Suzanne Collins Demanded Prim’s Cat Be Recast And Other Catching Fire Tidbits

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Ok, I’m going be honest here: I had totally forgotten that the cat was the wrong color.

Author Suzanne Collins and director Francis Lawrence, however, do not share my nonchalance about pet appearance, and Prim’s cat has been recast for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. That’s right: Buttercup will actually be orange, and not black-and-white like in the first film. Francis Lawrence told io9:

“You know what [getting a new cat] was actually, and I was happy to do it, that was a request from Nina [Jacobson] the producer and Suzanne the author. That they thought the cat from the first movie was not the way he was described in the book. And that had annoyed a bunch of fans, and things like that. But it also just kind of bothered them that Buttercup was not a black and white cat. So I was happy to get one that felt like the Buttercup of the book.

It’s funny because now people are split. Some people think we should have continued on with what happened in the first movie. And some people are really happy. You never win.”

This cat is a hot button issue, and we all must decide where we stand. I’m just trying to suppress an image of Suzanne Collins bursting onto the set with a copy of the book and throwing it at Francis Lawrence’s head, insisting he get it right. Maybe Jennifer Lawrence will bring us together with talk of how The Hunger Games inspires, inaccurate cats or no. She talked in an interview with /Film about how the series might inspire young people to be more socially active:

“If there is a younger generation that feels like they do need to speak against something, then I hope that they do. I hope that they will. It’s hard to be one voice and be the singular, lowest, District 12, couldn’t-get-further-away young girl. [It’s hard] to just be one voice in a world that’s wrong…and so the fact  young adults love this as much as they did, that it sold as many copies as it did, was exciting and I think says a lot.”

She also spoke, this time at a press conference, about a specific moment where she realized that the story of The Hunger Games could touch people’s lives. There was a young woman who was an extra on The Hunger Games set who had a lot of permanent burn scars, and she told Lawrence that reading the books made her feel less self-conscious about what she had been through:

“She came up to me and said that she was too self-conscious to go to school when she was younger. And then when she read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, she was proud of her scars and her friends called her the ‘girl on fire.’ I remember crying and calling my mom – I can’t really still remember the story without tearing up – and I said to my mom ‘I kind of get it.'”

That’s a story that will certainly shut up people who claim that young adult novels or genre fiction can’t be an important or positive influence on people’s lives. Lawrence said in the same conference that “sometimes it can seem so pointless, because you’re filled with hair and makeup and clothes, and then sometimes, the lives that you can touch without even meaning to.” And what young adult novels have inspired the Hunger Games cast themselves? According to Entertainment Weekly, Jennifer Lawrence is partial to Harry Potter, Josh Hutcherson likes Catcher in the Rye, and Sam Claflin (Finnick) responded with “Mate, I don’t read.”

At least Sam Claflin is one man who will probably be staying out of the Great Cat Debate.

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