If you've turned on your computer today, you probably know Jennifer Lawrence has officially landed the coveted role of Katniss Everdeen in the upcoming "Hunger Games" adaptation.
While we're thrilled about the casting of this fantastic 20-year-old actress, we're surprised she even had to audition, considering the similarities between Katniss and Lawrence's Oscar-nominated role as Ree in "Winter's Bone."
We have no doubt J.Law can bring down the Capitol, since she's already survived a scary, unpredictable, violent journey on-screen. Here are eight similarities between Ree and Katniss that should make portraying the "Girl on Fire" a cinch for the rising star.
The hopeless environment. Maybe it's a bit unfair to compare post-apocalyptic "District 12" with the meth-infested Ozarks, but both are desolate, dangerous environments where people resort to scary, illegal activities to survive. Neither Ree nor Katniss grew up with anything coming easy; they've had to fight since they were young just to get well-skinned squirrel on the table.
Their domestic responsibility. Both Katniss and Ree are oldest siblings, teenagers who have to support their fragile, widowed mothers and provide their younger siblings with food, support and guidance. They run their households (even though Katniss' mom is functional, she once did nothing more than grieve for her dead husband, much like Ree's catatonic mama). With fierce determination, both young women will stop at nothing to protect their families.
Their hunting expertise. Their tools may be different -- Katniss is a wunderkind archer and Ree a whiz with a rifle -- but both protagonists can hunt and skin with precision and nerve. They also both try to teach their reluctant little siblings how to hunt, even if neither sibling is quite ready for the responsibility.
Their trust issues. To survive the Hunger Games, Katniss has to outlive 23 other "Tributes" (the "contestants" who compete in the televised games-to-the-death), so she can’t trust anyone, not even Peeta, her fellow Tribute from District 12. It's an every-Tribute-for-herself world. Ree, meanwhile, has relatives who appear to offer her help, but they're all scared of the wrath of the local Meth patriarch. Neither can be completely sure of anyone's intentions.
Their angry mentors. Katniss and Ree are both forced to rely on older, cranky and less-than-reliable male mentors. The only person who can help Ree is her volatile, chain-smoking, hard-drinking uncle Teardrop (Academy-Award nominee John Hawkes), who knows how to navigate the ugly underbelly of the meth world in the Ozarks. The only person who can help Katniss is her unstable, hard-drinking Hunger Games mentor Haymitch (we’re eagerly awaiting his casting), who knows how to navigate the arena as a former winner.
They're self-sufficient. While Ree and Katniss are both attractive (Lawrence's natural beauty shines even through the deepest grime), they're not looking for love, and they certainly don't need a good-looking guy to save them. In fact, they can take care of themselves and look at relationships skeptically. Katniss is so focused on survival that she doesn’t realize her best friend Gale and fellow Tribute Peeta have feelings for her. Ree looks scornfully at her married best friend who wishes she could help but has to do what her husband says.
Their pain and suffering. In difficult-to-witness scenes, both Ree and Katniss become intimately acquainted with physical and emotional pain. A gang of sisters "puts the hurt on" Ree so badly she spits a tooth from her bloody mouth; Katniss faces so many horrors in the Hunger Games arena that it would spoil the movie to list them. Let's just say she can take the kind of repeated beatings that would make even a hardened prisoner squeamish.
They're ultimate survivors. Ree and Katniss aren't delicate wallflowers who need rescue. They are quick-minded, selfless young women used to overcoming tragedy. Even facing horrible odds (only one survivor can win the Hunger Games, and there are a lot of people who wish Ree would shut up or die), neither Ree nor Katniss backs down from a challenge. Each embarks on a dangerous journey where the stakes are life or death. But despite their tough exteriors, they're both still young and vulnerable -- they only allow a few people to see their true insecurities.
Having seen "Winter's Bone," we can honestly say the odds are ever in Jennifer's favor.