I thought Lenny Kravitz was solid as the nurse in Precious, so to hear he’s found himself the rather large role of Cinna in Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Kravitz was rumored to have been offered a role back in late April along with Stanley Tucci and Woody Harrelson, both of which also secured a role in the adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling book series.
The story, which centers on Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) takes place in a distant future where North America is now referred to as Panem and the ruling government and privileged lord over the lesser districts by rationing their goods and forcing each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in a violent forum referred to as the Hunger Games. Part twisted entertainment, part government intimidation tactic, the Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until only one survivor remains.
Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives (Career Tributes), Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson). If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
As for Kravitz’s role as Cinna, he is Katniss Everdeen’s assigned fashion stylist for the highly ceremonial lead up to The 74th Annual Hunger Games. Though he’s a mild mannered first time stylist, the designs he creates, such as the “Girl On Fire” costume for the tributes’ live televised debut, are show-stopping. With odds being set, wagers being placed, and wealthy benefactors able to occasionally intervene in the games, a high public profile is tantamount to a huge advantage for any contestant entering the arena. The stunning and unique designs Cinna creates for Katniss define her public identity, and in an all too real way, could also contribute to her very survival.
While that may sound a bit silly, there is more to it than pretty dresses and highfalutin hats. There’s a mad scientist nature to Cinna’s work and as much as it serves the purpose of gaining Katniss some Hunger Games sponsors it steadily grows into its own form of a political message.
Commenting on the casting, director Gary Ross said in a press release, “When I saw Lenny’s work in Precious I was just knocked out. It was quiet and strong and understated and open hearted; all qualities which define this character. I’m really looking forward to this ride.”
Filming on The Hunger Games is underway with filming currently taking place in Hildrebran, North Carolina. The film is set for a March 23, 2012 release. Co-starring with the names already mentioned here are Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Elizabeth Banks.