Behind The Casting Process For ‘Hunger Games’ And ‘Mortal Instruments’

Ever since the news broke that Hollywood is working on big-screen adaptations of bad-ass YA book series “The Hunger Games” and “The Mortal Instruments,” there’s been no shortage of suggestions as to which big-name actors should get the much-coveted lead roles—a level of hype that some fans worry is going to hurt the integrity of the films. (What are you looking at us for? We’ve only suggested, like, a hundred potential prospects for the role of Katniss Everdeen.)

Except that according to a piece in the Wall Street Journal, the talent that ends up bringing these beloved literary figures to life might actually come from outside the Hollywood machine.

Just as they did with their search for the teenage lead in “True Grit”—the role which went to the then-unknown Hailee Steinfeld—studio heads are expanding their casting eye for these films far beyond the usual suspects, not only auditioning a pool of well-known and agented actors (so far casting director Debra Zane’s auditioned 50 girls for Katniss) but also putting out open calls. Would-be Katnisses can send application packets to the casting director’s offices; Jace Wayland contenders for “Mortal Instruments” can audition via the Face of the Fan website and are encouraged to share their audition videos on Facebook and Twitter. (Note: If you want to try out, one of the requirements is that you be able to convincingly “fight, hunt and kill demons.” Yikes.)

Partly, producers admit that they want to avoid the contaminating effect of a too-recognizable face attached to the characters…you know, sort of like how, when Robert Pattinson first showed up in the “Twilight” films, “Harry Potter” fans in the audience jumped up and yelled, “Hey, wait a second! That’s not Edward Cullen—it’s Cedric freakin’ Diggory!” (Okay, or maybe that was just me.) But they also want to give the films’ biggest audience—a.k.a. all the fans who know, love and worship the world of the books—a chance to feel involved in the process of bringing them to life.

What do you think, Crushers? Would you rather see a not-so-famous face in the roles of Katniss and Jace? Tell us in the comments and on Twitter!