Suzanne Collins and Gary Ross talk about “Hunger Games” cast

Suzanne Collins and Gary Ross have sat down with Entertainment Weekly and spoken about their adaptation and casting process. This transcript was featured in the latest ‘Entertainment Weekly’ editorial with Josh and Liam portraying Peeta and Gale; scans, and more, can be seen in our previous update.

Each bit of casting news has been met with a real roar from the fans. How are you both handling that? Did you expect such outrage?
SC: Any time you read a book and get attached to the characters, to me it’s always a shock when it goes from page to screen and it’s not exactly what was in my head or what I was imagining it should be. So there’s always that period of adjustment. But I think we feel so solid about our casting choices, and so thrilled that we’ve gotten these three young people in those roles, that nothing can really eclipse it.

GR: I really agree with Suzanne that it’s wonderful that people have such a vivid image of Katniss and Peeta and Gale and they hold it so dearly. But Suzanne and I have the advantage of having seen these guys audition for these roles, and I would never judge any role or any actor until I’ve seen them perform it.

SC: And you know people may get thrown, say, by the color of an actor’s hair or maybe something physical, but I tell you: If Josh had been bright purple and had had six foot wings and gave that audition, I’d have been like “Cast him! We can work around the wings.” He was that good. That role is so key to have a boy that can use language. That’s how Peeta navigates the world, that’s his gift, and Josh was the one who could bring that to life in such a real and natural way.

GR: I remember Suzanne was actually in the room the day Josh came in and read for the first time. After the reading, we looked at each other, we didn’t even have to say anything, because we both were like “Wow, that’s it.” Literally he walked out of the room and we high-fived.

SC: We did. We didn’t even say anything. We just turned to each other and high-fived. And people should know that of course we’re taking the gravest care in casting these characters. It’s not arbitrary. It’s of the utmost importance to us that we get the actors who can best bring these characters alive on the screen. Every one of those kids earned those roles by virtue of the auditions they gave. Those three kids? They were all our first choice.

GR: We’ve seen Liam and we’ve seen Josh Hutcherson be Gale and Peeta, respectively.

SC: And then we also had the luxury of getting to see them perform with Jen. So then you have a whole other level which is the chemistry between the characters. We can tell you it’s there but you’ll have to see it for yourself. Read more at the source.