Dear Casting Agent And Publicist For THE HUNGER GAMES: I Hate You.

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
Dear Casting Agent And Publicist For THE HUNGER GAMES: I Hate You.
[I have received two more completely context free casting announcements for this film since originally posting this article exactly one week ago. By context free I mean literally nothing more than actor name / character name. Nothing about the world. Nothing about the filmmaker. Nothing other than an interminable list of names. How far down the list of characters are you going to continue like this? Will we be getting extras casting announcements in a month or two? Make. It. Stop.]

I freely acknowledge that I knew nothing about Suzanne Collins or her novel The Hunger Games before the feature adaptation of the book was announced. I know nothing more about it now other than that the publicists hired to promote the film are desperate for it to be perceived as a Big Event Movie and have been going about achieving that status not by promoting the source material - which has received not an ounce of notice - but by stretching out the casting process as long as humanly possible and announcing every single cast addition is a separate news release with lots and lots of exclamation points.

Thus I now know no more about The Hunger Games than I did before this whole process began except now I cringe every time I see another related email turn up in my in-box. Well done, publicists, you've made me hate your movie before a single frame is shot.

I suppose I should be thankful that they're at least releasing actual casting news instead of the wishlists that masquerade as news in so many outlets these days. Memo to everyone: I don't fucking care who is 'courting' Darren Aronofsky to shoot their movie, particularly considering he's already committed elsewhere, and I care even less how many casting wishlists Joseph Gordon Levitt and Tom Hardy currently topline. Which is pretty much all of them. Wishes are not news. Desire is not news. None of it matters a single iota until people are actually sitting down to hammer out a contract. So stop filling my day with empty hype and bullshit.

This is what easily accessible news, massive control over content by publicists and a radically shortened news cycle has brought us to: A day when people scramble all over each other to shout as loud as they can that "Producer X kind of, maybe like Actor Y for this movie but hasn't actually talked to him about it yet AND I TOLD YOU SO FIRST!"

In the face of that, here's a radical idea for the publicists of this particular movie. Try sending out the book to the key media outlets you want to cover the film. Arrange interviews with Suzanne Collins. Give us something that actually matters. Give audiences that don't already know the material something to care about. Because there aren't nearly enough pre-existing fans to make this a success - The Golden Compass and Scott Pilgrim were similarly scaled pictures that counted on already existing fans and failed badly as a result - and a context free list of names, none of whom could ever possibly open a major movie on their own, is just a whole lot more noise cluttering what little useful signal there is left out there.
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