By Kaitlin Kumbalek, Notre Dame de la Baie Academy, Green Bay, WI
The first movie of the Hunger Games trilogy hit the box office last weekend and earned itself the honor of the third highest opening weekend ever, bringing in in an astounding 150 million dollars during opening weekend alone.
The only two other movies in American history to have a more successful opening weekend were Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 which brought in roughly 170 million and The Dark Knight which grossed about 160 million. For the first movie in a trilogy compared to the eighth movie in a global sensation, however, the Hunger Games’ success was nothing short of impressive.
Since the movie’s premiere, however, people have been picking out the small, insignificant differences from the books. Complaints range from a discrepancy in who gave Katniss her mocking jay pin, insufficient explanation of the Games themselves, a change in Peeta’s post-Games injuries; the list goes on and on.
The most startling and truly shocking complaints, however, have been those revolving around the actors who portrayed Rue, the female tribute from district 11, Thresh, the male tribute from district 11, and Cinna, Katniss’ stylist from the Games.
What these three have in common are that they are all blacks.
Apparently, after seeing the movie, Hunger Gamesfanatics were outraged over the casting choices and immediately turned to social networks to broadcast their disappointment to the world.
They tweeted and commented such hateful and disgusting things it is baffling that they considered themselves fans of something they so easily tore apart.
They crossed the line of insensitivity and hatred and ended up with pure racism.
One tweet read, “Why does Rue have to be black? Not gonna lie, kinda ruined the movie.”
Others went on to say, “Why did the producer make all the good characters black?” and “(Ok) call me a racist but when I found out Rue was black, her death wasn’t as sad.”
And to round out the awful commentaries, another tweeted, “I was pumped about the Hunger Games until I learned that a black girl was playing Rue.”
The “fans” responsible for these statements have, for the most part, closed or privated their accounts, most likely out of the later realization of what they had just said.
What these self-proclaimed avid readers skipped over, however, is that author Suzanne Collins had all intentions that these characters would be black.
She explicitly described, specifically Rue and Thresh, as such when she wrote, “And most hauntingly, a twelve-year-old-girl from District 11. She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that, she’s very like Prim in size and demeanor.”
The same is true in the description of Thresh, “The boy tribute from District 11, Thresh, has the same dark skin as Rue, but the resemblance stops there.”
There isn’t a place in the book where it outright states the color of Cinna’s skin, but should it have to? The author shouldn’t be responsible for spelling out everything; some things have to be left up to the imagination and interpretation of the reader, or in this case, the casting director.
I’m sure there are plenty of books turned films where the main character’s features aren’t explicitly outlined in the book but when they turn out to be a Caucasian brunette with sparkling green eyes, there isn’t uproar from movie-goers that the character could not possibly look like that.
So I guess, as a Hunger Games fan myself, I am genuinely perplexed how the color of three characters’ skin has any effect on the viewing experience of someone who claims to be a fan.
Someone who enjoys the books should be able to appreciate the adaptation and recognize that all decisions were made for a reason, whether we can understand the importance and reasoning behind them or not.
Our society needs to stop being so visually centered and focused on the aesthetics of everything. It may have been a bit of a surprise for readers who assumed every character to be white, which is a whole different problem with American readership, but why is a surprise so bad?
Movies wouldn’t be interesting if you knew exactly what, when and how every scene was going to unfold. Sometimes unpredictability is key in capturing the interest of a viewer.
So, when attending your next novel gone film, keep your expectations high enough that you maintain a decent level of standards, but not so high that any divergence from your ideal world manifests itself into a hateful and racist conclusion.the original article from hsj.org, written by Kaitlin Kumbalek