The debate rages on. And on. And on.
Whenever a book is adapted for either the television or movie screen, there is this strange thing that happens – usually logical, rational and sane people go absolutely nuts over casting choices. Everyone when they read has their own visual interpretation of the characters on the page, and so of course it is impossible to cast the perfect actor that will make everyone happy. There was an outcry when Jennifer Lawrence was cast as The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen – she was too blonde and not skinny enough. Ditto when Josh Hutcherson was cast as Peeta Malark – too short. Too young. Too boyish. Too not Peeta. Of course now, the first movie down and the second on the horizon, it is hard to picture anyone else playing Katniss and Peeta. It seems like the debates never happened.
Right now, there are three major adaptations in varying stages of production (TMI, Divergent, and Vampire Academy), and I am very happy to say I am a fan of all three series (and have read all the books). Things have been pretty quiet on the Vampire Academy front, but it seems that two of them have fans divided by the casting choices – but for different reasons. First up is City of Bones from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. There was a collective gasp from the fandom when Alex Pettyfer was not cast as Jace Wayland (Herondale. Lightwood. Valentine. Morgenstern? You know who I mean). Did I think Alex Pettyfer had the right look for Jace? Yep. Did I think he was the best actor for the role? Nope.
I was very surprised by the outrage many fans expressed when they found out Jamie Campbell Bower had won the role, however – things got loud, and personal, with many saying that Jamie was too ugly/skinny/strange to play Jace. I didn’t like that, and I thought it crossed the line. Questioning a casting choice is one thing, but insulting the actor is quite another. Jamie wasn’t my first choice, but I have steadily been warming up to him in the role from all of the interviews and clips I have seen. And for the most part, others seem to be much more accepting of him, as well. One of the things I am most impressed by is the fact that Jamie acknowledged the controversy, admitted that he found it both difficult and sometimes painful to deal with – and that it made him work even harder to prove everyone wrong. I liked that, and I respect him for it.
So, while the Jace controversy seems to be dying down, another one is making the rounds. This one is directed at the casting of Theo James as Four in Veronica Roth‘s Divergent series. The main argument I have seen is that as good looking as he is, as talented as he is – Theo James is just too old. Four is written as an 18 year old, and Theo is in fact 28 (and looks 28, for that matter). I have to say, though, that I am on the other side of this one, since I was thrilled that they skewed older with the actor. I can’t see a teenage boy having the presence and the quiet strength and determination needed to play Four, and as I was reading Divergent I always read him as a few years older than written anyways. Maybe it is because I am a couple of decades past my teenage years (er, and the target audience), but this was a definite win for me. I would actually be less excited if things had worked out the other way.
Where do you stand? Yes or no on Jamie and Theo? Does the “wrong” casting choice change your opinion of seeing the movie, or do you go with the flow and hope for the best?