Alma Coin

Visualizing Panem Post-Movies

Now that the entire Hunger Games series has been adapted to film, I’ve been taking stock in how these movies have impacted how I think about the book series. I’ll come right out with it and say it – while I LOVE SO MUCH about the movies, they will never top the books for me. There are some creative choices in the movies that I will adamantly reject forever and try to forget (mainly some parts of The Hunger Games movie and some scenes from the last 25 minutes of Mockingjay Part 2). Hmm, that sounds like fodder for a post, but for a later date.

On the other hand, there are some parts of these movies where everything fell into place and just was so RIGHT that it’s taken over how I visualize certain characters or scenes when I now re-read the books.

Right from the Start: Snow and Coin

SnowCoin

From first casting announcements of both Donald Sutherland and Julianne Moore, I felt really good about how these characters would translate to screen. They look the part and inhabit those roles in a way that fits so well with how I’ve imagined the characters. Donald Sutherland owns Snow so much for me now that I get chills when hearing his voiceover work on orange juice or airline commercials. President Snow wants me to drink orange juice. Yes, sir! I remember being surprised how sympathetic Coin was in Mockingjay Part 1, but it seemed very right for the progression of the character, and how she would have been without the framing of Katniss’s “unreliable narrator” perspective.

Oh. My. Finnick

Finnick cfFor those around the fandom in Catching Fire casting days, you remember what a BIG FREAKING DEAL this was. Lots of names thrown around to play Finnick. Lots of fan favorites. And Sam Claflin, a relative unknown (outside of roles in Snow White & the Huntsman and a Pirates of the Caribbean movie) was chosen. We had time to “get to know him” pre-CF. He was delightful on Twitter. Set photos leaked that were very promising. There was that Capitol Portrait with the pirate look. And then we saw him in the movie and YAY, IT WORKED.  He was Finnick. He is how I see Finnick now. Bravo.

Awesome Surprises From Smaller Roles: Paylor and Jackson

paylor jackson

One of the great, wonderful surprises of the Mockingjay movies was the development of these two characters, who I honestly never paid much attention to, at least during my first reading of the books. So Patina Miller and Michelle Forbes had the benefit of a cleaner slate to build these characters. And build them they did. They project authentic power and leadership so well that you don’t question the news that Paylor will be president, or Jackson’s role in Squad 451 in the slightest. When I re-read Mockingjay, I see those actresses in full costume. They ARE those characters now for me, and it’s enriched the reading experience.

An Interesting Mix: Effie and Haymitch

effie haymitch

The overly bright, colorful world of the Capitol in Suzanne Collins books is intentional. You have to admit though, that the Candy-Land-on-acid-type buildings would have been too distracting to deal with on screen so the “Capitol color” is restricted mostly to the people, not buildings. But with the costume, makeup, and hair styling of Effie, the team really nailed it, and Elizabeth Banks surely took charge of making that character her own. I think the decision to add Effie to District 13 was a good decision for Mockingjay Part 1, but still think Book!Effie follows a more realistic path for that character. I love how Elizabeth Banks gave the character more heart, but I don’t see Effie really changing that dramatically so quickly. In terms of how I visualize the character though, it’s all Elizabeth Banks in her full Capitol glory. Kudos to her and the design team for the creativity and transformation.

Then we come to Haymitch, who I always though of as more “Seam” in looks with darker hair and complexion, more damaged, more dirty, more foul, and much more drunk than we see in the movies. Regrettably, the movies give us a PG-version of Haymitch. Sure, you see him drinking, and his mockery and wit is there, but he’s nowhere near the abrasive drunk he is in the books.  I would have loved to see Woody Harrelson given full reign to make the character more rough. All of that being said, when I read the books, my mind sees Woody Harrelson and that blond wig. Somehow, he’s convinced my brain. He is Haymitch. The mind does what it wants. It’s interesting that this happened, considering this next part.

