Earlier this week, we talked about the new Entertainment Weekly article and how it wasn’t much of a shocker. Alas, we didn’t take in to account The Hunger Games fandom’s ability to OVERREACT LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW.
What about now? Francis Lawrence talked about “manning up” Peeta:
“We made some changes to Peeta’s narrative,” says [Francis] Lawrence. “We manned him up a little. And by the way it didn’t take a lot, just little choices to make here and there. The story doesn’t really change, his relationship with Katniss doesn’t change, he’s just a different kind of character.” For instance, in the book, the Hunger Games kicks off and Peeta is paralyzed when the other all-star tributes dive into the water. “The option is for either me drowning or sitting there like a cat batting my paw into the water,” says Josh Hutcherson with a laugh. “Either way the visual is horrible.” Easy fix: Let Peeta swim.
And suddenly Francis Lawrence, who fans were seemingly optimistic about until a few days ago, is nothing short of the devil. “HE’S DESTROYING OUR PEETA!” Nevermind that nobody is aware of the context in which Peeta is being “manned up” or in comparison to what other elements, or the fact that Lawrence stated that the changes were very minimal. And Frankie says he’s “a different kind of character”! As we all know, we should be taking ALL THE THINGS literally and Peeta will be totally unrecognizable now. right?!
Everyone seems to assume that Francis Lawrence is talking about toughening Peeta up from his role in the books because the example provided talks about him swimming, which he does not in the books. (P.S. Swimming means Peeta has an extra skill, not that he is all that equals manliness. We know plenty of people who would start and win a bar fight, but can’t swim well.) Yet we’re thinking no, mainly because Hunger Games Book!Peeta was much tougher than Movie!Peeta. Think about it!
We love that The Hunger Games characters subvert gender stereotypes in many instances, but something went awry in the first movie. In order to make Katniss look stronger, they made Peeta look helpless. The only time his strength is mentioned is when Katniss brings it up. The only time his strength is shown is when Katniss tells him to show it off. He’s a jittery mess when working with the Careers. He rarely talks back. That not how we recall Book!Peeta at all. So is working Movie!Peeta up to a level more on par with Book!Peeta really a bad thing?
We also seem to be forgetting that once the Quarter Quell is announced, both Peeta and Katniss become more emotionally callous. Peeta puts himself, Katniss, and Haymitch through his own version of Victor bootcamp. He becomes friendly with the other tributes in a way Katniss can’t, but he’s doing so on a strategic level. He’s facing down his death and he’s not taking it lightly. Why is it that when Peeta is described as getting tougher, everyone assumes they’re trying to make him into a testosterone-driven dickhead action hero instead of considering the natural freaking progression of his character?!
Peeta has strengths! Manly ones! He also has a great deal of sensitivity and charm that fans love. The idea that the progression of one somehow negates the other is downright stupid. He can be strong and skilled and artsy and still have deep feelings, just like in the books! Crazy, we know!
Personally, we’re looking forward to seeing how this plays out on the big screen.
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