Campaigning for Coin: Helen Mirren

We’re back with one last edition of Campaigning for Coin, this one based off a “fan favorite” pick! Your suggestions were tallied up and the winner, by far, was Dame Helen Mirren!

I call this one “In which I get a bunch of somewhat angry rebuttals”! Come at me, bro!

Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren

Kait (The Girl With The Pearl): Helen Mirren is an extraordinary talent. There’s no doubt about it! But there’s one thing that she’s not… and that’s Alma Coin. Despite her talent, Mirren is significantly older than the middle-aged character described in the books at age 68. There are plenty of incidents in which we can put character vs. actor age aside, but this just isn’t one of them. She’s really great at playing hard-edged authority figures, so she gets suggested for all the roles of this nature and after a while, it feels like typecasting. And while she has a voice that commands authority, she has the type of on-screen presence that would likely make the audience guess that Coin’s intentions aren’t purely helpful and ruin the fun of the ambiguous character arc. We’re not dissing the Dame! We love her! Just not for this role.

Molly from Panem Propaganda: Helen Mirren has been bandied about all over this fandom as a top pick for President Coin. I didn’t have her in my mind as I was reading Mockingjay, and I have to admit that Jodie Foster is my One True Love for Coin. But ever since I saw the amazing “Mirren as Coin” edit by Nikola-Nikart on tumblr, I can’t get her out of my mind for the role. I think some roles would be genius with a newcomer (ahem, Annie). But this one, well, this one needs impact. We need someone in this role that can make us believe she could, with military precision, control a district for many years, underground, in secret while shepherding them through an epidemic and masterminding a rebellion, and then intimidate the crap out of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Woody Harrelson, and most importantly, Jennifer Lawrence. She’s too old, you say? Please. Jennifer Lawrence is supposed to be 17 years old in Mockingjay. I think we can all suspend disbelief long enough to put Helen Mirren in there as a 50-something. Have you seen the woman in a bikini? (No, seriously, the red bikini. Go Helen!!) And the woman can freaking ACT. She would be the perfect foil for Donald Sutherland as President Snow. Helen Mirren? Yes, please!!

Amanda from The Hob: I’m pretty sure Helen Mirren is one of those actresses who needs no introduction. Everyone knows who she is, what she looks like, and that she’s been nominated for more acting awards than seems humanly possible….even if you’ve somehow never seen one of her movies. Which is basically the boat I’m in. Almost embarrassingly, I think the only movie I’ve ever seen Helen in is Red. But you know what, I’d still be more than happy to have her as Coin! I don’t think anyone can argue against her acting ability and amazing reputation among her peers. She’s older than I pictured Coin, but I could get over that in a matter of minutes because I’m pretty sure she could masterfully pull off Coin’s cool, calm, determined, authoritative demeanor. I certainly wouldn’t be the casting director to tell her “no” if she wanted the role!


Adam from Hunger Games Fireside Chat: Is Helen Mirren too old? That’s been the general complaint against one of England’s greatest dames, and it’s a valid one. But then — Mirren has fought off aging with nearly as much proficiency as Katniss against the Careers. Mirren is also an extraordinary acting talent, and she has a proven track record of delivering a variety of complex characters with benevolent and sinister intentions. I’ll admit, I have been a banner-waver for Mirren’s consideration, and I think, though there are other extremely talented and capable actresses, none could match the aura and majesty of this Academy Award winner. (And if you’re really concerned about age, you know these makeup people can shave off 20 years, right?)

Courtney/Tiffany of Welcome to District 12:
Helen Mirren is the first actress that immediately came to our mind when first reading about Coin in Mockingjay. Her look fits very well with Coin’s description, and she’s always been our number one pick. Some people say she’s too old, but we think that’s not a good enough reason to cut Helen Mirren out of the mix. First of all, casting for The Hunger Games has historically gone older than the book description (Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland, etc.). Second, age in real life and age on the screen are not the same thing. We would prefer an older actress for Coin than a younger one. Nothing scares us more than a stern older lady with a too perfect haircut. We would also like to point out that many think Glenn Close is a great option for Coin. Guess what, friends?! She’s only TWO YEARS younger than Helen Mirren. Regarding age, if Glenn Close could be the next Coin, why not Mirren? Lastly, since casting has been older for the actors and actresses, we think that since they went so old with Snow, they’ll want a somewhat similar age range for Coin as the counterpart.
Now that we’ve gotten the age issue out of the way, Helen Mirren would be a spectacular choice on acting skills alone. She’s played a ton of women in power, and has a very commanding presence. I bet she’s got a whole closet devoted to all her acting awards, which goes with the casting trend of the adult actors. She would be a great match for Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, something we are dying to see. It’s no wonder she’s a fan favorite for President Coin.


One comment

  1. Regarding the age issue: If she can pull off looking like a woman in her 50s, she’s not too old for the role. Glenn Close did look like a 50-something woman on Damages, which wasn’t so long ago, Sigourney Weaver did look a50-something woman in CITW; I don’t know about Helen Mirren sinceI haven’t seen any of the movies she’s done in the last couple of years.

    l don’t agree that Lionsgate should want someone of a similar age range as Snow. Snow and Coin are not supposed to be of a similar age. I’m not sure where the idea that Donald Sutherland is older than Snow in the books comes from. Snow’s age is never specified, but he is described as an old man. He also may be even older than he looks to Katniss, since Book!Snow has had lots of cosmetic surgery. There’s nothing in the books to indicate that he’s not in his mid-to-late 70s. Coin, on the other hand, is explicitly “50 or so”.

    And furthermore, I think that it’s important that Snow and Coin are not the same age. Snow is an old dictator who’s probably been in power for decades, because that’s how it works in dictatorships. Once someone grabs the power, he or she stays there until they’re killed or violently taken down through a coup or a rebellion. He’s not chosen by the people, and doesn’t have to win regularly scheduled elections, he rose in the ranks of the previous president’s administration, and it’s implied that he poisoned his predecessor. He was “such a young man” when he seized power, but who knows how long ago that was?

    Coin, on the other hand, is IMO not supposed to give the impression of being an over-the-hill “president for life” when we first meet her. I don’t think that the viewer is supposed to think she’s *just* like Snow, at least not right away. And I think it matters that Coin is an experienced politician (not too young) – someone who’s worked her way up and lead her people for a while – but also a politician at the height of her career (not too old) – fifties are the age when politicians are usually able to reach the highest positions – and that she’s someone who could be the President of Panem for decades if she’s not stopped.

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