The Big Three: Love You Guys SO MUCH, but…

What about Katniss, Peeta and Gale? Jennifer Lawrence did a phenomenal job with Katniss. She grabbed hold of that character and owned the performance throughout the four movies. So much so that her voice is very much Katniss’s voice to me. I feel the same way about Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth (well at least 90% for Liam, but he got better as the movies went along). For all the wonderful ways they inhabited these roles, my mind still can’t (or won’t) adapt. The way I perceive these three in my mind’s eye when reading the books is much different. The cast is perhaps too physically beautiful, too Hollywood, and for Katniss and Gale, yes, too much of northwestern European ancestry to cancel out how I’ve always imagined the three. It’s nothing against the actors, because those are things they can’t change and these were movies with certain expectations of super-Hollywood-esque attractiveness from the leads.  Katniss and Peeta especially remain murky visual concepts in my head, and I’m fine with that. It’s probably better that way for the two characters who I love the most.

Movies – they mess with your head in unexpected ways.

JJ

 

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VV’s Spoiler-Free The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Review

We saw Mockingjay Part 2 last night and we want to scream all the details with absolute elation from the rooftops. But we won’t, because it’s only Thursday and we’re not terrible people who want to spoil it all for the masses. So we’re going to give a general, spoiler-free review.

12043070_10153658258916810_107667881438186217_nReally, this is all about THE FEELS. There are a lot of them. I went to the Mockingjay Double Feature and I started to tear up during Mockingjay Part 1, which is something I didn’t even do the first time I saw it, just from the sheer momentum of what was to come. It’s the end of an era, but if it’s gotta end.. Damn, at least it went out with a bang!

We’ve read the books more than once and talked about them at length here, so like many of you, we knew what was coming. Know this: Being aware of what will happen and watching it unfold in a visual medium are two very different things. There were several situations throughout the movie in which waiting for the other shoe to drop amped up either the tension or the excitement for me– sometimes both. It’s a testament to the way Francis Lawrence and his team purposefully crafted the film to squeeze every possible emotion from the tale.

297A9B5D00000578-3117094-image-m-29_1433866860839Likewise, the action is pulse-pounding and sharp. The film deftly portrays the horror of violence and war without glorifying it, exactly as its source material sets out to do. With the details covered pretty thoroughly in Part 1, this film wastes no time jumping into the action. The pacing isn’t too breakneck, but you don’t have much downtime until the last few scenes.

More than being utterly gripping, this film is the franchise’s best tribute to Suzanne Collins’ work. The film follows the book more closely than any movie before it without losing its cinematic glow. The popular scenes and quotes that you’re waiting for are there, perhaps delivered in a way you didn’t always expect but powerful nonetheless. That’s not to say there aren’t any changes, but they were pretty minor and didn’t affect the overall viewing experience for us. We were hit hard by one scene change in particular, knowing it was due to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s untimely passing.

19291497-20776541-thumbnailThe acting has always been superb in the franchise, but I genuinely think they give their best performances to date. Liam Hemsworth transforms Gale’s broody nature into something more fierce and palpable and Jennifer Lawrence just is Katniss Everdeen, but this is especially true for Josh Hutcherson, who truly rose to the occasion and portrayed Peeta’s compromised mental state with a zinging undercurrent of desperation and earnest. Of course, the supporting cast was also wonderful as always, particularly Julianne Moore as Alma Coin and the members of Squad 451, who really got to sink their teeth into this script.

new-effie-stillWhile I ultimately loved the film and its sweet ending, we do imagine that– as is the case with most epilogues– it will become a source of debate in years to come. It’s more about your perception of the characters and their lives in the aftermath than the actual content.. aaaand that’s all we shall say about that for now.

Urgh. We love this film. We love this franchise. We are clearly biased as all hell, but if you’re here, we think you will too. If you’re a Hunger Games fan, this final movie has so much to offer you and you will not be disappointed!

We’ll Do The Crazy Spoiler Edition Soon,
The Girl With The Pearl

We See Soon-To-Be Dead People

The polls keep on coming, and with it more picture reveals of our favorite characters. The trend of the fandom’s choices was a bit depressing for a while. Cause we kept voting for characters that don’t make it to the end of the story!

Yes, the back-half of Mockingjay is brutal. And whoever is in charge of picking these character pictures is very subtly choosing interestingly painful moments to share.

