays her, lighting, dialogue, background music, will influence the movie-goers opinion on her. So it really depends on what Strong, Collins and F Lawrence want. Do they want to make her as morally ambiguous (funny how she’s named Coin, a Coin also has two sides!) as she is in the book, (I for one was really shocked when Katniss killed Coin, but seem to be one of the few that doesnt judge her for killing Coin instead of Snow. I remember feeling like, ‘Katniss is there herself, she knows Coin better than I do and has a better instinct about her than I do. Its probably the right thing to do.’ thinking back it was weird of me to think so cause 1. Katniss was, as I recall not emotionally stable and 2. Shes a fictional character lol, the writer of course wants me to form my opinion about it. But I for some reason didnt have one. Maybe because Snow died too… Meh I dont know really) My point is that the actresses image doesnt matter that much. (Though I have to agree know her as the evil witch. And that witch wasnt emotionally or psychologically complex. She was just.. evil. No more no less.

    And I, like many, definitely disagree on the age-argument. Sounds pretty rediculous to me cause makeup can change a lot, her age will not be named on screen so viewers wont even notice, and only few are the actual age of the character they play.

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