First, there’s this still of Finnick, in black battle gear, serious expression, with his face partially in shadow. If they were trying for ominous with a simple character image, message received.

finnick

Then on to Coin. Looking quite fab and proud of herself at what we presume is the Snow “execution” scene. Sorry, lady, someone’s about to have the shock of her life.

coin

Then, the pic that was a big surprise – because for the first time they show Prim out wearing a protective vest. We can guess she’s in the Capitol, and what is coming for her very soon. A very effective image that stirred more emotion in us than that whole “For Prim” video.

prim

Finally after four days of revealing characters that will die (Messalla was the first reveal), we got a little relief with Haymitch. With all the stills released previously in this gold, seemingly ornate room, we feel pretty confident this is the scene where the victors vote on holding another Hunger Games. Cue Haymitch’s “strategy face.”

haymitch

Today is the choice of brother vs. brother.

At this point Pollux has a big lead. We don’t like to think about how they’ll make us sad with this one.

No Peeta vs. Gale yet, but there’s still time for that mess to go down.

JJ

Top 5 Things We Learned From The Digital Look at Mockingjay

FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY!

He's in a bunker and NOW he needs a hat?!

He’s in a bunker and NOW he needs a hat?!

Lionsgate is done holding out on the fans and they’re making up for the wait in big ways!

Feast your eyes upon TheHungerGamesExclusive.com, which in its first incarnation includes..

  • Six Mockingjay Set Photos
  • A Video Interview with Julianne Moore
  • A Roundtable with Francis Lawrence, Nina Jacobsen, and Peter Craig
  • A Page from the Script (That You Can Win!)
  • The Hunger Games Franchise Motion Poster

THIS. This is the glorious stuff we were looking for when we found ourselves totally underwhelmed with the sheer consumerism of Capitol Couture! Not that the fashions aren’t cool, but it’s great to see that there’s some more tangible facts about the themes and overall filmmaking processes this time around.

In that spirit, let’s discuss the five most important things we learned today!

Look at that wonderful REAL PERSON who will be featured!

Look at that wonderful REAL PERSON who will be featured!

1) Plutarch Heavensbee will not be a freaky animation!

We were seriously concerned with rumors immediately following Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death that stated he would be added into his final scenes via CGI. It just seemed wrong and… what’s the word? CREEPTASTIC. Thankfully, it’s just a rumor!  Francis and Nina revealed that for PSH’s non-dialogue scenes, previously recorded footage of the other was cut into the scene (thank you, consistently monotonous D13 uniforms!) and his dialogue was written out, with some lines occasionally given to Haymitch or Effie when appropriate. There’s no mention of him missing out on a *major scene* as suggested in early reports.

2) Effie Trinket is in District 13, bitches!

Fulvia who?! Rather than work in Plutarch’s assistant, the script was repurposed to include Effie Trinket in District 13, at the request of Suzanne Collins! But don’t expect Effie is be a punchline– the filmmakers make it clear that while she brings some levity, Effie is NOT adjusting well and is not there for a higher moral purpose. We’re so glad with get more than one or two scenes of Elizabeth Banks in action!

3) The Capitol tunnels are NOT in Paris (at least not totally in Paris!)

In the intro to the roundtable, the indoor Atlanta set is described as being in part “filled with dingy tunnels”. And here we thought filming was going to Paris for the tunnels! It’s set possible that they will utilize the Paris tunnels to a degree, but it looks like a hefty part of that sequence is coming off a soundstage!

Yes! TELL ME YOUR SEEEECRETS!

Yes! TELL ME YOUR SEEEECRETS!

4) Danny Strong ain’t the only screenwriter up in here!

It turns out Danny Strong was not as involved in the Mockingjay films as we thought! Scripts go through multiple drafts and it looks like Strong only wrote draft numero uno. Obviously, that’s a damn important draft, but after that, things went into the hands of Peter Craig, novelist and screenwriter most famously known for his work on The Town. Not only did he finalize the script, he’s been a near constant presence on the set and works with Francis to help the script change and evolve as needed. In case you didn’t know, this almost NEVER HAPPENS. It’s like spotting a unicorn!

5) District 13 probably ain’t so techie in the film version!

In her interview, Julianne Moore described District 13 has a bomb shelter in which the citizens barely manage, which sounds like a far cry from the tech-savvy District 13 from the books. Sure, the look is minimalist and food rations are puny, but Book!D13 is still slick with both food and weapons technology. Movie version seems a bit bleaker, but we suppose they can develop double exploding bombs either way, right?

Now When Do We Get MOAR Mockingjay News?!
The Girl With The Pearl

Top 10 Hunger Games Moments of 2013

We told you those annual nostalgia lists might find their way here! With only a day left in 2013, we thought long and hard about the embarrassment of fandom riches that has been 2013 and compiled our top moments! Prepare to get all sentimental!

Note that this is a general fandom list, because our personal list would include things like “Suddenly becoming mute when facing the actors” and “Walking like drunk idiots at the Catching Fire after party thanks to the devil’s shoes”.  Not nearly as fun, now is it? We decided not to include actor moments here either, given that there’s too many good ones to whittle it down!

First Catching Fire Trailer – We didn’t know what to expect when we heard about a Catching Fire first look at the MTV Movie Awards back in April. The Hunger Games teaser was a :23 look at one scene, after all. But it was a FULL TRAILER that really set the tone. It. was. glorious.

She even went gray for us! (Photo: FameFly / Getty Images)

She even went gray for us! (Photo: FameFly / Getty Images)

Julianne Moore Cast As Alma Coin – All the Mockingjay casting news has been good news, but none more thrilling than the announcement of Julianne Moore portraying President Alma Coin. She’s got the chops that will make Coin a sharp, ambiguous character. Plus, every recognized actor cast proves this is more than some teen franchise.

Peeta Gets Manned Up –
Remember the big, controversial Josh Hutcherson quote in Entertainment Weekly and the fandom flip out that followed? We knew it meant that Peeta would get a bit of a do-over that put him more in line with Book!Peeta, but some others went into a panic mode. Now that we’ve all seen the movie, this is why we always tell you NOT to panic!

Global Fan Day – Press junkets and late night talk shows are fine and dandy, but on November 6, Lionsgate opened the questions up to fans via the social networks. Yes, there were still some uber fangirl “OMG I TOTES LUV U UR SO HAWT!” questions out there embarrassing us, but there was also a rarely afforded time for intelligent, fun celebrity-fan interaction.

Final Mockingjay Scene Announced –
Who else freaked out when Francis casually mentioned that Jennifer Lawrence had already filmed the final scene in Mockingjay? Also, when he said that scene featured Katniss serenely hunting in the woods! Is it an extension of the book epilogue or did they cut the book epilogue all together? WE MUST KNOW!

Catching Fire Fan Camp – Three days of Hunger Games fans playing games, partying, red carpeting, watching movies, and getting visits from the people involved in the film? MAGICAL.

Catching Fire Premiere And Screenings – So many great quotes from the stars come during premieres, plus it’s basically a giant fandom lovefest! But Lionsgate also did a great thing this year in realizing that not all fans can make it to the premiere and holding 24 simultaneous red carpet livestreams and premieres in cities across the US!

Cue the Mission Impossible theme!

Cue the Mission Impossible theme!

Catching Fire Crushes Box Office Records – This franchise don’t mess around! Winning the single weekend box office was expected, but we also broke records for the highest grossing film in November– a popular, blockbuster-packed movie month– and had one of the highest grossing opening weekends of all time. As in EVER.

Francis Lawrence AMA Reddit – It takes a lot to make a movie, but it takes some serious guts to go on Reddit a couple days after the movie’s release and hold an “Ask Me Anything” session. Plenty of questions were along the lines of “I didn’t agree with something you did. Why did you do it?” Francis was beyond graceful and gave great answers that let us know he really thought this series through and tried everything (Many excluded book scenes were filmed but later cut for time or because they didn’t translate effectively.) It gave us a whole new respect for him!

First Look At Mockingjay Filming –
A few pictures from the Mockingjay set have popped up, but nothing compares to actual fan filmed footage of Gale and Boggs busting into the Capitol set, confirming that the next movies will provide us with a deeper look into things happening outside Katniss’ POV and more action!

Looking back on this list, we know there’s still tons to look forward to in 2014.

Happy New Year!
The Girl With The Pearl

The Gifts of Catching Fire Christmas

Did you know you can reserve Catching Fire on DVD right now, while it’s still in theaters?

While attempting to finish Christmas shopping, my local “doomed to close because we mostly sell current music” store asked me if I want to reserve my copy now. I don’t think the cashier was ready for my truth bomb about how you can’t just reserve any old version of the DVD when there will be so many editions to choose from. Buuuut anyway…

Between gift buying and Catching Fire talk, we got to thinking about what the best gifts would be for these characters after Catching Fire ended. Thinking forward to Mockingjay, there are a few things to come to mind!

Yeah teenage angst!

Yeah teenage angst!

Katniss Everdeen – A Really Snazzy Diary, Perhaps with a Shiny Little Mockingjay Design on It, and a Punching Bag
We know nothing about dealing with the complexities of PTSD. But we DO know a few good things to help a 16-year-old girl to throw down some feels!

Gale Hawthorne – P90X
Because model soldiers aren’t built overnight, you know! Try 90 days!

Haymitch Abernathy – Pure, unfiltered alcohol followed by a metric ton of coffee
Time for Haymitch to figure out the alcohol to coffee ratio that makes him useful without making him mean!

Peeta Mellark and Johanna Mason – Three paper clips, a pen, duct tape, air freshener and every episode of MacGyver (and a TV/DVD Player combo, obviously)
The ultimate escape plan! They can then decide if they want to share with Enobaria.

He manages his way out of EVERYTHING!

He manages his way out of EVERYTHING!

Alma Coin – A ridiculously big, fluffy stuffed animal
This lady needs someone to hug! And there don’t seem to be too many willing human participants sooooo….

Prim Everdeen – Percy Jackson books, a bag of sweets, and an iPod filled with pop tunes
We tend to forget she’s only 13. We want her to get to BE 13!

Buttercup – Catnip
That cat just went on a journey that even the entrails Katniss sometimes feeds him can’t make up for!

Boggs – A Heavy Duty Poncho Fashioned for Combat
Boggs goes through a lot, but we thought we’d do him a small favor by helping him avoid that moment when Katniss pukes all over him.

Get Your Holiday Cheer On, Y’all!
The Girl With The Pearl

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!

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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.

Was Alma Coin Truly Evil?

Are you ready for the continuation of Guest Postapalooza?! We’re back today with another post from the mse, who says that President Coin isn’t just your nickel and dime evildoer!

Bad puns from us aside, enjoy!
____________________________________________________

Let the casting rumors begin in 3... 2...

Let the casting rumors begin in 3… 2…

I feel like all these fancasting posts make me way too excited about Mockingjay, and namely about the enigma that President Alma Coin is. When secondary characters are brought to life on the screen in any adaptations, there’s a certain liberty that falls to the actors portraying them. Think Helena Bonham Carter as the vicious Bellatrix Lestrange, bringing the kind of eccentric over-the-top complete and utter madness that only Helena Bonham Carter can bring to that role.

You see, every actor is a different interpretation and therefore a different Alma Coin. Will she be a quiet menace throughout the two Mockingjay movies? Will she display any sort of fatigue or emotional attachment? Will she be intelligent and visibly calculative, or a strong, comforting presence in the lives of the District 13 people? Are we going to see her struggling with some of the more questionable decisions she makes, or will she be completely depleted of empathy towards the innocents she sacrifices?

Beside the casting options, I’m also excited because our screenwriter is Danny ‘Jonathan from Buffy’ Strong, who as we all know, happens to have a few political dramas to his credit about the real Alma Coins of our world… Well, not really, because as far as I know, our politicians don’t usually drop bombs on a bunch of kids, and then pretend that it was the enemy just to win a war. At least I hope so. Also none of his characters were anything like Alma Coin as far as I can tell. But you get my drift. Strong knows how to write politicians and political situations, and if there’s anyone who can humanize this seemingly malicious character while still staying true to canon, it’s him.

GASP! Yes, I actually truly believe that this character was human and not the incarnation of evil itself. Judge me all you want, I will stand by this point until my dying breath, grasping a copy of Mockingjay in my hands, telling my grand-grandchildren the story of how I was exiled from the Hunger Games fandom in my youth.

The thing is, I also believe that Coin was a negative character. She was ruthless, power-hungry, and used anyone and any means necessary to achieve her goals. As far as I’m concerned, Katniss’ decision to put an arrow through her was merited, and was based on a lot more than just plain revenge for her sister. Coin wanted to bring back the Games, the very symbol of the enslavement Panem tried to get free of, promising the same kind of dictatorship Snow enforced.

alma_coin_by_jordanprice-d2zrfea

Disciplined and controlling– that’s my Coin

On another hand though, Coin accomplished some truly remarkable achievements. She and her predecessors built a whole new society to survive, one that may restrict personal freedoms, but as a whole worked efficiently, dividing their limited supplies and evolving quietly.

Yes, they weren’t exactly helpful in the 75 years the other Districts had to deal with the Capitol’s oppression, that’s for sure. They were just fine in their tiny little secluded country, thank you very much, and didn’t care a whole lot about what happened to the rest of the world. But honestly, who would’ve benefited from a nuclear war between the Capitol and 13?

You could say that District 13 needed the other Districts’ full co-operation to win this war. You could say that they tried to minimize their own casualties by relying heavily on the rebel armies. You could say that Alma Coin only wanted the power that helping the Districts would give her. The fact remains. It was under President Coin’s leadership that the Capitol has been overthrown. It seems to me, that even those who’ve seen her methods and understood her plans, let her stay in position until the very end, possibly because they knew that she would indeed succeed.

I guess the point of my rant is that while Coin wasn’t fit to lead Panem, she might still have been a necessary evil in this revolution. Obviously not all of her actions were merited, but she did what she thought was needed to be done – not just to cement her position as the main authority in the country, but to end this war as soon as possible. So maybe, just maybe, there is indeed a complexity to this character that can be explored in many different ways.

So many actors, so many interpretations, so many possibilities,

(E)m(e)se

Campaigning for Coin: Julianne Moore

The fansites are back with another round of Campaigning for Coin, a bi-weekly column in which we discuss possible actresses to play District 13’s President Alma Coin! Today, we’re discussing an actress with a lot of impressive work in her resume whose name is often throw around for the role: Julianne Moore!

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore

Rebekah (Them There Eyes): If you follow my writing on Victor’s Village at all, you should know by now that Julianne Moore is one of a handful of actresses I’ve already written up about as a potential Alma Coin. Face it, Julianne is no slouch where it comes to acting talent, she has one of the more diverse, and critically embraced careers of an A-list who’s still regularly working actress out there. From her work in films like Benny & Joon, Short Cuts, Boogie Nights, The Big Lebowski, A Map of the World, The End of the Affair, Magnolia, Far from Heaven, The Hours, The Children of Men, A Single Man, The Kids Are All Right, Game Change, and the recently released What Maisie Knew, she’s proven herself as someone who 100 times over is capable of portraying every single kind of woman you can even remotely imagine. This woman is not afraid to take on even the most weird, the most despicable, the most shallow, and the most intense, and the most sad types of people. She’s an actors actor, and the thought of her taking on a role like Alma Coin gives me giddy shivers down my spine, because I know she would sink her teeth into Alma’s character like a juicy steak, and chew it slowly, precisely, and oddly beautifully. I’ve seen comments that some of the choices in this on going fan-casting series are too predictable, well– Julianne Moore has never taken on a predictable project in her entire career. She does big budget films like The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Evolution with David Duchovny, and tiny art house films like Chicago Cab, and Savage Grace with Eddie Redmayne, and then mixes it up by taking a recurring role on 30 Rock opposite Alec Baldwin. No one, and I mean no one can say that Julianne Moore being cast as Alma Coin is predictable. This is why she’s one of my top choices for Alma Coin, and also because I really really want to see her go head to head with Jennifer Lawrence.

The Kids are All Right

The Kids are All Right

Aldrin from Down With The Capitol: Now, I’ve seen Julianne Moore’s acting and it’s clear she knows what she’s doing. I can go on and on about how I loved her in Nine Months or The Kids Are All Right (also starring Josh Hutcherson), but let’s look at something very obvious that proves she’s good for Coin: she played Sarah Palin in Game Change. Trying not to sound too political here, but Sarah Palin was someone who was given lots of power, some might say more than she should have had. Some supported her, some hated her. Sound familiar? Granted, Palin and Coin are two entirely different people in so many ways, but the general principle applies. Julianne Moore has experience playing a woman in power, who had to put on a tough exterior despite the fact that many disagreed with her actions. Combine that with her impeccable acting skills in so many other roels, and I think you’ve got someone who could play Coin perfectly.

Adam from Hunger Games Fireside Chat:
Julianne Moore may not be quite as vicious and belligerent as some of the other candidates, but she certainly can act. In my view, she would excel at portraying the softer side of Coin, which could be extremely effective in fooling the populace — then, when she proves to be much worse, it will be as shocking as it was for Panem’s citizens. Moore is famous recently for The Kids Are All Right and Game Change, but I see a parallel with her role as a blood-to-the-bone revolutionary in Children of Men. There, she was good, but she had some of the same character traits as Coin, and she proved plenty competent in handling them. Moore would not be my top top choice, but I would still be fine with her selection.

Boogie Nights

Boogie Nights

Lindsay from HG Girl on Fire: I am a fan of Julianne Moore and I think she is a stellar actress. She has impressive range, and when I think of her, I think of both her big laughs, and her sad/angry expressions, all at once. Her previous characters that stick in my brain are from The Kids Are Alright, and her stint on 30 Rock (with that wicked awful Boston accent!). But for some reason she doesn’t jump out at me for Coin. While I think she could play the role with her hands tied behind her back (well, not really, obviously), I just almost feel like I have NO opinion about her. Which makes me think I don’t like her for the role. Would I be disappointed if she were cast? No way! She’s a superstar and has the Emmy Award and numerous Oscar nominations to prove it. But she’s not my first choice.

Jacqui from My Hunger Games: I am a big fan of Julianne Moore. She is quite a few of my favorite movies, including the Big Lebowski, The Hours, Far From Heaven and The Kids are All Right. Her performances are nuanced and compelling. She is one of those actresses that can balance drama and comedy with great effect; she can come across as completely empathetic, but also mysterious and remote. Her career is a mix of diverse and interesting roles and she’s definitely one of those onscreen people that you can’t take your eyes off. I think she would definitely bring something special to the role of Alma Coin.

Game Change

Game Change

Molly from Panem Propaganda: I admit Julianne Moore never crossed my mind as an option for Coin, but now that I’ve had it swirling around in my head for a while I’m starting to love the idea.She’s an amazingly versatile character actress, she’s the perfect age, and can’t you imagine her rocking a razor sharp grey wig? I can certainly see her as the icy Coin with her fair skin and (cue the contact lenses) grey, pale eyes the color of slush “you wish would melt away.” It could also be one great big reunion – She’s worked with Josh Hutcherson in The Kids Are All Right, Woody Harrelson in Game Change, and Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Big Lebowski, Boogie Nights, and Magnolia. And her upcoming film Seventh Son ALMOST had her working with both Jennifer Lawrence (she bowed out) and Sam Claflin (he auditioned for the lead).

Lee from The Hob: Julianne Moore is one of the more interesting choices to play President Coin. Her work is so diverse, it’s a challenge to view any single performance and point to determine her ability to play Coin. The characters she has portrayed have a level of intensity and her performances always exude tremendous energy. Many of the roles have been determined women, focused and willing to take risks to succeed. These are all qualities that President Coin has. Always a chameleon in her roles, Ms. Moore would be visually striking with snow-white hair, sparkling eyes, and a sense of invincibility in her portrayal.

Courtney and Tiffany from Welcome to District 12:
We are in agreement that Julianne Moore is one of our favorite actresses. She’s a solid actress and has had a very diverse career. I mean, she has Maude Lebowski, Clarice Starling and Sarah Palin on her resume, to name a few. Sarah Palin is a perfect example of a role that Julianne already has under her belt and could be very helpful to her playing Coin. However, we do think that her look isn’t as cold and calculating as we imagine President Coin to be. But then again, that can work in her favor because who is to suspect ulterior motives from someone like Julianne Moore? A plus for her is that she has worked with Josh Hutcherson before, playing his mother in The Kids Are All Right. Last but not least she seems to be a fan favorite among THG fans, so that’s a super bonus too!

Campaigning for Coin: Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett Campaigning for CoinAnother day, another edition of Campaigning for Coin. Today, we discuss Cate Blanchett for the role of President Coin.

Tiffany (Twiffidy): As a huge Lord of the Rings fan, I can’t help but be excited by the thought of Cate Blanchett as President Coin. She has played rulers before, from Elf Queen Galadriel to one of the greatest rulers in history Queen Elizabeth I. She has an expansive filmography with a wide range of roles, so I have no doubt she could pull off Alma Coin. I think she could play cold, calculating President Coin very well. She has a face that can go from warm and friendly to harsh and vengeful in an instant. My only hesitance is, does she need another high profile role in a book-to-movie franchise?

Tash from Mockingjay.net: Some illustrious actresses have already been discussed through the Campaigning for Coin series and Cate Blanchett is another. Of course being Australian I am going to be biased, but Blanchett’s achievements are remarkable and her filmography speaks for itself. Perhaps best known to many for her role as Galadriel in the ‘Lord of the Rings’, Blanchett is also one of a handful to have been nominated for both a Supporting and Best Actress Academy Award in the same year. We’re also talking about the woman who has portrayed Queen Elizabeth I, Katharine Hepburn and Bob Dylan (!) on screen. I think Blanchett would make a really interesting Coin and bring the multiple layers of Coin’s personality to screen really well. She can exude charisma and confidence when she needs to and I always imagined Coin as a woman who knew exactly how to manipulate the situation in her favour without making waves and making her intentions obvious. The audience needs to be slow to work this out like Katniss was and I think Blanchett would be perfect at throwing the audience off the scent by creeping up on us slowly. Another thing I find important about the role of Coin is that ultimately her tale was rather tragic as well, on some level you do sympathise with her despite her actions. I can see Blanchett perfectly portraying the subtle malice, fierce determination, ambition, fear and cunning that Coin possesses and would love to see her in the role.

Amie from HG Girl On Fire: Cate Blanchet is no stranger to science fiction and fantasy films, having played the beautiful Galadriel in Lord of the Rings. However to see exactly why miss Blanchet would be a perfect Coin, you must see her as Queen Elizabeth in the Elizabeth films. She brings a nation into it’s golden age, and is praised among her people. Her strength and solidarity in this role is stunning. Yet she is vulnerable, and afraid, and, when in the private of her room or few trusted friends, she will break down. We don’t have any moments in Mockingjay where we get to see Coin’s breakdowns and weaknesses, but we know they are there, and these are elemets that must be in the film. Coin is a layered character; Cate is a layered actress. Don’t let her beauty fool you, and she is gorgeous. I met her in person at a premiere and couldn’t stop staring. She is flawless. This is another incredible thing, with how beautiful she is, her talent as an actress can make you think her to look plain and frumpy if she wants you to see her this way. If Cate were Coin, she would be an asset to a talented and seasoned cast, and I would be jumping for joy.

Courtney from Welcome to District 12 : Cate Blanchett is my number one pick for Coin, guys. Not only is she a superb actress, but has had experience playing women in power. Elizabeth: The Golden Age earned Blanchett an Academy Award nominee and her portrayal of Galadriel has won over the hearts of Tolkien nerds everywhere. Talk about playing a women in power! Galadriel is so ancient, she’s probably the only elf left alive in Middle Earth during the War of the Ring who has seen the Light of Valinor with her own eyes.  All I’m getting at here is that Cate Blanchett is great at playing a women in power and playing it straight, whether her intentions are good or bad. She is also striking in the same way we gave a super thumbs up to Tilda Swinton. Cate Blanchett has the look I want for Coin, and it doubly helps she’s got the experience.

Megan from The Hob: Hands down Cate Blanchett is one of my favorite actresses. She just has a way about her that has “”Classic Hollywood Icon”” (as well as fashion icon) written all over it. She is graceful and so stunning. The list of films she’s been apart of goes on for miles. Cate has been nominated a total of 5 times for an Academy Award for her roles in Elizabeth, Notes on a Scandal, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, I’m Not There and The Aviator (which did win her an Oscar for Best Supporting Role). Cate also portrayed Galadriel in the “”Lord of the Rings”” series, which is at the top of my all time favorite flicks list. She was brilliant in the film! I honestly believe Cate could take on any role given to her. If she were cast as Coin she’d nail it. She would be an amazing addition to the Hunger Games cast, but with all of that said she is not my first choice. Her looks are a bit too youthful (which could be changed) and to me President Coin should be played by someone a bit older or lesser known. There are several others who cross my mind for Coin and she’s not one that particularly stands out.